The motor car has been in existence since the mid-1880s, and that was down to Karl Benz, a German engineer who also developed the first stationary gasoline engine a few years previously.
After fitting the stationary engine to the first automobile frame, Benz created the Benz Patent Motor Car and was patented in January 1886. The motor car was born. The three-wheel, tiller-controlled vehicle is nothing like modern day cars, but this began the 130-year progression of the automobile and the Mercedes-Benz brand.
With fellow Germans Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach pushing the development of the four-wheeled vehicle, the early evolution of the motor car was enhanced significantly. Daimler-Motteren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. led the way in automobile and fuel-powered engine development through till the end of the 19th Century, as vehicles such as trucks and buses began to be mass-produced.
The first 'Mercedes' was seen during the 1901 Nice race week, and the 35hp machine dominated. The DMG-built vehicle was named DMG investor Emil Jellinek's daughter Mercedes, and the name was trademarked to begin a new line of DMG vehicles.
Also, the three-pointed star was introduced by DMG in 1909, as they began to dominate the engine world in all formats, may that be on land, water or in the skies.
Following the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, German manufacturing was falling behind international production. So in 1924, DMG and Benz & Cie. joined forces to form Daimler-Benz AG, with Karl Benz – who had continued to develop vehicles and engines with Benz & Cie. throughout the 20th Century – appointed as a director. He continued until his death in 1929.
At this stage in the company's history, it was decided that all vehicles would be called Mercedes-Benz, and so began the name's illustrious story.
From then on, Mercedes-Benz has been able to grow from strength to strength, and have since produced some of the most iconic cars in motoring history. This has helped the brand to build a superb reputation as one of the most reliable and well-respected. After a difficult period following the Second World War, where the company had focused on helping the war effort, the Mercedes-Benz began to produce a superb series of racing cars, such as the dominant Silver Arrows that won consecutive Formula One world titles during the 1950s and the 300 SLR, which won the Mille Miglia in 1955 and dominated the sports car world throughout the year.
The range of road cars have been supreme as well, such as the iconic 300 SL 'Gullwing' – which made the base for the 300 SLR – and the series of saloons that helped to promote the Mercedes brand through the second half of the 20th Century, for example, the C-Class and S-Class models. With subsequent sporty models, such as the SLK and SLR McLaren, and SUV and off-road models like the G-Class and M-Class, Mercedes have dominated the motoring world in many areas of the industry.
Along with the introduction of the AMG tuning department, which has helped to produce some of the company's most powerful and hard-core models, Mercedes has come on leaps and bounds in motorsport and has dominated the Formula One World Championship since 2014, with its revolutionary hybrid engine leading the way.
The Mercedes-Benz story has continued to be one of the most recognisable in the motoring industry, and the Benz name will always go down in motoring history as the first motor car ever built.