The birth of the automobile
The 35-hp Mercedes, the first modern automobile (1900 – 1901)
According to the specifications of Emil Jellinek, in 1900 Wilhelm Maybach developed the 35-hp Mercedes, which was the first “real” automobile by present-day standards. This new Daimler caused a revolution in March 1901 and became the worldwide standard for automobiles.
The Mercedes 35 hp, the first modern automobile, 1901
Its front-mounted four-cylinder in-line engine was bolted directly to the new, pressed-steel frame and had the sensational output of 35 hp (26 kW). The engine speed was regulated between 300 and 1000 rpm by a lever on the steering wheel. The cylinders and cylinder head formed a single unit, and for the first time the crankcase was made of aluminum. The power-to-weight ratio was now only 6.6 kilograms per horsepower, and one year later it fell to just 4.6 kg/hp. The intake valves were no longer controlled automatically, but by camshaft, like the exhaust valves.
Technical highlights
Engine of the 35 hp Mercedes, built between 1901 and 1903.
The car featured a spray-nozzle carburetor, honeycomb radiator, cooling fan, gear-type oil pump, water pump and magneto ignition. Equally new features of the car included a very compact, self-adjusting spring-band clutch, a single gearshift lever moving in a gate to operate the four-speed transmission, and a heavily inclined steering column. The significantly longer wheelbase, wider track and wheels of virtually equal size on both axles gave the car a high level of handling stability. The brakes were matched to the raised engine performance. The Mercedes was fitted with 30 centimeter wide drum brakes on the rear wheels, operated via a linkage by a manual lever. The foot-operated service brake acted on the drive shaft.
The beginning of the "Mercedes era"
The Nice Week, 25 - 29.03.1901. Baron Henry de Rothschild’s 35 hp Mercedes Simplex racing car:
The first unit of this innovative car developed by Wilhelm Maybach was supplied to the person who had ordered it – Emil Jellinek – on December 22, 1900. Jellinek’s daughter Mercedes was the inspiration for the new model designation of the vehicles from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft: Mercedes. In March 1901, the 35-hp Mercedes scored spectacular victories during the Nice Week. The automotive world heralded the beginning of the “Mercedes era.”
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