Rich history of Mercedes Benz
The 22nd George Old Car Show, proudly driven by Oakhurst Insurance Company, takes place on 10 – 11 February 2018.
Mercedes Benz, the company with the three-pointed star as logo, is a symbol of quality vehicles and enjoys global recognition.
The company has a rich and interesting history. Johann Lourens, chair of the Mercedes Benz Club in the Southern Cape, tells more about the early history of Mercedes Benz.
In January 1886, Karl Benz designed and patented the Benz Patent Motorwagen (BPM), the first vehicle with a petrol-driven, internal combustion engine. According to Lourens, the BPM was financed by Bertha Benz.
A replica, one of only 10 worldwide, and which belongs to the Mercedes Benz factory in East London, has been on display at the George Old Car Show for the past two years.
Later that year, Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach also designed a vehicle, which was “basically a horse cart with a petrol-driven engine”.
The first Mercedes vehicle was introduced by the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in 1901. The next year, Emil Jellinek, a vehicle entrepreneur and businessman involved with DMG, introduced the first Mercedes, which was named after his daughter.
In 1926, after the companies of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler joined forces, the renowned Mercedes Benz brand was introduced.
Today, Mercedes Benz is highly regarded and the company manufactures cars, buses, engines, etc in various countries, and since 1955, also in South Africa. The W121 190 Sedan, which was completed on 31 January 1958, was the first Mercedes manufactured here. At present, only the C-class Mercedes Benz is manufactured in South Africa.
Mercedes is well-known for groundbreaking safety aspects which made cars worldwide safer. Some examples of these are:
- This was the first vehicle that did not resemble a horse cart
- In 1924, the first vehicle with brakes on all four wheels was manufactured
- In 1936, the first diesel-driven passenger vehicle, the 260 D, was manufactured
- The Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing was the first vehicle with a fuel jet injection engine
- In 1951, the first vehicle with a Safety Cell construction, which allowed the front and back end of the car to compress in an accident, was designed. This was probably the most important safety aspect ever invented in the motor industry.
The Mercedes also designed other safety equipment, including traction control, ABS brakes, airbags, and the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).
The 2018 George Old Car Show takes place at PW Botha College. Entrance tickets, including special weekend tickets, can be bought online on the South Cape Old Car Club’s website www.scocc.co.za