Most car enthusiasts do not realize that an American Mercedes automobile was manufactured by the Daimler Manufacturing Company in Astoria, Queens from 1905 to 1907.
The complex story of the Amercian Mercedes was written by Michael Salemi and published in the current edition of The Star, the national magazine of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America. I am pleased that Michael Salemi and Gary Anderson, the editor of The Star, have provided VanderbiltCupRaces.com a pdf of the article "The American Mercedes: The nearly forgotten story of the Mercedes from Long Island". Please note the material is copyrighted by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America (www.mbca.org), and reprinted with their written permission.
Here are a few highlights and images from the article from The Star, which is usually available only to MBCA members:
"The relationship of components to one another was established by this time, with the radiator in front of the forward-mounted engine, and the transmission behind it. The Mercedes was still chain-driven to the rear wheels, but this system would be replaced by a single driveshaft in 1908. The driver was mounted in front of the passengers with a steering wheel connected to the front wheels, with all controls within reach."
From 1905 to 1907 fewer than 100 American Mercedes were produced in Astoria, Queens. The cost of the car in 1905 was $7,500 equivalent to $175,000 today. All parts were interchangeable with the German Mercedes.
"The structure consisted of a body mounted on a lengthwise frame, a structure still used on many vehicles today. Leaf springs were installed between the frame and the wheels to cushion the ride, though shock absorbers were still very rudimentary, consisting of counter springs. The car even had a trunk, or basket, for cargo. The major differences between the American Mercedes and the German-built original reflected American road conditions, requiring a longer wheelbase and an additional two inches of clearance."
Thank you Michael and Gary for sharing this excellent article on a rarely known piece of Long Island automobile history.
Monday, January 17, 2011 Update: From Walter McCarthy: Here is that same American Mercedes pictured in the article on your site at a Long Island Old Car Club meet in 1947. At the time here in America it was owned by Mike Bonsera a club member. As can be seen in these two photos that wheels were cut down as they were on many cars back then as many tire sizes were unavailable. It is good to see that the museum in Germany finally gave the car a proper restoration as they had it for a number of years with the wheels still cut down.