Day 17 of 18…
Ah, Germany. Mecca for performance cars. Hello, my name is Joaquin. I am ten years old, and I am the writer of this blog. I’m here to tell you all about one of my most favourite days of our trip.
What I am going to start with is that my mum cannot be trusted around cars. She had owned a BMW for three years and she didn’t even use the sports mode. She’s been driving a Volkswagen for three years now and I am not exaggerating when I say that she has no idea what model it was!
However, I come in now. So relax and enjoy reading…
We took a train from Munich to Stuttgart. Stuttgart is home to cool cars and great automotive Museums. We were visiting Mercedes-Benz Museum in the morning and Porsche Museum in the afternoon. Me on the train was a wild house. I was too excited to stay put.
What better way to arrive at the Mercedes-Benz Museum than in a Mercedes-Benz car, in our case, cab?
When we got there, my mum could tell that I was very excited. Hey it’s a dream come true! When we got inside the building, we were greeted by a few concept cars. Ooh yeah!
We soon met up with Damien, an employee of the museum and our expert tour guide. My mum wanted me to say that she had to book the tour months in advance because the tours are limited per day.
Damien gave us an overview of the museum and then a lesson on the automobile history. He said that it was first invented in 1886, separately by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. I heard the name Wilhelm Maybach as well.
The photo below is of a replica of the first ever car to have an engine. It was the Benz Patent Motor Car. It has one cylinder with a top speed of…. 9 mph (yes that slow). Carl Benz designed it in 1886.
Now this one is a Daimler Motorized Carriage. Daimler and Maybach installed the engine for this. The car had a small high speed engine with a top speed of 11mph.
Ah, this is the Benz Motor Velocipede. Maybe it’s called that weird name because of its weird shape. This was the first large-scale production car. Benz sold 1200 units of this between 1894 to 1901. Top speed? 20mph. Argh, still very slow.
Do you know how Benz got its famous brand name, Mercedes? Well, this one is a shocker: It’s a lady’s name! Benz got it from the daughter of a good client named Emil Jellinek. Jellinek was a racer and whenever he did, he would ‘name’ his racing car -Mercedes. Benz took on the name to become a product name at the end of 1900. It was first used to designate a 35 HP Mercedes model, a car made for Mr Jellink in 1901. So now we all know the legend behind the name.
The car below (40PS Mercedes-Simplex), I should mention, is the oldest Mercedes still in existence. It was designed by Maybach.
After the WWI, Mercedes started to manufacture cars with diesel and supercharger engines. Take for example the car below, it is a 27/170/225 PS Mercedes-Benz model SSK sports two-seater (it has a really long name). It has an even bigger engine that has more cylinders and a faster 119 mph top speed. Sadly however, it was a limited edition car with only 35 units built and sold.
This elegant, expensive red roadster was built for ‘the rich and the beautiful’. The car was a good 28000 Reichsmark (about 98000 euros), so it was the most expensive car during the 1930s. The top speed was 100mph and it had an engine with 8 cylinders! Since the car was built for elegance, it was a great showpiece.
The first car to have a diesel engine was this black Mercedes-Benz 770 Grand Mercedes open tourer. It also had a supercharged engine. The top speed of this car is also around 100mph with an 8 cylinder engine like the roadster above. I should also mention that this car is one of the widest cars in the world, so it might have a bit of a problem when getting round tight corners!
After the WWII, Mercedes focused on appearance and the diversity (mum allowed me to use this word and I satisfactorily managed to explain to her the meaning of it) of models. This specific Mercedes-Benz 300 S convertible A has the engine of a normal and modest car but when you come out of the car, it turns into a car that can break the head-turn o-meter.
Now this is a car that could possibly be the coolest one in the museum. It was the inspiration for the SLS. It was the fastest car of its time… The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé! This specific model was built between 1954-1957. Only few are remaining and the selling price of this car is through the roof. It was also a futuristic car with a top speed of 162mph! This car is fast even by today’s supercar standards!
In the 60s and 70s, Mercedes started to focus on safety as well as performance. This was the time when anti-lock braking systems were developed. This 1963 Pagoda 230 SL, was the first car in the world to have a crumple zone (for those who do not know, like my mum, a crumple zone is the part of the car which crumples during collision, it is supposed to absorb the impact of a collision so as to have less impact on the driver) and a sturdy passenger cell.
The Mercedes racing history goes back a long way to the start of 1894, when Mercedes was racing Daimler Phoenix racing cars. As time went along, Mercedes started to race in Le Mans. However, it was not easy because the other German carmakers BMW and Porsche produced the V12 LMR and the 917 Le mans racers, so they were tough competition.
On one of the floors, Mercedes had a collection of celebrities’ cars.
The black 600 Pullman state limousine below was specifically made for visiting kings, queens, presidents and chancellors. Only 2 of this were produced. Queen Elizabeth used one when she visited Germany in 1965. This car was armour-plated.
The cars below ‘Queen Elizabeth’s car’, the 500 SL and the 77-0 Grand Popemobile, are also very cool. The red 500 SL was acquired and driven by Lady Diana in 1991 but because she was criticised for driving a foreign car, she had to return the car in 1992.
The 770 Grand Popemobile was made for Pope John Paul II when he visited Germany in 1980. Two of these were produced and were even flown to the US when the Pope visited there in 1987. Pope Benedict had a similar Popemobile using a modified M-Class.
This next really-cool car was for the Emperor of Japan, made in 1935. This car also has steel armour plating and special glazing, as thick as a finger, for the side windows, the rear screen and the partition. Notice the gold Japanese Imperial Seal marked on each door.
Towards the end of the tour, Damien pulled me aside and gave me a whole lot of Mercedes lanyards. He said I could give them away to my friends back in Singapore.
I hoped that you enjoyed my blog!
I would like to say a special thanks to my mum and dad for bringing me to Stuttgart to see Mercedes and Porsche, and to Munich to see BMW.
The next blog is going to be about our visit in the Porsche museum and that is going to be written by my brother, Benjamin.
Adios amigos! Au revoir!
Me and my bro in front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum