Emil Jellinek was a successful Austrian racing driver and auto dealer on the French Riviera who promised to buy a shipment of 36 cars for 550,000 goldmarks if a racing car were to be built according to his specifications and named after his 11–year–old daughter. The prototype won a string of victories in 1901.
Adrienne Manuela Ramona Jellinek was born September 16, 1889.
Emil called his daughter Mercédès, meaning “gifts” or “favors” or “mercy” in Spanish. He came to believe the name brought good fortune. One of his sons later wrote: “He was as superstious as the ancient Romans.”