Two milestones in the history of Mercedes-Benz were achieved at the ‘Nice Week’ racing event, which ran from 25 to 29 March 1901 (120 years ago). First up was the victory by the Mercedes 35hp made by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) while the second highlight was the birth of the Mercedes brand name – Emil Jellinek, at that time the most important dealer for Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG), named the high-performance car he commissioned after his daughter Mercédès.
On 23 June 1902, DMG applied to trademark the brand name Mercedes and on 26 September the paperwork was completed, and the name was registered and legally protected. In 1909, DMG registered the three-pointed Mercedes star with the Imperial Patent Office. The merger of DMG with Benz & Cie. in 1926 to form what was then Daimler-Benz AG resulted in the new Mercedes-Benz brand.
Nice Week, a major motorsport event 120 years ago, included a series of races and the 35hp shone in a number of these.
On 25 March, Wilhelm Werner scooped the Nice-Salon-Nice endurance race win, completing the 392 kilometres at an average speed of 58.1km/h. This went down in history as the first ever racing victory by a Mercedes car.
Four days later he was back behind the wheel, this time competing in the Nice-La Turbie hill climb. He won in the two-seater racing car class in the Mercedes 35hp owned by Henri de Rothschild in record time at an average speed of 51.4km/h. Second place saw another Merc 35hp of Albert ‘Georges’ Lemaître and the category for six-seater cars was won by Thorn at an average speed of 42.7km/h, also in a Mercedes 35hp.
28 March saw another 35hp milestone when Claude Lorraine-Barrow set a new world record for a standing start mile, averaging 79.7km/h.