The history of Mercedes-Benz reaches back to the dawn of the automotive era. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler were each in Germany, working independently to perfect the internal combustion engine and use it to propel a vehicle. In 1885, Benz became the first to build and patent a gas-powered vehicle, the three-wheeled Tri-Car. By 1900, both Benz and Daimler were selling automobiles in significant quantities. Daimler distributor Emil Jellinek named a new model for his daughter, Mercedes. In 1902, the low-slung Mercedes Simplex set a standard of performance with its 43-mph top speed. By 1911, the Blitzen (Lightning) Benz racer set a speed record of 141 mph. In 1926, the two companies merged to form Daimler-Benz, making cars under the Mercedes-Benz name. Technical Director Ferdinand Porsche developed two of the company's greatest cars - the supercharged SS and SSK - between 1928 and 1931. Before World War II, Mercedes became a dominant force in Grand Prix racing with a series of technologically advanced machines. From 1952 to 1955, Mercedes returned to racing with the Le Mans-winning 300 SL and the W196 Formula One car, which proved equally dominant. In 1989, Mercedes started supplying engines to race-car constructors Sauber and McLaren. The company partnered with McLaren to launch the 200-mph Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar in 2004. From the spindly, bicycle-based Tri-Car to today's SLR supercar, the history of Mercedes-Benz is the history of the car itself.

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