We were on a road trip last week and went to the only Mercedes Benz plant in the United States. Located in Tuskaloosa, Alabama, the plant produces the Class C vehicles including the high-performance AMG line and all their SUVs.
All the Class C cars are sold within the United States and over 72% of the SUVs are shipped overseas. The plant produced 300,000 cars last year and is currently being retooled for the fall production. Maximum production is 800 cars per day.
Some interesting facts about Mercedes Benz are:
- They produced the first motorized car.
- They also designed and built the first motorcycle – from wood.
- When they first exported cars to the U.S. they contracted with Steinway Piano ships to bring their cars to America.
Naturally we took lots of pictures and want to share them with you as well.
You'll notice that the steering wheel on some of the early models is on the right even though the car was for the U.S. market. According to Mercedes, the hand operated brake handle needed to be available to the stronger right hand. The placement of the steering wheel on was not standardized until the 1920s.
The hood ornament in the early cars sits on top of the radiator cap. Notice the temperature gage between them in a glass tube. It works like a thermometer and could be filled with mercury or alcohol with red dye in it.
Cars destined for the U.S. market were identified by the “American Mercedes” emblem.
The Mercedes Visitor Center just received this car that is believed to date to 1904. The model is unidentified at this point.
A step away from the historical Mercedes cars is the Vision Tokyo concept car. It is designed for Generation Z, the people born after 1994.
Our interest in cars begins with their history and runs through the recent visionary concept vehicles. Taking some time to visit at the Mercedes Plant played right into our plan – checking out the history along with the look at the Vision Tokyo car.
We’re back in the Garage this week and invite you to stop by to check out our construction. As always, we have that cup of coffee for you.
Kathryn and Sybren
We can fix anything. We just happen to fix cars.
Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46
Adolf Hoepfl Garage
4610 N. Shepherd
Houston, TX 77018