|Mercedes Simplex from 1902 to 1909|
|Manufacturer||Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft|
|Engine||5315 cc/9236 cc (1902 to 1909) in-line 4
41.7 hp at 1050 rpm (1902)
|Wheelbase||3,540 mm (139 in)|
|Curb weight||1250/1400 kg (1902–1909)|
The Mercedes Simplex was an automobile produced from 1902 to 1909 by the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG, Daimler Motor Society, a predecessor of Daimler-Benz and Daimler-Chrysler). It continued the use of the Mercedes name as the brand of DMG, rather than Daimler.
The Mercedes Simplex was designed by Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart, Germany. It featured powerful engines whose power ranged from 40 to 60 hp. Its large and wide body had a low center of gravity. A highlight of the simplex family was the model 60 hp. With this car Mercedes laid the foundation of a new car segment, the super-luxury class with an imposing touring Saloon body, it was unlike anything else at the time and quickly established itself well with royalty and aristocrats Its immense size and luxuries were to set the milestones for the development of this segment, which was continued on by numerous models over the next 70 odd years, including the 630, 770 Grand, 300 Adenauer and terminating in 1981 with the demise of the 600 Grand. All these models occupied the absolute top segment in the automotive world along with brands such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Cadillac and other demised car manufacturers.
The car's predecessor, the Mercedes 35hp of 1901, had broken with the previous primitive automotive standards. Now, DMG and Maybach intended to improve this further by providing "comfort by means of simplicity", hence the name Simplex. A complementary explanation for the name is that, by the standards of 1901, the car was very simple to operate.
The creation of the previous model, the Mercedes 35hp, predecessor of the Simplex, was due to DMG's industrial might, the know-how of its industrial designer Wilhelm Maybach and Emil Jellinek's enthusiasm for motorsport. Jellinek was DMG's foreign agent based on the French Riviera where he was the Austro-Hungarian consul. That car had resulted in the company's early success.
1902 Mercedes Simplex Tourenwagen (Daimler)
Mercedes Simplex' framework was long, wide and with a low center of gravity, giving an improved stability at high speeds. The wheelbase was extended to 2.45 meters (8'1").
Its carefully designed frame was made of pressed steel. The engine was welded onto it directly, keeping it at a low height.
Other general modifications reduced the overall Simplex weight to 942 kg, assuring better results in racing.
The original 1902 wheels were wooden, with 12 non-removable spokes and pneumatic tires. Later, in 1905, the Mercedes Simplex pioneered cast-steel wheels.
The front and rear axles were modernized progressively, becoming equal in diameter around 1909:
- 1902: 910x90-1020x120. Rear 10% bigger.
- 1909: 915x105-935x135. Roughly equalized.
Attached to these were the two powerful brake systems, one hand-operated and the other by foot:
- the main hand brake acted on the rear wheels, with drum brakes
- the secondary foot brake acted on the chain drive's intermediate driveshaft
Both systems were water-cooled by a sprinkling system over hot zones when braking.
Both axles were rigid, featuring semi-elliptic springs. The steering-axles were located at the extremes, decreasing the transmission of road shocks to the driver's hands.
The Mercedes Simplex' engine was mounted over the front axle. The engine's power was taken from a sprocket flywheel, 60 cm in diameter, transmitting it to the rear drive by a long roller chain.
The gate gear manual gearbox featured four speeds and reverse, controlling a coil spring clutch acting on the flywheel system. A lever produced both declutching and deceleration together.
The engine produced 44 hp at 1300 rpm.
Its four cylinders featured:
- water cooling
- lubrication by driver-controlled pressure
- 120 mm bore and 150 mm stroke
- valves mechanically timed by enclosed camshaft mechanically
- engine displacement of 6786 cc
It used magneto electric-spark ignition system, with single spray-nozzle carburetor, for all cylinders; featuring a new atomization system, improved by preheating.
The engine was started up by a hand crank and helped by the use of a decompressor.
Maybach's tubular honeycomb radiator featured a rectangular grill of 8,070 square shaped pipes of 6x6 mm, with improved airflow.
Originally, when launched in 1902, the Mercedes Simplex radiator's did not have a fan. A set of vanes mounted on the flywheel increased the air-flow throughout the engine/radiator's compartment. Its total water capacity, 7 litres, was smaller than the previous Mercedes model by 2 litres.
The engine compartment was covered by metal sheets. Its chassis base was also covered, something imitated by many other car models later.