The Mercedes-Benz brand and its predecessors have always been synonymous for out-of-the-ordinary automobiles which underline their owners’ demanding personalities. In the early days and well into the 1920s, only the very well-to-do were able to afford cars. Before the beginning of the 20th century, so-called Gentlemen Drivers were predominantly seen at the wheels of automobiles, rich motoring enthusiasts who used their cars for racing. Those who didn’t drive themselves – a more common case from the turn of the century – had their own chauffeurs in much the same way as they had their own gardeners, cooks and butlers.
The automobile therefore quickly became a status symbol and remained the prerogative of the rich, powerful and beautiful in Europe for a long time. It served the purpose of representation and had to meet the most exacting demands on performance, reliability, comfort and attractiveness.