Mercedes-Benz Classic Notes 1/2023

5 mins read
Mercedes-Benz Classic
  • 2003: World premiere of the Estate of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class model series 211 (20 years)
  • 1903: Delivery of the first Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp to Emil Jellinek (120 years)
  • 1998: Start of series production for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with ESP® (25 years)
  • 1933: World’s first trapezoidal link front axle at IAMA (90 years)
  • 1893: Patent application for double-pivot steering by Carl Benz (130 years)
  • 1998: CLK Cabriolet and E 55 AMG Estate at the Geneva Motor Show (25 years)

Mercedes-Benz, the oldest automobile manufacturer in the world, has been reinventing the automobile again and again since 1886. In this way, the brand continuously sets standards and also accompanies social change. The history of the company is correspondingly rich in events and stories. Here briefly noted: important anniversaries and milestones from the chronicle.

5 to 20 January 2003 – 20 years ago

World premiere of the Estate of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class model series 211

  • Numerous technical innovations such as the Intelligent Light System
  • Top models E500, E 500 4MATIC and E 55 AMG
  • Around 240,000 vehicles are built till 2009.

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January 2003, Mercedes-Benz presents the Estate of the E-Class of the 211 model series. This second body variant of the model series is launched on the market in March. The technical innovations include, for example, the electrohydraulic brake Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) with Traffic Jam and Start Assist, the AIRMATIC DC air suspension system, adaptive front airbags and belt force limiters as well as a tailgate that opens and closes at the touch of a button. The EASY-PACK system includes a range of practical charging and stowage solutions. The capacity of the luggage compartment is 690 to 1,950 litres (VDA measuring method). Top variants of the Estate are initially the E 500, the E 500 4MATIC and the E 55 AMG. In 2009, the Estate of the 211 model series is replaced by the successor generation. A total of about 240,000 vehicles will be built.

17 February 1903 – 120 years ago

Delivery of the first Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp to Emil Jellinek

  • Customers appreciate the combination of performance and luxury
  • Sport variants are very successful in motorsport
  • More displacement and innovative technology for controlling cylinder filling

From spring 1903, the Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp is the new top model of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG). The sales partner Emil Jellinek, based in Nice, receives the first vehicle on 17 February 1903. Not only his customers are convinced of the combination of performance and luxury: he later adds a vehicle to his own fleet, which he has fitted with a highly comfortable touring car body in 1907. This exclusive version is now at the Mercedes-Benz Museum and is a highlight of the era. The high-performance engine predestines the 60 hp model for motorsport, then equipped with sports bodies. Two of the great successes: during the “Nice Week” of 1903, Otto Hieronimus and Wilhelm Werner win the Nice–La Turbie hill climb and Hermann Braun wins the mile race at an average speed of 116.9 km/h. Camille Jenatzy achieves his greatest success by winning the 4th Gordon Bennett race in Ireland on 2 July 1903. The increase in performance compared to the Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp presented a year earlier is provided by the increase in displacement of the four-cylinder engine to 9.3 litres and an innovative cylinder filling with overhead valves for the intake process and a lower camshaft. The first vehicle with this technology is the 18/22 hp model as early as January 1903.

9 February 1998 – 25 years ago

Start of series production for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with ESP®

  • The A-Class establishes the innovative assistance system in large-scale production
  • Stabilisation of the vehicle by means of electronically controlled braking interventions
  • Start of deliveries after three months of production interruption in Rastatt

The first vehicles of the A-Class (168 model series) equipped with ESP® as standard leave the assembly line in Rastatt on 9 February 1998. The Electronic Stability System can stabilise the vehicle in critical situations by means of targeted braking interventions. The assistance system celebrates its world premiere in 1995 in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The “moose test” triggers a rapid spread of this technology throughout the industry, even in smaller vehicle classes: after an A-Class tipps over in October 1997 during a non-standard evasive manoeuvre, the company orders a production stop and introduces ESP® as one of several measures as standard. Three months later, the first customers receive vehicles equipped with them. All previously delivered A-Class models are modified accordingly. Mercedes-Benz then equips all passenger cars with this important assistance system. Numerous manufacturers follow suit. ESP® is now a prerequisite for approval in many countries.

11 to 23 February 1933 – 90 years ago

World’s first trapezoidal link front axle at IAMA

  • The premiere vehicle is the Mercedes-Benz 380 (W22) presented at the trade fair.
  • The convincing design becomes the new industry standard
  • Two further vehicle innovations, each with a different front axle design

The Mercedes-Benz 380 (W 22) is one of the innovations of the then Daimler-Benz AG at the International Motor Show (IAMA) in Berlin in 1933. Its front axle design becomes the new global standard in automotive engineering: the trapezoidal link front axle. It has individually sprung wheels and on both sides two parallel, trapezoidal wishbones and a friction-free, maintenance-free, vertical coil spring. It is used in various Mercedes-Benz passenger cars as well as in racing cars. The principle convinces with driving comfort and safety, and numerous other manufacturers adopt it.

28 February 1893 – 130 years ago

Patent application for double-pivot steering by Carl Benz

  • Essential prerequisite for the operation of the four-wheeled automobile
  • The risk of the vehicle tipping over in curves is significantly reduced
  • The first vehicles with double-pivot steering are the Victoria and Vis-à-Vis from Benz & Cie.

Double-pivot steering is one of the most important innovations in the early days of the automobile. On 28 February 1893, Carl Benz registers the design with the Imperial Patent Office (DRP No. 73515, issued on 14 March 1894), a “carriage steering device with steering circles to be set tangentially to the wheels”. It thus creates an essential prerequisite for the safe operation of a four-wheeled automobile: the risk of tipping over in curves is significantly reduced compared to turntable steering from carriage construction. The new design was used for the first time in the Victoria model, Benz & Cie.’s first four-wheeled motor car after the three-wheeled Patent Motor Car, and lais the foundations for the world’s first mass-produced automobile, the Benz Motor Velociped “Velo” presented in 1894.

5 to 15 March 1998 – 25 years ago

CLK Cabriolet and E 55 AMG Estate at the Geneva Motor Show

  • The four-seater CLK Cabriolet is designed as a year-round vehicle
  • High level of safety and numerous comfort features
  • The E 55 AMG is AMG’s first estate of the 210 model series

In 1998, the Geneva Motor Show is an important premiere venue for Mercedes-Benz: for the first time, the brand presents the CLK Cabriolet (208 model series) and the E 55 AMG (210 model series) as an estate to the world public. The brand’s new four-seater convertible is based on the CLK Coupé presented a year earlier. The development of an open version is planned from the outset and thus is considered in the development, which has a positive effect on weight and costs. The automatically retracting rear head restraints, which have already proven themselves in the 124 model series convertible, are used as rollover protection. The lined soft top contributes to the high overall quality with its excellent noise and temperature insulation as well as a glass rear window. Electro-hydraulic soft top operation completes the CLK Cabriolet as an all-year vehicle. The E 55 AMG is AMG’s first estate in this model series; the saloon is already available as the E 50 AMG. The novelty with the V8 engine M 113 E 55 offers 260 kW (354 hp) and a torque of 530 Newton metres.

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