However, Emil Jellinek managed to convince Wilhelm Maybach – Gottlieb Daimler had passed away shortly before this in early March 1900 – that the car’s high centre of gravity was the reason behind the accident: “Victories make you world-famous. People buy the winning brand, and always will. It would be commercial suicide to stay away from racing,” argued Jellinek.
DMG yielded to Jellinek’s urgings and, in April 1900, decided to develop an all-new car with an all-new engine. Following Jellinek’s suggestion, the new model series was to appear under the name “Daimler-Mercedes”. The dealer pledged to take a complete series of 36 cars and ensure that the press in France, Germany, and Austria reported on the new vehicle.
The first new model, a Mercedes 35 hp racing car, was delivered to Jellinek on 22 December 1900. Developed by Wilhelm Maybach, it caused a sensation at the start of the century, as it was the world’s most sophisticated car to date.
At the Nice Speed Week towards the end of March 1901, the Mercedes cars showed what they were made of: achieving four first places and five second places, the Daimler cars were a class apart – in the distance race, on the hill climb and in the mile-long sprint. French manufacturer Panhard & Levassor, which had achieved first place in all the events the previous year, withdrew its vehicles before racing commenced, prompting the General Secretary of the French Automobile
Association to deliver a memorable line: “We have entered the Mercedes era.” Up until then, the French were actually considered the better carmakers. By the end of 1901, however, American billionaires such as Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan, and Taylor had all bought powerful Mercedes 40 hp models.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive and Collection
With age comes wisdom, and innovation is based on tradition: these values apply in particular to Mercedes-Benz Classic and its Archive and Collection departments.