Mercedes Benz, A European Travel Guide


This page is for those interested in European travel, specifically to places connected with the history of Mercedes Benz vehicles, specifically the lives of Gottlieb Damiler, Wilhelm Maybach, Ferdinand Porsche, Carl Benz and others so critical to the creation of a famous marque. Locations, mostly cities and towns, will be added periodically, starting with Germany. This is an on-going, perpetual project and will be edited periodically. Sites listed should not be construed as complete or the only sites of importance.

My recently completed a CD travel guide, 20 years in the writing, is now available for $15 plus shipping. With over 300 pages, extensive indexes, and 650 photographs, this is an exhaustive, on-going work covering European places important to the automobile from the 18th century Cugnot vehicle to today's VW built Bugatti.
This work emphasizes those who designed, built and drove automobiles. Covered are factories, both for cars and car parts, from Hella headlights to Connolly leather and Varta batteries. Most marques are included, be it Selva, Hitler's first car, or more famous and still vibrant makes like Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche. But this book is less about cars than it is about those who built them - their birthplaces, places of work, graves and homes. Famous and scenic roads, including the one used by the first Porsche car, are covered, as are race tracks and over 280 museums. While a book form is in the planning stage, arrangements for the cd may be made by emailing me at dburnside@attbi.com or burnsided@yahoo.com

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Site started: 16 December, 1998 Update: 16 December, 2002

Austria

Baden   15 km S of Vienna. Baden remains famous for its sulfur springs, a meeting place for high society from Vienna 100 years ago.  While the city today caters more to the middle class, it remains a plush spa with casino.

 

 

  Villa Mercedes In 1881, Emil Jellinek, son of a Leipzig rabbi and eventual financier of early Daimler cars, left Tetuan, North Africa to take over a French insurance company office in Vienna. Jellinek had grown wealthy dealing with North African imports, mostly tobacco which is grown along the Algerian coast, and had also met his wife, nee Rachel Goggman, in Oran, Africa where she was born on 29 April, 1854. Rachel gave birth to Mercédès Adrienne Manuela Romana in Baden (or Vienna, according to Guy Jellinek) on 16 September, 1889. Jellinek named his villa, which was on Wienerstrasse near some vineyards, after Mercedes and, as Austrian consul to France, bought another villa in Nice where he often wintered. Around 1909, Jellinek enlarged the villa so that it had 50 rooms, 8 bathrooms and 23 toilettes by the time the Russians showed up in 1945.

Jellinek, shown above at Villa Mercedes, became even wealthier after buying some Alpine Montan AG stocks ( which Camillo Castiglioni, who owned BMW, would acquire in 1921) which took off, allowing a new wing to be added to Villa Mercedes. Rachel Jellinek, who once threw her husband across the room, died of cancer in 1893, the same year Emil’s father died. His mother, Rosalie, died in Baden on 2 August, 1892. Emil had three children from his first marriage: Adolf, Fernand (both born in Algiers) and Mercedes; four from his second: Didier (1900-1984), Guy, René and Andrée (Maja). His second wife was Anais Engler, whom he married in 1899. In 1914, when Austria attempted to make their citizen Jellinek pay taxes for properties in Paris and Nice, Jellinek decided to move. "I shall transfer the villa to my children...Baden, which bores me terribly, where I cannot sleep and which is detrimental to my health! I shall send my family to the Semmering or to Ischl. And I shall go from Nice to the sanatorium of Dr. von dapper in Kissingen." While Emil stayed in Bad Kissingen, his family headed for the Semmering, returning after Austro-Hungary declared war on 28 July, 1914 after which they dared not speak French outside the house. Jellinek and the family went to Meran in late 1914, then to Geneva where they stayed until Emil died in 1918. Anais Jellinek was given a Czech passport as the French courts ruled on her nationality after the Austro-Hungarian empire was broken up. Mercedes Jellinek lived in Vienna much of her life, marrying there twice, in 1909 and 1914. Mercedes Weigl (Jellinek) died in Vienna on 23 February, 1929 and lies in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof. Emile and Rachel Jellinek are buried in Nice, France while Anaise Jellinek, Emil’s second wife died in Neully, France in 1941. After the Russians destroyed the villa in 1945, save for the garage and two apartments, the land was broken up and sold. A Mercedes garage and gas station was on part of the lot in the 1960s. In the 1990s, the garage wing of the villa was restored.

Germany

What fun we had teasing the big American cars. We kept right behind them until they tried to lose us. Those Americans are junk compared with the Mercedes. Their motor couldn't take it; after a while it would overheat, and they'd have to pull over to the side ff the road, looking glum. Served them right." Adolf Hitler

Germany, birthplace of the motor car, though there are some who would argue for Vienna, Austria, offers the world's finest roads, a testimony to the importance of the automobile in today's society, for better or worse. Did Mercedes, or Detriot's inability or disinterest in competing with Mercedes, give Hitler the courage to engage in world war? While Hitler's first two cars were Selves, his first armored cars were probably three Mercedes type 540KW24 prototype touring cars delivered in 1935. He also used a Grosser of 7.7 liters. The photo above shows Hitler and his Mercedes on an election trip in Germany ca. 1934.

For travel where speed was not required, as in his triumphal return to Austria in 1938, Hitler used a Mercedes type 520G4W31 or 131, the three axle armored cars being built between 1934 and 1939. The W31 had a 5 liter eight cylinder engine; the W131 a 5.252 liter eight of 113 hp.

On 15 April, 1939, in time for Hitler's 50th birthday, Daimler Benz delivered a fully armored type 770KW150II with a 7.7 liter 394 hp eight supercharged engine good to 112 mph.

Aachen    Auto Collection Gut-Hand   Handerweg 71. 350 year old farm with such cars as a 1936 Horch, 1935 Daimler, 1926 Protos and 1933 Rohr.

   Kurhaus    Herbert von Karajan, conductor of Berlin's Philharmonic Orchestra until his death in 1989, debuted at Aachen's Kurhaus, also the site of a battle between US 1st Division and SS troops in 1944. Karajan enjoyed fast planes, boats and cars, including those from Daimler Benz.

Affalterbach    4 km NE of Ludwigsburg, NW of Stuttgart. Home of AMG, modifier of Mercedes Benz cars. Started in 1967 by Hans-Werner Aufrecht who is due to sell 51% interest to Daimler Benz in January, 1999. The firm, Mercedes-AMG GmbH, will remain in Affalterbach.

Aschaffenburg   40 km E of Frankfurt   Collection Rosso Bianco    Obernauer Straße 125, 4 km from Autobahn exit Aschaffenburg West. Museum of over 200 cars including the world's largest collection of Alfa Romeo race cars, the world's largest collection of MacLaren, Les and Zagato cars and the largest Ferrari collection in Europe. There are also Porsches, a 1950 Daimler Special Sports, 1956 Mercedes 300 SL and 1955 300 SLS, a 1929 Bugatti type 43 and a 1938 Lancia Astura MM built for Mussolini's son. Open year round except Mondays, 10 to 6. Entrance fee: 10 DM. The photo below is the front hood intake of a 1955 Mercedes 300 SLS.

Augsburg   Rumpler - Werken AG    Edmund Rumpler, a Jew born in Vienna on 4 January, 1872, studied machine construction at the Technical College in Vienna (1890-95) then worked in auto construction, first at Nesselsdorf (Bohemia, 1897) then at Adler in Frankfurt (1904) until 1906 when he opened an engineering office in Berlin (1906) and became involved in aircraft contruction in 1908. In 1910 he built Igo Etrich’s Taube under liscense as the Rumpler-Taube, a bat-winged monoplane. During WWI, he built aircraft in Augsburg. In 1921, he built the first streamlined automobiel the Rumpler Tropfenauto (Teardrop Car) which led to the 100 mph Benz Grand Prix Tropfenrennwagen (RH Benz - RH for Rennwagen Heckmotor - see photo below) which finished 4th at the 1923 Grand Priz at Monza. Inflation wiped out his company by 1926 and he died on 7 September, 1940 at Neu Tollow, whereever that is. Rumpler's factory may have have actually been in Gablingen, a village just north of Augsburg - I am still trying to nail that down.

   Springergasschen    E of Cathedral. Rudolf Diesel, born Paris on March 18, 1858, lived on Springergasschen while building his Diesel engine at Augsburg's M.A.N. factory. Financed by M.A.N. and Krupp, Diesel survived his invention when it exploded into life in 1892. Five years later, Krupp built the first production diesel motor in Essen. A model of the motor is displayed in Munich's Deutschen Museum. Though Diesel grew wealthy from his invention, he drowned (probable suicide) in the English Channel on 29 September, 1913.

During WW II, Daimler Benz used Diesel's fuel injection idea to develop a 1050 HP DB 601 aircraft motor at Unterturkheim. The DB 601 was used on early Messerschmitt and Heinkel aircraft.

Göppingen    In 261 AD, Alamannia tribes forced Roman troops out of this site 50 km east of Stuttgart. They named Göppingen after their chief, Geppo. Göppingen received moderate bomb damage in March, 1945 before surrendering to US troops on 20 April, 1945.

Robert Bosch worked at Schaeffer's in Göppingen in 1883, producing dynamos, arc lamps and magnets, then went to study in the US.

   Böhringer Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH    Stuttgarter Straße 50. Albert Friedrich, director of aviation motor development at Daimler-Benz, designed the UNIMOG at Erhard & Sons in Schwäbish Gmünd before moving production to this factory in the fall of 1946. Started in 1844, Böhringer manufactured tools but was unable to continue that line after WW II due to Allied restrictions. Böhringer received early UNIMOG contracts though Daimler’s Dr. Haspel, a friend of BMW’s Popp, considered going to Allach or Milbertshofen just after WW II when BMW was producing little.

After producing 600 U-25 UNIMOGs in 1949 and 1950, Böhringer returned to tooling and Daimler Benz moved UNIMOG production to their heavy truck factory at Gaggenau. Böhringer has been part of Industrie Werke Karlsruhe Augsburg (IWKA, once owned by Günther Quandt) since 1987. The Böhringer-Group has its headquarters in Göppingen with manufacturing facilities in Germany and Switzerland.

   Cooke Barracks    During WW II, Cooke barracks and airfield was used to train Luftwaffe pilots.

   Märklin Factory/Museum    Holzheimerstraße. Göppingen is the home of Märklin, manufacturers of high quality model trains, a favorite hobby of Hermann Göring. The Märklin museum displays the first HO set (1889), models, including Mercedes cars, and working train sets.

Ladenburg   10 km E of Mannheim.    Benz Factory    In Roman times, Ladenburg was the capital of this part of Germany, now dominated by Mannheim and Heidelberg. About 2000 years later, in 1906, Carl Benz left Mannheim where he had invented the automobile, and opened an auto parts design firm, C. Benz Sohne, in Ladenburg. C. Benz Sohne built a few cars, including four cylinder 10/22 PS and 14/42 PS models here. Benz retired in 1912, leaving the company to his sons, Eugen and Richard.

   Benz House/Museum    Dr.-Carl-Benz-Platz 2. Karl and Bertha Benz lived here after moving from Mannheim in 1906. Their Ladenburg house was much larger than the narrow row house where they invented the automobile in early 1886.

Carl Benz died here on 4 April, 1929, the year Mercedes Weigl (Jellinek) died in Vienna. Bertha Benz died at 95 on 4 May, 1944 and was laid to rest beside her husband in Ladenburg's cemetery.
There is a Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation, funded by Daimler Benz AG, at this address.

   Friedhof / Cemetery    Karl (or Carl) Benz are buried in this flat but well kept, as is usual in Germany, cemetery outside of the village. A rectangular stone with a bronze relief in front of an urn containing the ashes of Richard Benz is surrounded by a curved stone pergola. The inscription beneath the bronze reads:

Dr. Ing. h.c. KARL BENZ

GEB. 26. NOV. 1844
GES. 4. APRIL 1929

BERTHA BENZ
GEB. RINGER

GEB. 3. MAI. 1849
GES. 4. MAI 1944

Given that Karl and Bertha Benz invented the first automobile, at least one which would go into production, it seems strange and unfair that, in 1998, Daimler Benz AG would eliminate 'Benz' from its new name, DaimlerChrysler.

Wörth    Across the Rhine from Karlsruhe. Site of Daimler Benz (Mercedes) truck factory in 1998 when the plant built three models of heavy trucks: the Actros (16 - 40 tons), the Atego (7.5-27 tons) and the Atego heavy. Production was about 350 trucks a day in late 1998 with customers in Europe, the Near East (Russia , Turkey, Israel, Libanon, etc.) and Africa.

DB is also the marketleader in Europe with 26% sold trucks, and Daimler Chrysler owns two US truck manufacturers - Freightliner, which is marketleader in the US heavy truck market, and Sterling, formerly owned by Ford. Ryder, the American-based firm, has been employed to assist in material flow at the plant.
Daniel Gensheimer, who works at the factory, has a web site at Daniel Gensheimer's Home Page.

Links

German Auto Tours
Ferdinand Porsche's Europe
BMW, A Travel Guide
Mercedes Benz North America
DaimlerChrysler Web Site, with links to Daimler-Benz.com
UNIMOG Net Page
Mercedes Benz Club of America
Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim
Bay Area Mercedes Museum
Toad Hall Books
Virendra's Unofficial Mercedes-Benz Page
Unimog Club Gaggenau
Mecedes Owners Web Site

Copyright 1998 Dennis A. Burnside

dburnside@attbi.com
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