When talking about automotive superlatives, the instant mental connection you are bound to make is with Mercedes-Benz. Just that no matter how familiarized we’ve grown to be with its extraordinary, after more than a century since the German car producer has entered both technology history and universal culture, it’s still impossible to grasp all of the high standard parameters that the manufacturer actually implies.
Similarly to the complexity of a motor and the almost magical process through which it releases a carefully calibrated number of horsepower, you can only truly understand what Mercedes-Benz stands for after visiting the brand at home, in Stuttgart.
Mercedes-Benz Museum puts on show virtually the entire 130-year old uninterrupted history of the world’s oldest engine manufacturer.
More precisely, the 2 hour visit of the Stuttgart museum has you covering 9 floors and 16 500 square meters displaying 1 500 exhibits, among which 160 vehicles – a comprehensive spread of Mercedes-Benz history, since 1886 up to the present day.
! Mercedes-Benz is a German brand with a Spanish language particle added to the name of one of the company founders. Mysterious, isn’t it? Well, its story is even more exciting to know.
In the years 1880, independently of each other, two German inventors – Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz – were making technological advances towards what was to become the first car engine in history.
Benz & Cie. was being founded in 1883, while Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890.
In 1897, yet, Emil Jellinek was placing an order at the Cannstatt factory of Daimler. The first car of the approximately 100 cars (worth the modern day equivalent of millions of Euros) he would order over the length of time. Jellinek continued to place orders for cars with ever more powerful engines. One among these, Jellinek and Daimler agreed, was to be called Daimler-Mercedes, after Jellinek’s 10 years old daughter, Mercedes (’’grace’’ in Spanish).
And when, in 1901, at the Nice Week races, the Mercedes race car proved to be unbeatable, the attention it drew towards Jellinek – the father who had taken after his daughter’s name – and the Daimler factory was enormous.
Thanks to that moment of glory and recognition, in 1902, Mercedes was getting registered as a trade name! Daimler got to the point of having enough orders to start producing at full capacity.
The association with Benz was going to happen in 1924, while the first Mercedes-Benz automobile was to be produced in 1926.
! Mercedes-Benz Museum’s address is Mercedesstraße 100, 70372 Stuttgart – a tribute to the importance the producer bears for its city of origin, as well as for Germany as a whole.
! Furthermore, it’s good to know that one of the no 1 experience-attractions of the museum is entering a Formula 1 cockpit!
That taking pictures inside the museum is allowed.
And that a shopping spree at the Mercedes-Benz shop – that for souvenirs and collectable model cars, not the actual Mercedes-Benz store -, is a liberty no one can or will ever take away from you! Yes, you can even shop for Mercedes-Benz nail polish and all sort of fashion accessories like bags, scarves… But I will not spoil for you the surprise of discovering more…
! The museum’s interior structure is inspired by the double helix spiral of the DNA – a detail that is spectacular visually, but also through the reference it makes to Mercedes-Benz’s mission – that of permanently furthering the newest frontiers of innovation, in order to expand humankind’s mobility.
! From a different point of view, and a self-explanatory reality at that, beyond cutting edge technology or world class design, Mercedes-Benz is also a genuine symbol of our civilization, a cultural point of reference, even (using the term as judiciously as possible) a pop culture icon.
!! How about the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team having as Official Supplier of Lifestyle and Formal Wear Clothing the German fashion brand Hugo Boss?
!! That Giorgio Armani has created the design of the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Armani? Now you can buy a fashion designer car! <3
!! That Sandra Bullock, Heidi Klum, Lindsay Lohan, Sylvester Stalone, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Rowan Atkinson, Charlie Sheen, Wyclef Jean and Floyd Mayweather all drive Mercedes-Benz?
!! That no other than fashion industry’s Kaiser, Karl Lagerfeld, is a huge fan of Mercedes-Benz? The Chanel Creative Director has relinquished all driving pleasure and responsibilities to his trusted drivers.
!! That Vogue USA Editor in Chief Anna Wintour has at her beck and call an around the clock driver and a Mercedes-Benz S-Class? Excellence demanding excellence…
!! That Vogue Japan Editor-at-Large Anna dello Russo prefers the same brand?
!! Even Hollywood prefers Mercedes-Benz. A Mercedes-Benz W163 has featured in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, while a red Mercedes-Benz 600 was used in Batman & Robin. Just to name a few examples…
!! How about that two Americans have visited 111 countries and 3 territories on 3 continents – covering 245 000 km, over 3 years – in a custom-made Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicle?
!! That the most expensive Mercedes-Benz and the most expensive car in the world is a 1954 Formula 1 model? The Mercedes W196 F1 Silver Arrow was auctioned for 31 million dollars.
!! That, in 1906, Mercedes created some of the very first hybrid and electric automobiles? The hybrid was called Mercedes Mixte, while the electrically powered model – Mercedes Electrique. Their production has been halted early on because of the rise of fossil fuels.
!! How about that the largest Mercedes-Benz parade, organized on the Nürburgring Formula 1 race track, brought together a total of 257 cars?
!! That the highest speed (of 372.6 km/h) during a Formula 1 Grand Prix has been reached by Juan Pablo Montoya, in a McLaren-Mercedes, at Monza in 2005?
!! That there is a 300 000 Swarovski crystal-beaded Mercedes-Benz (exhibited at the Tokyo auto show, in 2011) and one fully covered in gold (presented by auto tuning firm Carlsson, in 2014, at the Geneva salon)? The price of the latter – the Carlsson CS50 Versailles – was of 498 000 dollars.
!! That Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had a huge crush on military trucks and tanks, owned & made famous a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U1300? Everybody went so crazy about it when seeing Arnold driving it, that the company could barely accomplish the number of orders. We’re talking about an exclusively military automobile!
!! That the VfB Stuttgart football team’s stadium is called the Mercedes-Benz Arena?
That the German manufacturer is a major sponsor of golf (The PGA of America and the Masters Tournament) and tennis events (US Open)?
!! And, to finally sum it all up, did you know that Mercedes-Benz’s sales for the first half of 2015 have reached record levels in the manufacturer’s entire history?
898 425 cars have been delivered to clients by the end of June, and the growth has been pushed by an increased demand for SUVs and the C-Class Saloon and Estate models. The markets most bolstering sales have been the British, the Portuguese, the Spanish and the Chinese, plus the Japanese and South Korean markets.
! One among the best examples of the iconic dimension Mercedes-Benz has been able to halo over the span of its history is represented by one of the museum’s very exhibits: a Mercedes-Benz 230 G popemobile used during John Paul II’s papacy.
! To be able to extend and deepen the MB experience and cast a closer look to the heart of such a car – its motor –, a further revealing visit to the Untertürkheim Plant can be made, additional to the museum itself.
! Additionally, staying true to its status of genuine city cultural center, next to its permanent display, the MB museum puts together a varied series of activities and events that have fully proved their visitor (over 4.4 million of them) appeal. The summer of 2015 has had among its highlights the ‘jazzopen stuttgart’ festival, yoga on the building’s terrace, the day that sees the museum open for civil marriage ceremonies, and continues (every Sunday, by September 6) with Cars & Coffee – a rendez-vous for auto (and otherwise) vintage aficionados and with the Mercedes-Benz Lounge (by September 6) – an informal business meeting or private get-together setting, providing ambiance for congregating over coffee or German beer and a MB beefburger (for more detailed information about the MB burgers, click here)!
! If 2015 doesn’t seem possible anymore for dropping by Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, it’s worth bearing in mind that 2016 is the year the museum celebrates its 10-year anniversary – so it’s bound to be an almost ideal moment to plan your visit for.
Anyway, the virtual tour is, or course, open 24/7.
Photos: Mercedes-Benz Museum, lesdoit.net, theplace2.ru, le21eme.com, therichest.com, dailynewsdig.com, luxuo.com