Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest luxury car manufacturer, has been reinventing the automobile time and again since 1886. In this way, the brand continuously sets standards and also accompanies social change. The history of the company is correspondingly rich in events and stories. Here we have a brief summary of important anniversaries and milestones from its history.
July 1947 – 75 years ago
Mercedes-Benz entered the successful post-war era with the 170 V
- Restart of production of this precursor to the E-Class
- Important signal of a new start in difficult times
- Originally launched in 1936, the W 136 series became a bestseller right from the start
It took courage, skill and organisational brilliance to start producing cars again after the end of the Second World War. Production facilities had been destroyed and materials were scarce. Mercedes-Benz took the first step quickly and from May 1946 initially produced urgently needed platform trucks and ambulances based on the 170 V (W 136). A good year later, things were proceeding: from July 1947, the company resumed production of the four-door saloon – an important signal of further normality. The vehicle was the only passenger car model in the Mercedes-Benz model range until 1949. Even before the war, this predecessor of the E-Class, presented in 1936, was a great success: the technically advanced and visually modern saloon was the brand’s most successful passenger car up to that point. A total of 140,415 units of the 170 V were produced.
13 July 1992 – 30 years ago
Twelve cylinders marked the top-of-the-range R 129-series SL
- 290 kW (394 hp) and torque of 570 Nm
- Only the lettering on the side distinguished the 600 SL from the other models
- With a price of DM 217,740, it was a highly exclusive luxury car
Silky smooth, turbine-like operation: the twelve-cylinder engine was considered the pinnacle of combustion engine design and the power plant of choice for luxury sports cars. The balanced relationship between oscillations and vibrations made this possible. Mercedes-Benz presented the 600 SL with this coveted engine in July 1992 – after the S-Class had already been available with a twelve-cylinder engine since 1991. This had the internal designation M 120 and developed an output of 290 kW (394 hp) and torque of 570 Nm from a displacement of 5,987 cubic centimetres. Externally, the new top-of-the-range SL model was only recognisable by the “V12” lettering next to the side ventilation fins. The modifications under the bodywork, on the other hand, were immense and extended into the bodyshell. More powerful brakes provided adequate deceleration. The price as well as the very extensive standard equipment reflected the effort: at its premiere, the 600 SL cost DM 217,740 – around DM 64,000 more than a 500 SL. A total of 11,089 units of the SL 600, as it was known from 1993 onwards, were produced until 2001, making these highly exclusive vehicles long sought-after collector’s items.
25 July to 9 August 1992 – 30 years ago
An international stage for electric mobility in Barcelona in 1992
- A fleet of twelve Mercedes-Benz 100 Es accompanied the Summer Olympics
- Testing of the electric drive under real conditions
- Externally, the innovation carriers corresponded to the MB 100 series vehicle
The Mercedes-Benz 100 E was assigned a major task in 1992: during the Summer Olympics in the Spanish city, a fleet of twelve electric minibuses and vans were to be used, some of them equipped with special bodies for timekeeping and television. The MB 100 E was used to test the electric drive and at the same time prove its suitability for everyday use during the large-scale test on the island of Rügen, carried out from 1992 to 1996. Externally, it corresponded to the standard MB 100. The technical data: 36 kW of engine power, a maintenance-free lead battery with 120 Ah of capacity, a brake system with recuperation and a top speed of 70 km/h – all very remarkable for the time. Today’s and future electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans are once again setting standards as locally emission-free vehicles for luxury business and leisure mobility as well as utility use.
31 July 1992 – 30 years ago
One million Mercedes-Benz vehicles with airbags
- World premiere of this pioneering passive safety system in 1981
- The anniversary vehicle was a 126-series S-Class
- A continuous chain of innovation until today
It marked an important milestone: the one millionth Mercedes-Benz passenger car with an airbag rolled off the production line at the Sindelfingen plant on 31 July 1992. The world’s first series-produced vehicle with this important passive safety system was the S-Class of the 126 series in 1981; it featured a combined system comprising driver airbag and seatbelt tensioner. Further model series were to follow – along with further developments. The passenger airbag, for example, made its world premiere in September 1987 in the S-Class Saloons and Coupés. The brand’s latest innovation in this field is the frontal airbag for rear passengers, presented in 2020. Airbag development at Mercedes-Benz began as early as 1966, and the company applied for the corresponding patent (DE 21 52 902 C2) in October 1971. The entire automotive industry quickly picked up on this innovation because of its fundamental importance for occupant safety.
Autumn 2002 – 20 years ago
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Magazine is celebrating its birthday
What, already 20 years old? The Mercedes-Benz Classic Magazine was published for the first time in 2002. And remains as fresh in 2022 as it was then. 20 years of Mercedes-Benz Classic Magazine, 20 years of a printed and lived passion for works of art on four wheels, for automotive cultural assets with the star, for classics, classics of the future and young classics. For subscribers in currently 84 countries around the world, for club members and for fans. With the current anniversary issue, the magazine takes a bow before its fans and readers – and presents them with an issue featuring a very special, gold-finished cover: it has been appropriately designed for the occasion by Professor Peter Pfeiffer, former head of design at Mercedes-Benz. More well-wishers follow on the first pages, including Marcus Breitschwerdt, the new head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. The number “20” appears in almost every article in this magazine, which with its text and photos moves right up close to the fans of the classics with the star.
Media representatives can view and download the latest Mercedes-Benz Classic Magazine at https://media.mercedes-benz.com/magazine.