Motoring

A birthday bonanza for Daimler

Daimler certainly has cause to celebrate these historical milestones: • 125 years of its first truck • 75 years of the Unimog • 70 years of the Setra • 25 years of the Actros.

In 1896, Gottlieb Daimler presented the first truck. In 1946, the Unimog prototype saw the light. In 1951, Otto Kässbohrer followed with the Setra, a bus. And in 1996, a prototype Actros arrived.

Michael Dietz, CEO of Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA), said, “It is such an honour and privilege to commemorate these key milestones and to be a part of this strong heritage. What makes these remarkable accomplishments special is remembering where it all started, and who has been with us throughout this journey. Our esteemed customers, who have placed their trust in our products, our employees across all sections who remained committed in making sure that we have the right products for our customers, and lastly our dealer partners for serving our customers diligently. As DTBSA, our ambition is to remain the truck and bus brand our customers want to associate with.”

The first truck – 1896
It was fitted with a two-cylinder engine producing four horsepower. A leaf spring chassis had to cater for bad roads and engine vibrations.

First test drive on 9 October 1946. Chief designer Heinrich Rößler at the wheel and Hans Zabel, who gave the Unimog its name, on the right.

The first Unimog prototype – 1946
Fully loaded with wood and without a cab, it was introduced by the chief designer, Heinrich Rößler.
“In 1945 and 1946, there was a dire lack of food. It was this situation that gave Albert Friedrich, who for many years was head of aircraft engine development at Daimler-Benz AG, the idea of an agricultural motorised vehicle that could help to increase agricultural productivity.”
Rößler introduced a new design – a new torque tube that, believe it or not, is still employed in the U 4023/U 5023 series.

Setra S 8 (1951), Setra.

The first Setra bus – 1951
Setra stands for “self-supporting”. “Over the last 70 years, the brand has not only set standards for European bus design with six model series, but has inspired, changed and advanced this sector in an exemplary fashion. The current flagship of this traditional brand, which has always stood for the highest degree of individuality, is the S 531 DT, a double-decker bus from the Setra TopClass 500 range.”

Mercedes-Benz Actros – 1996
Actros was the first truck to be fitted with disk brakes and the electronic brake system (EBS).
Spacious and safer cabs has resulted in many trucks of the year awards for Mercedes.

“As we adapt to these evolutions, we remain resolute and committed to continue to provide our customers with reliable, fuel-efficient and safe vehicles to address their demanding business needs,” concluded Maretha Gerber, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

Source: MotorPress 

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