Mercedes-Benz: A history of excellence

Highly prestigious automobiles are deeply rooted in the origins of Mercedes-Benz. They provide the most demanding customers with a dignified and appropriate appearance. At the same time, such vehicles reflect the respective time through their design, the best available technology and special equipment features. And of course they compelled with outstanding comfort.

The era of the prestige cars began around twenty years after the invention of the automobile. In the early years of the 20th century, particularly wealthy members of the middle classes wanted a vehicle that reflected their economic and social status. The nobility, predominantly lovers of horses and carriages, also discovered the automobile for their representation purposes a few years later. These discerning customers often opted for the top models from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft or Benz & Cie. and had the respective chassis fitted with individual coachwork.

Such luxurious and prestigious bodies were made by the factory itself, or a coachbuilder carried out the work. Here, the car manufacturers competed with the luxury coachbuilders of those years with their bodies produced in a manufactory: The high customer demands for individuality, finish, comfort and luxury produced exceptional one-off pieces. The Pullman Limousine, Landaulet and various Cabriolets were widely used for representation purposes. Brochures at the time reflected the complete spectrum of the wealth of body variants on offer. Open versions were still used for representation vehicles into the 1960s, before closed versions gradually became established.

The tradition of prestigious luxury automobiles shaped by DMG and Benz & Cie. was effortlessly continued by Daimler-Benz AG, which was founded in 1926 from the predecessor companies. The brand name Mercedes-Benz became the new synonym for representation vehicles. One example is the 770 “Grand Mercedes”. Two model series carried this designation, W 07 (1930 to 1938) and W 150 (1938 to 1943). From 1951, the company continued this tradition with the 300 (W 186 and W 189), before the Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100) became the new benchmark of automotive excellence in 1963. After the end of its production in 1981, the company offered Pullman versions of the S-Class to its highly discerning clientèle. This was followed by the Maybach (model series 240), which was manufactured at the Sindelfingen manufactory from 2002 to 2013.

Since 2014, the name Mercedes-Maybach has stood for the most exclusive and prestigious vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz Group. The limousines based on the S-Class are chauffeur-driven limousines in a class of their own. They are taking this tradition of the world’s oldest luxury car manufacturer into the future with great success.

Emil Jellinek’s family at the “Port Lympia” harbour in Nice on the steam yacht “Mercédès II”. The vehicle directly next to the yacht is the Jellineks’ Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp touring car, built in 1904. Photograph from 1914.

Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp, built in 1904. Elegant and luxurious touring car from the personal estate of Emil Jellinek. The vehicle has belonged to the company’s vehicle collection since 1952 and has been on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum for many years.

Benz 70 hp Triple Phaeton. At the steering wheel: Heinrich, Prince of Prussia, the Emperor’s brother. The vehicle model was built from 1907 to 1908.

Mercedes 31/55 hp Landaulet from 1909 for the fleet of the German Kaiser.

Mercedes-Benz 24/100/140 hp Pullman Saloon. The vehicle model was built as a chassis between 1924 and July 1929 and often delivered as a chassis. The car bodies were then built individually.

Mercedes-Benz 24/100/140 hp, special body in a combination of Pullman City Coupé, also called Coupé de Ville, and Pullman Landaulet. Photo from the second half of the 1920s. The vehicle model was built as a chassis between 1924 and July 1929 and often delivered as a chassis. The car bodies were then built individually.

Mercedes-Benz 770 “Grand Mercedes” (W 07, 1930 to 1938). Three Pullman saloons are ready for collection at the factory in 1931.

Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186 II). Saloon with folding roof, 1951. The Mercedes-Benz 300 was built in several model series from 1951 to 1962.

Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186 II, 1951 to 1954), contemporary advertising graphic. The Mercedes-Benz 300 was built in several model series from 1951 to 1962.

Mercedes-Benz 300 (internally “c”, W 186 IV, 1955 to 1957). Drawing from the 1956 brochure.

Mercedes-Benz 300 (internally “d”, W 189, 1957 to 1962). Saloon from autumn 1957.

Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Saloon (W 100, 1965) as a special protection version with raised roof. State limousine from the vehicle fleet of then Daimler-Benz AG. For years, the company made them available to the German government during state visits. Today, the Mercedes-Benz Museum showcases the saloon in the room “Collection 4 – Gallery of Celebrities”.

Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100, 1964 to 1981). Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Kurt Georg Kiesinger, on a state visit to Stuttgart in 1966 in a Pullman Landaulet.

Maybach 62 (left) and 57, first version (240 series, 2002 to 2013). Photo published in October 2002.

Maybach 62 S Landaulet (left) and 57 (centre) and 62 after the model update, presented in April 2010. All 240 series (2002 to 2013). Photo published in April 2010.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 (222 series, 2014 to 2020), exterior. Photograph from 2014.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman (222 series, 2014 to 2020). In the background, the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Saloon (W 100). Photo from 2015.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman (222 series, 2014 to 2020), interior, rear. The four seats are arranged vis-à-vis. The adjustable executive seats offer a high level of comfort. Photo from 2015.

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