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According to historian Richard Hough, "Any history of the sports car must begin with the 60 hp Mércèdes of 1903. In the 60 hp model, described at the time as a fast touring car, Wilhelm Maybach and Paul Daimler combined in remarkably successful form a number of features which were to be slavishly imitated, first in Europe and later in America, for almost forty years. These included a pressed-steel chassis, a 4-speed gate change, honeycomb radiator, push-rod-operated overhead inlet valves, low-tension magneto ignition and a remarkably successful suspension arrangement. They were integrated with success to provide a safe and well-balanced machine with a higher performance than any other contemporary production car. The 60 hp Mércèdes looked right from the start and caused a great impression wherever it appeared. " When the specially built 90 hp racing car for the 1903 Gordon Bennett race was destroyed in a fire, a production 60 hp was famously substituted and driven to victory by Belgian Camille Jenatzy.

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