Interesting Facts About Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz makes perhaps the most advanced, luxurious, and performance-oriented cars out there. They’ve been manufacturing innovative and technologically groundbreaking cars since Karl Benz introduced the first petrol-powered car in 1886. The rear-engined, three-wheeled vehicle changed the human way of transportation. Here are some interesting facts about Mercedes-Benz:

1) Daimler invented the first motorcycle

In 1885, when Daimler produced a vertical, single-cylinder engine running on gasoline, he put it in a wooden frame centered off a bicycle. This amazing contraption — monikered by Daimler Reitwagen (riding car) or Einspur (single track)—is now considered the very first true motorcycle.

2) The modern automobile was introduced by Mercedes-Benz

In 1886, Karl Benz patented his three-wheeled, petrol-powered Motorwagen, which his wife Bertha Benz went on a 120-mile tour through Germany without his knowledge. It was powered by a single-piston, four-stroke 954cc engine that boasted a blistering 0.9 horsepower.

3) In 1906 Mercedes created a hybrid vehicle

Early car companies played a mix of electric and petrol-powered vehicles before pure petrol-powered engines took over, and the Mercedes-Benz Mixte model was their first true hybrid. It had a gas engine in front of it with a dynamo that produced a spark for the two engines in the rear hubs. The Mixte had a high speed of 75 mph.

4) In 1924 Mercedes cars had brakes and suspension on four wheels

By the summer of 1924, all Mercedes-Benz cars had brakes on all four wheels, helping to reinforce the company's dedication to safety. In 1931, they launched the Mercedes-Benz 170, which had a suspension on each corner of the vehicle— leaf springs on the front and an advanced spring coil system on the back.

5) The iconic silver color came from saving weight for a race

Most Mercedes-Benz racing cars— and some special and flagship vehicles— are clad in the company's recognizable silver shade, but that color was originally an off-the-cuff improvisation. In 1934, at the Nürburgring, Mercedes-Benz's red, aluminum-coated W 25 race car had to be under 750 kg at the time of the race, but it had to be one-kilogram overweight. The team manager managed to get the paint off the surface, resulting in a shimmering silver racer who ended up winning the race— and cementing an archetypal hue.

6) Safety crumple zones first appeared on a Mercedes

In 1951, when most American cars subscribed to a more-metal-is-safer theory, Mercedes-Benz engineer Béla Barényi's work led to a patent on special cells within a car body that would bend after effect. Such "crumple zones" helped redistribute the impact force during the accident and ended up on Mercedes-Benz cars in 1959.

7) Anti-lock brakes were created for the S-Class in 1978

Brakes that don't lock the pedal under full pressure are now commonplace. They helped save countless lives by allowing the driver to continue driving the car— and hopefully avoid a collision— while braking hard. Mercedes-Benz first refined the technology with Bosch in the 1970s, then added the technology to the S-Class in 1978. Soon after that, anti-lock breaks became standard on all Mercedes-Benz models.

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