It all started on the morning that Bertha Benz sneaked into her husband Karl’s workshop while he was asleep. She knew that this old shed was where he kept his strange new motorized contraption. Karl and his technicians had carefully tested the horseless carriage on a few short experimental runs around their house – but he was not very confident about taking it much further.
Maybe this odd device would never come to anything. It was an extraordinary machine after all… Bertha however, decided to take the ‘Motorwagen’ and drive it for 66 miles to visit her mother… without telling Karl. This turned out to be the first proper journey EVER taken by motorized road transport.
The Start of Mercedes
It was 1888 and the Benz family had unwittingly kick-started the reign of the car. The car made it and Bertha’s journey his the international headlines. So it is no surprise that what subsequently became the Mercedes-Benz brand has been synonymous with motoring luxury and innovation ever since.
Today the German brand’s three-pointed star is one of the world’s most instantly recognised trademarks. The vehicles it produces are bywords for smart, prestigious transport. Today’s range is as superlative as ever. It includes:
- The S-Class is one of the world’s most luxurious and technologically advanced vehicles.
- The GT is a mouth-watering supercar.
- The G-Wagen is one of the world’s most desirable off-roaders.
- The EQE is one of the planet’s most stylish new electric saloons.
- The GLA is probably the highest quality family hatchback available.
Over its entire range, the German marque is unashamedly expensive. It pitches to more affluent customers who want the best – from the entry-level saloons and hatchbacks right up to its supercars and high-end limousines. Thanks to the long tradition of Mercedes motorsport success, the brand has a reputation for performance and handling. The sturdy build-quality and attention to detail has given them a reputation for reliability too.
And a thousand appearances in films and TV shows have cemented their place among the icons of style. Mercedes rank among BMW, Audi, Maserati and even Ferrari and Lamborghini, as cars that are desired, even by people who don’t really like cars.
Cars of this quality seem to be special in every way. The owners believe Mercedes cars deserve special tires, special servicing, special valeting… and of course special owners.
Over history there have been some Mercedes that have become more than just another car. Here is our pick of five of the most iconic Mercs of all time:
1893 Benz Victoria
Karl Benz’s first four-wheeler was a convertible two-seater that looked more like a horse carriage than a car and was steered by a tiller – but it was a technological breakthrough for the time.
‘The Fastest Car in the World’ said the Mercedes ads. The sleek and stylish 120mph racer was actually designed by Ferdinand Porsche, before he set up his own company.
1963 Mercedes SL
The classic jetsetter’s two-seater convertible sports car with its ‘pagoda’ style indented removable hardtop roof was the car for cruising in the sixty’s sunshine.
1963 Mercedes 600
A car that was owned by both Elvis Presley and the Beatles must have been special. The ultimate limo of its day was the luxury choice of Liz Taylor and Hugh Hefner too.
2004 Mercedes G55 AMG
The 25th-anniversary version of the G-Wagen was given a muscle-car makeover to turn it into one of the first ever superfast off-roaders – thanks to a highly-tuned V8 engine under the boxy bonnet. And millions of Mercedes owners around the globe think their car is iconic too. Perhaps they’re a bit like Bertha Benz.
After chugging along her 66-mile route to her mother’s, Bertha sent a telegram to her husband to say they’d arrived. She said that along the way some people were frightened, some were shocked… but most smiled at her with amazement.