Ten facts you probably didn’t know about Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes- Benz is a car-maker steeped in rich history. Their cars have been fixtures on our roads for over seventy years, as familiar to our eyes as a Royal Mail post box, or congestion on the M25. Most of us could spot the familiar characteristics of a Mercedes from just its silhouette, but how much about the origins of this motoring titan do we actually know? Here are a few facts about the German giant:
- Anti-Lock Brakes. These were first pioneered on Mercedes-Benz cars in 1978. They’ve been a fixture on every model since that date.
- Airbags. First made their appearance into the Mercedes consumer market in 1988.
- Traction Control Systems. These were first introduced in 1986, to reduce wheel slip in wet or icy conditions. Eventually they were to become standard on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
- Karl Benz’s wife. In 1886, Karl Benz was awarded a German patent for the invention of ‘the first automobile’ called the ‘Motorwagen’. Karl’s wife Bertha was the one who actually funded his creation, but as she was a married woman, and these were the pre-suffragette days of the 19th century, she was not allowed to apply for the patent herself.
- Collaboration. The Mercedes 500E was built by Porsche, each one was made by hand and took 18 days to complete.
- It moves! The steering wheel on the 300SL ‘Gullwing’ could be pivoted to ease entry into the driver’s seat. A feature that sadly never caught on. Bumpers on this edition were an optional extra.
- Moviestar! The magnificent film ‘C’etait un rendez-vous’ was filmed using a Mercedes 450SEL 6.9. However, the engine you can hear in the soundtrack is the director Claude Lelouch’s Ferrari 275GTB.
- The ‘Popemobile’ – (vehicle used by the pontiff). This is modelled on a Mercedes ML. When the pope sits on his chair, he is elevated into the glass room by means of a hydraulic lift.
- Star quality. Mercedes iconic three pointed star (see additional blog) was meant to symbolise Daimler’s original ambition of ‘universal transportation’. The star’s points represent ‘land, sea, and air’. They did register a four pointed star in 1909. Presumably space was on the agenda?