First Mercedes-Benz crash test on 10 September 1959 (W 111)

75 years of protection for occupants and other road users from Mercedes-Benz

Stuttgart/Böblingen.  An important chapter in the history of vehicle safety began 75 years ago when Béla Barényi joined the then Daimler-Benz AG, as the company was called then. To mark this anniversary, past and present members of the Mercedes-Benz safety development team, representing different eras of vehicle safety, met in the ‘Legendenhalle’ (Hall of Legends) in Böblingen.

Safety engineering at Mercedes-Benz, first Mercedes-Benz crash test on 10 September 1959. It was the first car in the world with a shape-stable occupant cell and crumple zones at the front and rear.

Safety engineering at Mercedes-Benz, first Mercedes-Benz crash test on 10 September 1959. It was the first car in the world with a shape-stable occupant cell and crumple zones at the front and rear.

“Pretty well everything,” responded the young engineer Béla Barényi boldly, when asked at his job interview what aspects of the current Mercedes-Benz vehicle range he would improve. Wilhelm Haspel, at that time a deputy board member of Daimler-Benz AG, was won over by the unconventional thinking of the 32-year-old Austrian and took him on, at the recommendation of the then head of testing in the bodyshell development area, Karl Wilfert. On 1 August 1939 Barényi took charge of the newly established safety development department.

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