100 Things You Should Know About Daimler | #16

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Jaguar used to produce Daimler vehicles

The cars that roll off the production lines at the Daimler plants worldwide are branded Mercedes-Benz. However, few people know that until about ten years ago, cars were manufactured that were called Daimler but that otherwise had nothing to do with Daimler AG. This curious fact had its origins in the early days of the automotive age.

Sometimes people aren’t too concerned about the accuracy of car names. This is especially true in the Stuttgart region. While A-Class, E-Class, and S-Class vehicles are normally referred to as being from Mercedes-Benz — one of the world’s most valuable brands — over almost the entire world, people in the Stuttgart Region would often use the word “Daimler” to refer not only to the mother company as such, but also to one of its vehicles. For example, a typical Swabian sentence might be: “Hosch dir en neia Daimler kauft?” (“Have you bought yourself a new Daimler?”). Anyone who’s familiar with the local customs will immediately recognize that the person asking this question is also congratulating the buyer of the new star-brand car in downright ecstatic terms – after all, Swabians are not best-known for their rampant enthusiasm. Leaving that aside, it is also that the use of the word “Daimler” to refer to the brand isn’t quite correct. But it seems that the average person in Stuttgart finds it easier to speak the name of the automotive pioneer Gottlieb Daimler, whose workshop was in Cannstatt (which today is a district of Stuttgart), than that of Mercedes Jellinek, who was from Vienna, or even of Carl Benz, who came from Baden.

However, there are several thousand cars that officially bear the last name of the inventor from Stuttgart as their marque. Most of these vehicles are now owned by collectors. They were produced by the Daimler Motor Company, which is based in Coventry, England. Founded by Harry Lawson in 1896, this company bought the rights of use of the Daimler patents and the name in the UK and the British Empire from Frederick Richard Simms, who had purchased them in 1895. The company was acquired by Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Co. Ltd. in 1910 and by Jaguar Cars Ltd. in 1960. As a consequence, for almost half a century, the top-of-the-line models from the British automaker didn’t have the iconic jaguar symbol on their radiator grilles, but a wavy letter “D” for Daimler.

Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
Did you know that British automaker Jaguar used to sell its top-of-the-line models under the “Daimler” brand for decades? This goes back to the 19th century, when a British businessman bought the right to use the Daimler patents. (Pictures: © Jaguar Germany)
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In 2009 Jaguar ceased to produce these cars. The final model was the Daimler Super Eight, which was a long version of the Jaguar X350. One of the approximately 850 units of this model series is also said to have served as the private car of Queen Elizabeth II. But for more than ten years now, the Queen’s subjects have to do what the people in and around Stuttgart have always done: Anyone who wants to drive a “Daimler” has to go to a Mercedes-Benz dealership. And probably learn Swabian before.

In this column we present interesting, odd, or generally unknown facts from the world of Daimler. We publish a new story in the series of “100 things you should know about Daimler” regularly here on Daimler Magazine.

Sven Sattler

did not only study English Language & Literature, but also feels very comfortable driving on British roads – he has driven more than 2,000 miles without an accident at the wheel of right-hand drive vehicles in left-hand traffic.

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