A Mercedes rules the street with its power. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany emulates the power and amplifies the advancement. When traveling in the Stuttgart area, spend the day at the shrine to design.
Stuttgart is Germany’s transportation capital, hosting the headquarters of Daimler, Porsche, and Maybach. The prototype for the Volkswagen Beetle was worked here. Stuttgart pioneered the light rail, or trams, in Germany.
A local genius, Karl Benz, invented the first petro-powered car. Benz co-owned an iron foundry. He began tinkering with motors for extra income. His 1879 patent for a two-stroke engine led to the creation of Benz and Company. Benz toyed with the idea of combining petro-powered engines and vehicles. In 1883, he received the patent for the gas-fueled automobile. Benz and Company launched a car line and never looked back.
Across town, Gottlieb Daimler and his partner, Wilhelm Maybach, were creating a number of firsts including a fast petro-engine; a four-wheel automobile; and a petrol-powered motorcycle. In 1890, Daimler and Maybach formed Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. After years of success, Daimler grew sick and died at age 62. Maybach left to start his own company. DMG management approached Karl Benz, and the two companies merged as Daimler-Benz, the present Daimler AG. The Mercedes-Benz Museum tells their story.
The eight-story museum seems sculptured by Thor in circular steel, concrete, and glass. The shape of each floor is the Mercedes S Class three-point star symbol, displaying a bit of past, present, and future. For example, the second floor is about historic and current Mercedes trucks. Other levels focus on Mercedes-Benz legends; celebrity cars; sustainability technology; and future visions.
Racing is the company’s soul and the seventh floor is the best time. From the earliest starting point, Daimler understood the importance of Grand Prix’s and other street racing to their development and building the brand. Racing played a key role in hauling Mercedes out of the wreckage of the Second World War. As a vehicle-producer for the German armed force, allied bombers pulverized Daimler and Stuttgart. Auto racing emerged as a significant post-war sport. Mercedes-Benz presence and victories accelerated sales from around the globe.
Stuttgart is an excellent stop on a German itinerary with other museums and some great castles, like the spectacular Schloss Hohenzollern. The centerpiece is the Mercedes-Benz Museum. After a visit, you will give more respect to the Mercedes that just blew your doors off on the expressway. Racing is in its DNA.
Imprint Weber is an international business professor in Rochester, NY, who traveled the world on behalf of the Eastman Kodak Company and Heidelberger Druckmachinen, especially Germany. Weber brings a unique perspective on the customs, attractions, transportation options, language, and food.