A-Z Of Marques No 44: Mercedes-Benz

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The marque: Arguably the oldest carmaker, certainly the oldest survivor.

The marque: Arguably the oldest carmaker, certainly the oldest survivor.

The history: Gottlieb Daimler began with petrol-fuelled bicycles, Karl Benz with a recognisable - albeit three-wheeled - car, both of them in 1885. Their separate companies pioneered the notion of horseless road travel. Daimler called his cars Mercedes from 1901, named after the daughter of Emil Jellinek, an Austro-Hungarian consul who was also a keen racer of Daimlers. The 1901 Mercedes defined the template for the modern car, and also set the company on the road to ever faster, more powerful machines. In 1926, Mercedes merged with Benz to create Mercedes-Benz, and opulence combined with clever engineering from then until the present. Mercedes and AutoUnion together dominated 1930s Grand Prix racing. Stirling Moss's 1955 Mille Miglia win is one of the best known of all racing victories, and the "Gullwing" roadgoing relative of that winning car with its direct-injection engine is much prized today.

Defining model: That 300SL Gullwing, in silver - so fast, so efficient, so beautiful, so German.

They say: We started it.

We say: We say: And no doubt they'll finish it.

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