1955 Gullwing (above photo)
Daimler-Benz was formed in 1883, with Karl Benz, Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Esslinger. The first motorcars were built in 1886. The Benz prototype motorcar was first publicly seen in the summer of the same year. At the same time, Daimler was busy with his first motorcar. In 1890, Daimler founded the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft group (DMG) in Stuttgart.
The USA’s first practical internal combustion engine was produced in Connecticut, and was designed with the plans produced by Daimler. In 1924 Daimler and Benz merged companies and became known as “Mercedes-Benz”.
Jellinek the Austro-Hungarian consul in France had the rights to sell Daimler’s cars in Europe and the USA. Mercedes was the name used by Jellinek to sell Daimler’s cars, and was in fact the name of his daughter.
Mercedes quickly moved on to become one of the premier manufactures of motor vehicles in the world.
The Mercedes Benz 300SL of the 1950’s was one of the fastest road cars available. Only Ferrari and Maserati could get near the performance of this sensational motorcar.
The famous “Gullwing” launched in 1954 was not only famous for its doors but also leading the way in fuel injection road cars. The car was roughly twice the price of the Jaguar XK140, so a car only for the very rich. Being rich however, did have its pitfalls, if you were in an accident and the car turned over you couldn’t get out. It was a car with handling problems, a car really for expert drivers only.
The original Gullwing coupe, with its incomparable roof-hinged doors, was launched in 1954, however, the Le mans winning prototypes had already been seen in 1952.
In 1962 Mercedes set out to build the ultimate saloon car. Paying little attention to costs, with electric or hydraulic everything. The Mercedes-Benz 600 was launched in 1963. Rolls-Royce had found a match. The car was hugely expensive and was only produced in small numbers; nevertheless it stayed on the Mercedes-Benz production list until 1981.
The Mercedes-Benz 600 was enormous, the standard version was 18 ft ( 5.5 metres ) long. The 6.3 litre V-8 managed to move this car to over 120 mph (190 kph) Between 1963 and 1981 only 2700 Mercedes-Benz 600’s were sold and mainly to heads of state!
In 1997 Mercedes-Benz unleashed the CLK-GTR - Welcome to the 200 mph club! This car was intended to shed Mercedes’ rather “staid image”, perhaps an unfair description for such a refined marque, but such remarks tend to stick. The car is aimed at the younger generation obviously, but at $750 000 + ? Who can afford one?
Complete history and pictures under construction stage.
Best wishes from the Auto E-Learning Club Members