Short early history of the company with the three-pointed star

Currently part of the conglomerate DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes-Benz is a German company that produces cars.

Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Emil Jellinek

The inventions of the above first three persons were instrumental in ushering in the automotive age. The last person, Emil Jellinek, influenced how the products of the first three went down in history.

Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz created - separate - businesses, in Mannheim Benz founded the firm Benz & Cie. in October 1883, in Cannstatt Daimler formed the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) in November 1890.
Wilhelm Maybach was the chief engineer at DMG and was eventually responsible for the development of the first Mercedes car.

Both Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler used their own names - Benz and Daimler - for their engines and vehicles. The trademark of Benz & Cie. remained the same, but the turn of the century (1900) brought a new trade name for the products from DMG. The daughter of the Austrian businessman Emil Jellinek was named Mercedes.

At the beginning of April 1900, Emil Jellinek made an agreement with DMG concerning the sales of Daimler cars and engines. Part of this agreement was the development of a new engine bearing the name Daimler-Mercedes. The first vehicle to be fitted with the new engine, a 35 hp racing car, was delivered to Jellinek by DMG on December 22, 1900. This first Mercedes caused a stir in the first year of the new century. It featured numerous innovations and is regarded today as the first modern automobile.

The three-pointed star

The sons of Daimler, Paul and Adolf (remember, this is before WWII), proposed to use a star as the company's symbol and in June 1909 this proposal was accepted. Both three-pointed and four-pointed stars were registered as trademark, though only the three-pointed star was used1. From 1910 it began to feature on the front of the cars on the radiator.

The star was supposed to symbolise Daimler's ambition of universal motorization - on land, on water and in the air. Apparently it is called the 'lucky star'2.

Merger one

After the first World War difficult times started for the Daimler and Benz companies. In 1924 they formed a syndicate. The companies started marketing their products jointly, although still under separate trademarks. In June 1926 they finally merged to form Daimler-Benz.
A new trademark was designed that brought together the main characteristics of both the existing emblems. The three-pointed star of DMG was surrounded by its trade name Mercedes and the other famous name Benz. The laurel wreath previously featured on the Benz emblem now entwined the two names. This trademark still adorns Mercedes-Benz vehicles today.

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1 Apart from one car specially built for someone... some government character I think, can't remember now, will follow-up
2 According to TallRoo, read his excellent writeup.

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   Sources:
http://www.mercedes.com/e/mbclassic/default.htm
The Mercedes-Benz guide to naming their cars

Mercedes-Benz employs a standard naming convention to their cars in a similar matter to BMW's style.

With the exception of C-Class, most Mercedes models will have a three-digit number followed by a letter (in a C-Class, the letter usually comes first).

The letters represent the class of car, and the categories are quite general, because the cars used to have specialized names, and they have since been simplified:

C - Compact - Although now it is more akin to a the budget class (like the 3-series of BMW fame).
E - Einspritz, or Fuel Injection - More akin to the middle class. Now a placeholder letter because all Mercedes-Benz' are fuel-injected nowadays. Some people now say E stands for "Executive"
S - Super - The higher class of Mercedes.
L - Lang, or Long, usually referring to the wheelbase.
D - Diesel
M - Multipurpose, Mobility (SUV)
SL - Sports, Light-weight
LK - Light-weight kurz (short, sporty car)
V - Versatile, Van I haven't seen this one in the U.S.
A - I don't know this one. This is a very compact model, found in Euorpe. I've heard "Alpha".
G - Gelandewagen, or Land Wagon. These things look like Hummers, and I've only seen them at car shows.
R - Roadster An old name no longer used (replaced by 'SL')

The number that follows the class refers to the engine's displacement, which is the volume of the cylinders, measured in centiliters. So a E320 is a 3.2 liter fuel-injection car.

There's also the 190 class, in which you have names like "190E 2.3" in which the last number refers to the engine size (in liters). I know, it's weird. But useful for the most part.

*This is the only plausible phrase I've heard that makes sense for 'E'. If anyone knows why else C or E or used, /msg me...

Originally, I had divided this node into a pile of different nodes. I was accused of NFN, something to which I do not agree, but decided to change it anyway. This notice will be removed once I have cleaned up my act. I am sorry about this.

Mercedes Benz related nodes

Mercedes cars with more extensive writeups:

Mercedes Benz car Models

This is work in progress. Additions? Send me a message!

Mercedes 190 E/D

Making this car, Mercedes tried to get rid of it's stamp as a rich kids' car. The 190 were lower both in spec and price, but kept the famous Mercedes quality. The cars had multi-link suspension. The 2.3 liter model was most common, but was blamed for being rather sluggish (what the hell do you expect with an entry level car?). In 1991(?) the 2.3 model was discontinued, but the 2.6 model continued a while more.

The Diesel model was a bit slower in all ways, but became one of the most famous workhorses ever from Mercedes. Very reliable and rugged.

Mercedes 220 and 220 D

A car produced primarily in the 1970s, mostly Diesel models, infamous for being dangerously slow when it comes to acceleration. The few petrol models that were made were more spicy, although its acceleration tended to be a bit laggy in the beginning of the envelope (0-40 kph)

Mercedes C220

This car followed the C190. it was basically the same idea - an entry level car - but with a new design. The car suffered from being built to a lower price, with more frequent services, break downs and in particular oil leaks.

Mercedes C280

This car followed the C190. it was basically the same idea - an entry level car - but with a new design. The car suffered from being built to a lower price, with more frequent services, break downs and in particular oil leaks.

Mercedes C240

This car followed the C220 and C280 models. The new C class was redesigned from scratch, bearing a striking resemblance with the luxurious S-class. Still an entry level car, but despite the relatively small engine, it uses newer technology, resulting in a fun car to drive.

Mercedes C320

This car followed the C220 and C280 models, and is the C240's big brother. The new C class was redesigned from scratch, bearing a striking resemblance with the luxurious S-class. Still an entry level car, but despite the relatively small engine, it uses newer technology, resulting in a fun car to drive.

Mercedes C240

This car followed the C220 and C280 models. The new C class was redesigned from scratch, bearing a striking resemblance with the luxurious S-class. Still an entry level car, but despite the relatively small engine, it uses newer technology, resulting in a fun car to drive.

Mercedes 240D

For a long time, this was the basic Mercedes model. reliable, relatively cheap in use, and looks quite nice. These cars are often still found on the road today - a good account of the engineering marvel it is.

Mercedes 300D, 300D TD, 300TD, 300SD

The 300D series became the workhorse beasts in the middle of the Mercedes line. The Turbodiesel gave petrol-car-like performance to the Diesel, while keeping the Diesel cars' advantages. The 300TD model was a station wagon, the SD version was a long wheelbase version of the 300D. They are all known to be very reliable, but not very exciting.

Mercedes 300E

A fantastic car that carried the midsection of the Mercedes range for almost ten years. It had great mileage, was good in acceleration and was very responsive to the gas pedal. Probably one of the best cars Mercedes has ever made.

The 300E also came as the 300E 2.6 (also caleld 260E occasionally). This model shares all the virtues of the 300 other than its power.

Mercedes 300CE

A souped up version of the 300E, this car came in coupe or convertible versions, and was otherwise identical to the 300E. A bit more expensive and a bit less roomy, but definitely a lot more stylish.

Mercedes 400E

A fantastic car that carried the midsection of the Mercedes range for almost ten years. It had good mileage, was exceptional in acceleration - very responsive to the gas pedal. Being a stronger model of the 300E, this car is definitely droolworthy.

Mercedes 500E

This car - which looks like an 300E on the outside - is in reality a full-fledged sportscar, using the 560SEL engine. When found nowadays (it is very rare) it is often unmarked. Looking like a 300E (except from special flared wheel wells) but with a performance that out-accelerates just about any other car. Final assembly and rebuilding of the car was done by Porsche. Fun, fun, fun. This car was followed by the E-class, I believe.

Mercedes E320

The new E-class was applauded for its new and exciting design. The cars have more kick to the driving and handling than the old 300E series, but they supposedly "feel" cheaper than the 300E. The headlights on these cars (Oo       oO) have become caracteristic of the whole new Mercedes lineup.

Mercedes E420

The new E-class was applauded for its new and exciting design. The cars have more kick to the driving and handling than the old 300E series, but they supposedly "feel" cheaper than the 300E. The headlights on these cars (Oo       oO) have become caracteristic of the whole new Mercedes lineup. The E420 is the E320s big brother.

Mercedes 280S

Sports-sedan type cars with a body resembling the later 280SE models. These cars are infamous for their weak carburators, which need frequent looking after.

Mercedes 280SE, 280SEL and 280 SE 4.5

Sports-sedan type cars with a body resembling the later 280SE models. These cars are infamous for their weak carburators, which need frequent looking after. Sadly, they also seem to rust easier than the other models. the SEL models (SE Luxury) has a longer wheel base and is more comfortable in general.

Mercedes 300SEL

Sports-sedan type cars with air suspension. Great idea, until they start breaking down. The 300SEL cars are serious performance beasts, happily going from 0-100 kph in less than 6 seconds. Sweet.

Mercedes 450 SE, 450 SEL and 450SEL 6.9

Sports-sedan type cars. The 6.9 liter car is the world's fastest full production sedan. They look more rugged than the earlier S-class models, and the design was far advanced of its time. Gorgeous, fast and a nightmare on maintenance costs.

Mercedes 380SEL

Once again the S-class gets redesigned. This model was never really popular, largely due to an underpowered engine that turned out being a maintenance nightmare.

Mercedes 430SEL

A quick and enjoyable Mercedes model running of a weaker model of the 560 series V8 engine. It is believed that this model was produced primarily to dodge the US import regulations, resulting in this car being considerably cheaper than the 560 series, while retaining its good performance and playful acceleration rate.

Mercedes 380SEC

A coupe version of the 380SEL. coupe, in this case, means that you lose a few seats and some storage space, you lose a bunch of weight and a few inches in length. Combine this with the same engine used to run the bigger car, and you get a giant toy. At a price, of course, because the SEC models are rather more expensive than their SE and SEL counterparts.

Mercedes 500SEC

A coupe version of the 500SEL. coupe, in this case, means that you lose a few seats and some storage space, you lose a bunch of weight and a few inches in length. Combine this with the same engine used to run the bigger car, and you get a giant toy. At a price, of course, because the SEC models are rather more expensive than their SE and SEL counterparts.

Mercedes 560SEC

A coupe version of the 560SEL. coupe, in this case, means that you lose a few seats and some storage space, you lose a bunch of weight and a few inches in length. Combine this with the same engine used to run the bigger car, and you get a giant toy. At a price, of course, because the SEC models are rather more expensive than their SE and SEL counterparts.

Mercedes 600SEL

Strange looking luxury cars, with odd features, such as dual air conditioning (each side of the car can have its individual temperature) and radar parking guides for that difficult parking spot. Collectors' item. Later renamed to S600

Mercedes 500SEL

Strange looking luxury cars, with odd features, such as dual air conditioning (each side of the car can have its individual temperature) and radar parking guides for that difficult parking spot. Later renamed to S500

Mercedes 420SEL

Strange looking luxury cars, with odd features, such as dual air conditioning (each side of the car can have its individual temperature) and radar parking guides for that difficult parking spot. Later renamed to S420

Mercedes S320

Strange looking luxury cars, with odd features, such as dual air conditioning (each side of the car can have its individual temperature) and radar parking guides for that difficult parking spot. Later renamed to S320

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

Mind-numbingly expensive, but famous for being one of the best car models ever built.

Mercedes-Benz has long competed with BMW throughout their respective ranges, each having at least one car in each class (apart from the superminis etc). They have also used a similar numbering method to BMW, i.e. the cars model being indicated by the letter and the remaining three numbers representing the engine size (so C270 is a C-Class with a 2.7L engine). However, Mercedes-Benz do not strictly adhere to this method (although they follow it more closely than BMW do).

What follows is a brief review of the current (2003) range of models produced by Mercedes-Benz.

A Class: This car by any other manufacturer would be called a town car or super mini. However, since the range starts at a price above where many such cars finish (e.g. Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 206), it cannot be classed as such. It seats 5 (but not that well) and is far better suited to town use than long motorway hauls. It uses still new design methods to fit the engine partly under the driver’s footwell and is designed to move under in the event of an accident. The car suffered with roll over problems until they were recalled and the problem rectified with massive amounts of understeer, making them predictable but boring to drive.

C Class: The *cheap* Mercedes-Benz. The new model is a worthy successor to the old car and fares well against its main rival, the BMW 3 series (that is not to say that it wins). The range starts from around twenty thousand pounds (the coupé being slightly cheaper). These cars have a well deserved reputation for reliability and hard wearing components (they are commonly seen as taxis). The CLK coupé is becoming more popular, however, only the AMG cars justify their price tag.

E Class: Aiming straight for the throat of the 5 series, this car can carry a huge amount of extras and toys. None of these helps the fact that the machine is huge and lumbering. For the size of the car, they do not have much room inside and are not as comfy as they should be on long journeys. As with its little brother, it loses out to the BMW.

S Class: This is their flagship and the top of the range cars are close to one hundred thousand pounds. This is far closer to its rival (the 7 Series) and I am not in a position to say which the better car is. The AMG versions of the cars have been rated amongst the top super cars in the world. The SLK and SL coupé, as well as the roadster, despite their price, are popular cars.

M Class: The off-roader (SUV, 4x4 etc). This has been around for a while, but has not sold well due its rivals (Range Rovers, BMW X5, and Volvo XC90). The car has nothing remarkable about it, being outperformed by its rivals in all fields.

AMG: It is fair to say that any AMG Merc is quick, and I really mean quick... The prices these cars command is justified by their performance, beating the Alpina BMWs in most areas. They are often compared to the Motorsport prepared BMWs (i.e. M3, M5 etc).

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