The Mercédès era: history of the future

Apr 30, 2017

On those spring days back in 1901, the powerful sound of four cylinders heralded the future: Racing driver Wilhelm Werner dominated almost all of the competitions staged at the “Nice Week” (“Semaine de Nice”) motorsport event behind the wheel of the Mercedes 35 HP. Further successes were to follow for the new top model produced by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. But it was not only this result that saw the first Mercedes change the world of mobility – the vehicle also gave the automobile a distinct form of its own and ended the age of the motorised carriage. As such, the Mercedes 35 HP was recognised from the outset as the first modern automobile. Paul Meyan, the founding member and secretary-general of the Automobile Club de France (A.C.F.), is on record as having astutely observed: “We have entered the Mercedes era” (“Nous sommes entrés dans l’ère Mercédès”).

It was cosmopolitan businessman Emil Jellinek who came up with the vision of the innovative vehicle and placed a corresponding order in April 1900 with Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG), the company of the by then deceased automobile pioneer Gottlieb Daimler, where it was duly developed by head design engineer Wilhelm Maybach. The first modern automobile acquired its name from a little girl: Mercédès, Jellinek’s eleven year-old daughter, had already inspired his pseudonym, “Monsieur Mercédès”. The Mercedes 35 HP and its sister models gave way in 1902 to the Mercedes-Simplex model family – so-called on account of the vehicles’ easy handling. The comprehensive Simplex family not only influenced vehicles produced by other manufacturers. Having been conceived by their visionary design engineers specifically for the petrol engine, they also helped to secure victory for the combustion engine over the steam and electric drives, which were also vying for dominance at the time. There is a parallel here to today: The innovative Mercedes-Benz CASE strategy, is now defining the future shape of mobility in this very same spirit. Just like the first Mercedes, the future EQ models are fully focused on exploiting the sustainable potential of the innovative drive system for which they have been specifically designed from scratch.

Victory in numerous competitions for the Mercedes 35 HP at the Nice Week! First place for racing driver Wilhelm Werner in the overall rankings! The headlines indicate the dominance of the new vehicle from DMG during the “ Semaine de Nice”. But these days in March 1901 witnessed far more than a spectacular series of racing victories at what was then the most important meeting in motorsport: the Mercedes 35 HP premiered in Nice, which Wilhelm Maybach built at the urging of Emil Jellinek, is regarded as the first modern automobile.

Its characteristic features were the long wheelbase, the light and powerful engine fitted low in the frame and the honeycomb radiator integrated organically into the front end, which was to become a hallmark of the brand. The Mercedes 35 HP marked a final departure from the carriage style that had previously dominated the industry. DMG continued to develop this outstanding design, giving rise to two more models based on the first Mercedes in the course of 1901. 1902 saw the launch of the Mercedes-Simplex model series, comprising various series production automobiles and racing cars.

The overall scope of new features and developments based on the vehicle which won its first race in Nice on 23 March 1901 revolutionised the contemporary concept of the automobile. Today, Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a similarly revolutionary course of development with its CASE strategy, which was presented in 2016. CASE sees the company specifically promoting innovations in the four future-oriented areas of Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive. All four of these areas are closely interlinked for the purposes of the CASE strategy. Integrating different innovations to form a coherent system was also the key to success for the far-sighted DMG engineer Maybach, who developed the first Mercedes model series with the 35 HP as the most powerful version. Maybach’s feats earned him the honorific title of “roi des constructeurs” (“king of design engineers”) in France.

There is another parallel between today and 1901: use of the Mercedes 35 HP in motorsport provided important findings for the continuing course of series production development. Today, key insights are provided by MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS motorsport employing the EQ Power+ drive technology in Formula 1. The technical designation which is to apply to all standard plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-AMG in the future premiered in the F1 W08 EQ Power+ racing car of the 2017 season.

International stage for the automobile

As the harbinger of a new form of mobility, it was no coincidence that the Mercedes 35 HP celebrated its greatest successes in Nice, as in 1901 the region around this city in the south of France was a prominent centre of the motoring world. It was here that the world’s first official hill climb took place in 1897, on the stretch from Nice to La Turbie, which covered a distance of around 17 kilometres at the time. René de Knyff and Marcel Prevost took 4th and 5th places, driving Panhard-Levassor cars with “système Daimler” engines. Their speeds averaged 18.1 km/h and 17.9 km/h. The winner – André Michelin driving a De-Dion steam car – clocked up 31.3 km/h. Two years later, the race evolved into the “Semaine de Nice”, a racing week for automobiles and motorcycles staged by the Automobile Club de Nice and the magazine “La France Automobile”.

1897 saw a sharp rise in the number of automobile competitions all over France. The season was dominated by Panhard-Levassor cars, whose engines were built in France under licence from Daimler. The list of races won by these cars included Paris–Dieppe, Paris–T rouville, Lyon–Uriage–Lyon, Arosa–Stresa and Carcassone–Béziers. From 1899 the “Meeting de Nice”, as the racing week was also known, became a high-profile event comprising races across a broad range of disciplines. At the event in 1899, Emil Jellinek fielded Daimler racing cars with the 12 HP “Phoenix” engine under the name “ Mercédès”. The pseudonym was inspired by his daughter, who was born in Vienna in 1889. The vehicle with racing driver Wilhelm Bauer at the wheel won the 85-kilometre Nice–Colomars–Tourettes-Magagnosc–N ice round trip.

The keen motorsport traditions dating from around 1900 on the Côte d’Azur continued into modern racing events in the region, as illustrated in particular by the Grand Prix de Monaco in 1929. Rudolf Caracciola took 3rd place at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SSK in the opening race. To date, Mercedes-Benz racing cars have notched up victories in this Grand Prix in 14 years:1935 to 1937, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 to 2009 and 2013 to 2016. In the past few years alone, the MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS motorsport team has won the legendary Formula 1 race four times in succession, including a one-two victory in 2014, when Nico Rosberg took first place ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

15 years after its invention by Carl Benz, in 1901 the automobile was a highly innovative but also extremely exclusive form of technology. Even in France, cars remained conspicuous by their absence in everyday life at the turn of the 20th century, even though the motor vehicle enjoyed particularly early success in this country. The registration statistics for France nevertheless show 4427 so-called luxury passenger cars in 1901, plus 959 automobiles for commercial use.

The turn of the century was a time of radical change. Science and technology received broad coverage in the media, and innovations in the field of mobility were a topic of particular interest. Apart from the automobile, this area also included the bicycle and the railways. Emil Jellinek, the visionary businessman born in Leipzig on 6 April 1853, was also fascinated by bicycles. He once told the journal “Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung”: “I didn’t become part of the automobile movement by chance. I was a keen cyclist and I have tackled the steep Turbie on my own leg power."

But the entrepreneur’s fascination with the automobile soon overshadowed his love of bicycles. In November 1898, Jellinek thus requested the prefect of Nice to grant him an operating licence for his Daimler motor vehicle, stating that he intended to drive it on the département’s roads and also to compete with it in Nice Week in March 1899. This type of involvement was still unusual at the time, as the public space in the major cities still belonged to flâneurs and horse-drawn buses, carriages and trams. This scenario was particularly prevalent in the regions away from the towns and cities, where people got around by bicycle, horse and cart or on foot, rather than by car. Long distances were covered by train.

An exception to this state of affairs was the Côte d’Azur, where Europe’s high society gathered above all during the winter months. Nice in particular was a dream destination for the gentry and the aristocracy, for “sportsmen” and trendsetters. Interest in the technical and sporting possibilities of the automobile was more pronounced here than anywhere else in the world.

The region’s development into “Europe’s wintertime capital” began back at the end of the 18th century. From November to April, the rich and beautiful people of Europe and also from overseas sought the light of the south and the mild weather to be found there, and the city was connected to the railway network in 1864. The number of wintertime guests rose from 250 overnight stays in 1788 to around 60,000 in 1900. This tourist boom gave rise to a unique transformation at the waterfront in Nice, with a paved pathway being installed in 1820. As the idea stemmed from British tourists, the pathway acquired the name “Promenade des Anglais”. From these modest beginnings, a magnificent boulevard arose parallel to the promenade. Among the locations along this route was Nice’s casino, which was built on a pier in 1882. Emil Jellinek took up residence nearby at no. 57, Promenade des Anglais. He lived here with his family, delivering the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft’s latest vehicles to his customers. The building is still standing today, though it has since been modified and extended. In 1902 Jellinek acquired the nearby villa at no. 54, naming it “Villa Mercédès”, like his home in Baden near Vienna. No. 54 duly served as the central focus of Jellinek’s family and business life on the Côte d’Azur. After the Second World War, an apartment building went up on the site of this villa. The word “Mercédès” above the entrance to the building alludes to its former importance.

In the years around 1900, especially during the winter Nice was an absolutely international city and a magical place embracing modernity and thriving on visions. The automobile powered by a combustion engine soon became an innovative status symbol and a coveted sporting accoutrement for customers from the gentry and the top echelons of bourgeois society. The trend was evidently begun when opera singer Jane Dhasty cruised around the city in a car in the autumn of 1895. Her example was quick to catch on: by the winter of 1895/96, 111 automobiles were documented in the region between Hyères and the Italian border alone. This corresponded to more than one eighth of all automobiles in the world at the time.

Cosmopolitan, well-connected Emil Jellinek found the perfect stage here for his star role as a purveyor of automobiles. The visionary businessman was fully aware that racing successes could only help to boost sales. And triumphs such as were achieved in Nice Week in 1901 harboured the best marketing potential: not just a one-off flash of glory, but an ongoing succession of blazing victories in a whole series of different types of competitions, a sparkling garland of successes. 

Innovation for luxurious sportiness

In 1901 there were no differences between racing cars and sports passenger cars. The Mercedes 35 HP was also an innovative and flexible platform which could be transformed from a two-seater racing car into a four-seater luxury automobile with a pronounced sporty character. The Mercedes brand arose on the Côte d’Azur at the beginning of the 20th century as the world’s first luxury car brand, with sportiness written into the brand’s gene’s from the very outset. Emil Jellinek was spot-on in assessing the significance of the Mercedes 35 HP model’s successes to the future development of the automobile – albeit with a degree of swagger: ”What you are seeing here is nothing compared to what you are going to see next year,” he said in praise of the new vehicle from DMG after the spectacular victories at Nice Week.

The Mercedes 35 HP, the other Mercedes models from 1901 and the Mercedes-Simplex cars based on these models marked an important leap forward in the history of the automobile as the apogee of a process of development extending over several years. Emil Jellinek, who received his first Daimler car in October 1897 - a Viktoria with a 4.4 kW (6 hp) two-cylinder engine and belt drive - played an important role from the outset. Urging DMG to produce more powerful and faster models, in September 1898 he took delivery of a Daimler “Phoenix” car with a front-mounted four-cylinder engine. Before the year was out, he started selling Daimler automobiles to the high society in Nice. Successes by the powerful Daimler cars in motorsport were an important selling point here. In the prestigious Nice–La Turbie hill climb on 24 March 1899, Arthur de Rothschild took second place in the category of four-seater cars at the wheel of a Daimler 12 HP “Phoenix” car. He completed the stretch, which in this year covered a distance of 16.3 kilometres, at an average speed of 41.1 km/h. Jellinek then called on DMG to come up with even more powerful vehicles for the 1900 season. This insistence was attributable to a fascination for the modern sport, a visionary understanding of technology and above all a good intuitive sense of his customers’ needs.

Wilhelm Maybach and DMG engine designer Joseph Brauner duly developed the “Phoenix” four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 5.5 litres and a rated output of 17 kW (23 hp). The chassis design was also totally new. It had a shorter wheelbase than its predecessor, four wheels of identical size and a larger tubular radiator with a square face which was mounted at the front under the bonnet. This gave the racing car with an effective output of a good 19 kW (26 hp) a brawny and powerful appearance. Emil Jellinek fielded two of these 23 HP “Phoenix” cars in class C (over 400 kilograms) at Nice Week from 26 to 30 March 1900, driven by Hermann Braun and Wilhelm Bauer and bearing the pseudonyms “Mercédès I” and “Mercédès II”. On the long-distance Nice–Draguignan–Nice trip, Mercédès I overturned in the Esterel mountains with Hermann Braun at the wheel – fortunately without any major consequences. Experienced works driver Wilhelm Bauer then suffered an accident in Mercédès II shortly after the start of the Nice-La Turbie hill climb. Taking evasive action to avoid spectators who were running onto the track, he collided with a rock face and died from his injuries shortly afterwards. The only success for Daimler was delivered by private driver E. T. Stead, who won the tourist class in the long-distance Nice–Draguignan–Nice race and the Nice–La Turbie hill climb in his own 23 HP “Phoenix”.

The birthplace of the modern automobile in Cannstatt

The two accidents and Bauer’s death caused much consternation at DMG, and the company seriously considered pulling out of motorsport altogether. Jellinek, who was DMG’s most important customer at this time, now proved the man of the hour. He categorically rejected any withdrawal from motorsport, instead calling for a totally new type of design: an even more powerful car that would finally break with the carriage-based concept which still applied at the time and which effectively developed the initial ideas implemented in the 23 HP “Phoenix” car. The new Daimler model was to be defined by a longer wheelbase, a lower centre of gravity, lower weight and a higher output and speed and, in particular, closely coordinated systems, from the cooling through the ignition to the clutch. The record of the agreement reached between Jellinek and DMG management board members Gustav Vischer and Wilhelm Maybach in Nice on 2 April 1900 couched the ambitious development objectives in rather sober terms: “A new form of engine is to be produced and the same is to bear the name Daimler-Mercedes.”

Jellinek backed up his demands with considerable economic clout: up to June 1900, the importer ordered a total of 72 vehicles in all power categories – from the new entry-level model rated at 5.9 kW (8 hp) to the equally new top model with 26 kW (35 hp) originally conceived as 30 hp model. The overall order volume corresponded to more than 60 percent of DMG’s complete annual production in Cannstatt. The mission for the 35 HP racing car was clear: it was to triumph at Nice Week in 1901.

Maybach and engine designer Brauner set about developing this first and most powerful model of the series in Cannstatt. The process got underway with the engine, as the core of the vehicle. The new engine soon caused a stir in the automotive press: The issue of French magazine “La France Automobile” dated 9 June 1900 included a report by its editor-in-chief Paul Meyan, who was also the founding member and secretary-general of the Automobile Club de France (A.C.F.), on his visit to DMG in Cannstatt and mentions the “Mercedes engine” produced in the new lightweight metal magnalium, an alloy consisting of magnesium and aluminium. Meyan alerted his compatriots in no uncertain terms to the competition which was to be expected from the innovative new construction.

The first specimen of the large-volume lightweight engine was tested on 13 October 1900. “La France Automobile” published two photographs of the innovative high-performance unit in its issue of 24 November 1900. The first car had completed its initial trial drive with the new engine two days before. This revealed that a stronger frame was required. The revised construction, which was very eagerly awaited by its customer, successfully underwent a four-hour trial on 15 December 1900 and was dispatched to Nice by rail on 22 December 1900. Two pictures of this first Mercedes adorned the cover of the 29 December 1900 issue of “La France Automobile” – an indication of the degree of interest in this new construction among the experts.

The project was to radically change the world of mobility, as a result of the fresh approaches adopted by the developers. The frame of the Mercedes 35 HP was the first to feature longitudinal frame members consisting of U-sections which came together at the front, for example. This avoided the need for an auxiliary support for the engine, resulting in a lighter vehicle with a lower centre of gravity. At 2245 millimetres, the wheelbase was 510 millimetres larger than that of the 23 HP “Phoenix” racing car, and the front track width grew by 25 millimetres to 1400 millimetres. The engine was positioned behind the front axle, while the driver’s and co-driver’s seats were located in front of the rear axle. Overall, this led to substantially better axle load distribution and markedly improved handling.

The engine as the beating heart of the automobile

The new four-cylinder in-line engine developed by Joseph Brauner had a displacement of 5913 cubic centimetres and an output of 26 kW (35 hp) at 1000 rpm. Despite the increase in displacement and output in comparison to the “ Phoenix” engine from the previous year, the unit was about 80 kilograms, or around 25 percent, lighter. Brauner configured the engine with a short stroke, in order to obtain higher engine speeds. The cylinders were cast in pairs together with the heads, the piston material varied in thickness on weight grounds, the crankcase was cast in the lightweight alloy magnalium, consisting of aluminium and magnesium. The intake valves were controlled by their own camshafts for the first time, resulting in two camshafts for the engine. This marked a substantial advance over the previously employed “snifting valves” which were actuated by the vacuum created by the downward-moving piston. Measures such as the two improved spray-nozzle carburettors and the low-voltage make-and-break ignition also contributed to the engine’s smooth running with good elasticity and provided for a broad effective engine speed range.

Successful solutions with which Maybach had advanced the development of automotive engineering in the years before were also further enhanced in the interests of improved performance. The cooling system, for example: the so-called honeycomb radiator was now evolved on the basis of the tubular radiator dating from 1897, which itself represented an important advance in comparison to the cooling coils which were in widespread use at the time. In the honeycomb radiator, the cooling air flowed through 5800 tubes whose square cross-section had a side length of 5 millimetres. In this way, the air throughput and cooling effect were further improved and it was possible to halve the quantity of cooling water in the interests of weight reduction.

Many details go together to produce a convincing overall concept when they are ideally coordinated. The engineers in Cannstatt followed this philosophy in developing the Mercedes 35 HP. The first modern automobile was thus produced as a coherent system with the combustion engine as its powerful beating heart. The top speed stood at 75 km/h, or almost 90 km/h with a lightweight sports body – unparalleled figures at the time. The lightweight design was a contributory factor to this performance: in its racing variant, the Mercedes 35 HP weighed just over 1000 kilograms – about 400 kilograms lighter than the 23 HP “ Phoenix” racing car.

On 4 January 1901, less than two weeks after the first Mercedes 35 HP was delivered, the magazine “L’Automobile-Revue du Littoral” published a feature stating: “The place to catch new developments at present is not Paris, but Nice. The first Mercedes car built at the Cannstatt workshops has arrived in Nice and its owner, Mr Jellinek, has obligingly allowed all the drivers to take a look at it. It has to be said that the Mercedes car is very, very interesting. This remarkable vehicle will be a redoubtable competitor in the races in 1901.”

On a technical level, the Mercedes 35 HP is rightly regarded as the first modern automobile: it made the leap from the era of the horse-drawn carriage into the automobile age and gave the automobile its own distinct form. And in 1901 it also produced the anticipated victories in diverse racing categories in Nice. In 1901, the Nice-La Turbie hill climb, which had been shortened to 15.5 kilometres, was won by Wilhelm Werner in a new record time at an average speed of 51.4 km/h in the two-seater racing car category, ahead of Albert “Georges” Lemaître (both driving a Mercedes 35 HP). Werner’s vehicle belonged to Henri de Rothschild and raced under his pseudonym “Dr Pascal”, as in the previous year. The category of six-seater cars was won by driver Thorn at an average speed of 42.7 km/h also on Mercedes 35 HP.

Among the other successes at Nice Week in 1901 was Werner’s victory in the Nice–Salon–Nice long-distance race over 392 kilometres on 25 March, in which he clocked up an average speed of 58.1 km/h. This went down in history as the first ever racing victory by a Mercedes automobile. In the mile race on the Promenade des Anglais, Werner attained a top speed of 86.1 km/h for the flying kilometre. And finally, in the record-breaking attempts which also formed part of the five-day event, Claude Loraine-Barrow set a new world record for one mile from a standing start, averaging 79.7 km/h in a Mercedes 35 HP.

At a stroke, these successes established Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft as the leading manufacturer of sporty and luxurious automobiles. Jellinek proved adept at translating the given potential into successful sales. During Nice Week of 1901 he had Werner parade the winning vehicle in front of the assembled spectators, now fitted out as a four-seater vehicle with an additional rear bench. This had the desired effect of numerous orders for the businessman. Additional racing triumphs, such as in the Semmering race in September 1901, further underscored the Mercedes vehicle’s potential. Thus began Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft’s success story as a business enterprise, too.

Previously only a team name for the vehicles fielded by Jellinek, the “Mercédès” pseudonym now came to be applied to the company’s concrete products: the engine and the automobile. This was the decisive step towards the use of Mercedes as a brand name, which DMG had registered as a trademark in September 1902. But for the time being, the Cannstatt engineers pushed ahead with developing their successful model into a model family. In the course of 1901 the 12/16 HP and 8/11 HP models were added alongside the Mercedes 35 HP. And development of the improved models for 1902 was already underway.

Simplex: simply good!

In 1901, the first Mercedes represented a really big deal in terms of performance and handling. In the course of further development work for the 1902 model year, the design engineers headed by Wilhelm Maybach improved numerous details which were also to result in simpler operation. This was reflected in the name of the new models, which were called “Mercedes-Simplex” in allusion to their ease of operation. DMG launched three models in 1902: the Mercedes-Simplex 20 HP (4084 cc displacement), 28 HP (5322 cc displacement) and 40 HP (6785 cc displacement). The output and displacement of these engines were uprated in comparison to the models from 1901.

In Nice Week of 1902, the Mercedes-Simplex 40 HP outperformed the competition, taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Nice–La Turbie hill climb. The Englishman E. T. Stead set a new record with an average speed of 55.2 km/h. He was followed by Lemaître and Werner in 2nd and 3rd place.

The Mercedes-Simplex 40 HP also triumphed in all the other competitions. Wilhelm Werner won the Semmering race in September 1902 ahead of the previous year’s winner, Dr Richard Ritter von Stern. DMG’s top model also demonstrated its speed in record runs on public roads, whose surfaces were anything but ideal at the time: American billionaire William K. Vanderbilt jr. staged a record-breaking attempt in his Mercedes-Simplex 40 HP on the road from Ablis to Chartres in May 1902, reaching a speed of 111.8 km/h. Vanderbilt already owned a Mercedes 35 HP. In 1902 he was one of the first customers to take delivery of a Mercedes-Simplex 40 HP.

For travel and racing

Wilhelm Maybach, recipient of the honorific title “roi des constructeurs” (“king of design engineers”) in France, continued to demonstrate his technical brilliance. For the 1903 model year he again designed three new models for the Mercedes-Simplex family. Their respective roles were clear: the top engine variant of the two series production vehicles was the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP. Its four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 9235 cubic centimetres produced an output of 44 kW (60 hp) at 1600 rpm. The vehicle was available with a diverse range of body forms for different purposes. Outstanding examples are the Jellinek family’s luxurious touring limousine, which since many years is on show at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, and the version as an open high-performance sports car.

Positioned under the 60 HP model as well as the 40 HP and 28 HP models which continued to be available, the Mercedes-Simplex 18/22 HP with a 3-litre engine replaced the previous 20 HP model. The top model of 1903 was the 90 HP racing car. Among the plans for this car, it was intended to compete in and win the important Gordon Bennett race on 2 July 1903. But then the DMG factory in Cannstatt was gutted by a fire in the night of 9 June 1903. The three racing cars which were in the Cannstatt DMG factory awaiting final optimisation measures for the race in Ireland were destroyed. To avoid having to forego the race, DMG requested a number of its customers to make their new Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP vehicles available for the Gordon Bennett race. And this perseverance was duly rewarded when Belgium driver Camille Jenatzy did indeed win the 1903 Gordon Bennett race, driving the vehicle which belonged to American millionaire and automobile enthusiast Clarence Gray Dinsmore. Mercedes thus won the most important racing event of its day, which almost 120 years ago established the traditions out of which today’s Formula 1 world championship eventually emerged.

This was not the vehicle’s first major victory. Back in April of the same year, the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP had demonstrated its sporting capabilities on familiar terrain, Otto Hieronimus (average speed 64.4 km/h) achieving a new course record in the Nice–L a Turbie hill climb at the 1903 Nice Week, followed by Wilhelm Werner, both at the wheel of Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP cars.

The new Mercedes-Simplex models in 1903 featured further advances in comparison to the previous year’s model. On the 60 HP, for example, the displacement was increased to 9.3 litres by enlarging the bore and the vertical valve was replaced by an overhead valve which was actuated by the low-mounted camshaft via tappets and rocker arms. The engine of the newly developed entry-level Mercedes-Simplex 18/22 HP also followed this state-of-the-art design principle of high-performance engines. In 1904 DMG added a new series of Mercedes-Simplex models to the existing range: the 60 HP model remained in production largely unchanged, while the 28/32 HP and 40/45 HP variants were further developments of the 28 HP and 40 HP models presented in 1902. A new model was the Mercedes-Simplex 18/28 HP, which replaced the 18/22 HP from 1903.

The “Simplex” designation disappeared from the naming for Mercedes automobiles in 1905. The lasting influence of the first Mercedes and the subsequent Mercedes-Simplex models on the development of the automobile was illustrated, for example, by the press coverage which accompanied the development of the first modern automobile from the outset and regularly highlighted the subsequent advances. The “Mercedes factor” was also particularly evident at the Paris Motor Show in December 1902, at which the vehicles presented by the majority of manufacturers adopted the concept and form of the first Mercedes. This prompted the French automobile press to refer to the Paris Motor Show, which was already an important event, as the “Mercedes Show”.