The Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster pays homage to the very first car ever built, the Benz Patent Motor Car, but adds joystick control, a fiberglass body and hydrogen-electric fuel-cell power.

The car is purported to contain all of Mercedes top-shelf technologies and boasts a carbon fiber and fiberglass body structure, a compact 1.2 kW fuel cell for power generation and a top speed of 25 km/h. The car also does away with silly inventions like the steering wheel and goes back to a joystick for control, which is like an updated version of the tiller found on the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car. Oh yeah, there's also the big, silly spoked bicycle wheels.

We can't help but actually like the shape and compactness of the car. Put some real wheels and tires on it and a high strung four cylinder in the back and we'd take it over a McLaren SLR Stirling Moss. Press release below:

Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster - trainees build a car of the future

* Young people unite high tech and tradition

* Alternative drive systems as a training topic

In a hitherto unique project bridging various fields of profession, the trainees of Daimler AG at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant have built a Roadster with fuel cell drive. For about a year, more than 150 trainees and dual education system students worked on the overall concept, development, assembly, and completion of the F-CELL Roadster. This project involved junior employees from the fields of automotive mechatronics, model-building, electronics, coating technology, manufacturing mechanics, product design, and interior appointments. The prime objective of the project was to integrate the topic of alternative drive systems into training with hands-on experience.

"This project impressively demonstrates that the topic of sustainable mobility has become an integral part of our vocational training," said Human Resources Board member and Labor Relations Manager Günther Fleig. "I am delighted to see how much initiative and creativity the young people have put into this project."

Tradition meets the future

The F-CELL Roadster uniquely combines state-of-the-art technologies with the history of vehicle construction. As an allusion to the Benz Patent Motor Car from 1886, the vehicle is fitted with large spoked wheels. Moreover, the F-CELL Roadster incorporates stylistic elements from diverse eras of automotive history, such as the carbon-fiber bucket seats with hand-stitched leather covers and the distinctively styled fiberglass front section, based on the component from the Formula One racing bolides.

The F-CELL Roadster is controlled with drive-by-wire technology, and a joystick takes the place of a conventional steering wheel. The vehicle is powered by the emission-free fuel cell system located at the rear. With a power rating of 1.2 kW the F-CELL Roadster reaches a top speed of 25 km/h and has an operating range of up to 350 km.