Mercedes-Benz Gives Its First Car an Updated, Swanky Reboot
The future of Mercedes-Benz is a look back at its storied history, as the luxury car manufacturer has just released a futuristic reboot of the first modern vehicle with a flat design, the Mercedes 35 HP.
A new classic
Doing away with any carriage-like features, the first Mercedes 35 HP had introduced a vehicle design that made use of a “light high-performance engine installed low down in the frame and a honeycomb radiator.” As an homage to this once futuristic invention, Mercedes-Benz has released a new concept model in honor of its pioneer vehicle and has dubbed this the “Vision Mercedes Simplex.”
As it is unlikely that the Vision Mercedes Simplex will ever come to fruition as a working vehicle, it stands as a symbol of the brand’s innovation and pioneering spirit, which will eventually lead it into the future. “Only a brand that is as strong as Mercedes-Benz is capable of the physical symbiosis of history and future,” says chief design officer Gordon Wagener, “The Vision Mercedes Simplex symbolizes the transformation of the brand-specific luxury of Mercedes-Benz.”
The sculpture plays off on its predecessor’s two-seater layout, with no doors or roofs to protect its hypothetical passengers. Right in front of it is an elongated, rectangular frame of a hood. The body is white and simple until you reach its radiator, which is lined with rose gold. As a symbol that the brand is embracing the digital age, the grille is outfitted with a high-tech screen that not only displays the name of its manufacturer but also “animations which provide information on the vehicle status.” The wheels are situated outside of the vehicle’s body, taking a page from history books. It’s designed with an eye-catching color scheme of black, white, blue, and rose gold.
The first Mercedes-Benz model
In the year 1900, Emil Jellinek had commissioned a revolutionary vehicle design—one that dramatically veered away from the motor-power carriages prevalent at the time. After conceptualizing and finally, producing the vehicle, what chef designer of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, Wilhelm Maybach, presented to its owner was the first modern automobile—the Mercedes 35 HP (or PS in German), which was named after Jellinek’s daughter.
The number 35 in the original model’s name indicates the horsepower the machine delivered. It went as fast as 75 kilometers per hour or just under 90 kilometers per hour with a lighter body. The first of its kind was delivered to Jellinek on December 22, 1900, after he persuaded Maybach and his partner Gottlieb Daimler to build him his dream car in bulk—36 cars in total to enter races in Nice. He told them, “I want the car of tomorrow!” and sure enough, that’s what he received.
The following year, there was a long list of customers waiting to get their hands on a Mercedes, and this included names of industrialists such as Astor, Rockefeller, and Taylor. The model’s successor, the Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp was unveiled in 1902.