Benz Patentmotorwagen

Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik, Mannheim1886

Deutsches Museum

Deutsches Museum

In 1886 the engineer Carl Benz (1844–1929) of Mannheim filed a patent application for a "vehicle operated by a gas engine". It was the first car with a gasoline engine. Benz, a cyclist, resorted to familiar components from the world of bicycle manufacturing to design his motorized tricycle. He purchased some parts directly from Adler, a renowned bicycle manufacturer. The design had the advantage of being light. At the heart of the car was the fast-running one-cylinder engine with a carburettor, which could be operated with the liquid fuel known as gasoline.
From today's standpoint Benz's Patentwagen represents the basic innovation behind an entire transport system. However, it met with very little public interest in 1886. To change that situation a market for cars first had to be established.
Initially it was motor sport enthusiasts who discovered the "self-propelled" vehicles. The Benz Motorwagen initially enjoyed its greatest success in France, which became the trendsetter for Europe's motoring community in the 1890s through marketing and sport. However, there was at least one local publicity tour, when Berta Benz headed off on the first "overland journey" by car in 1888, driving her two sons from Mannheim to Pforzheim.
Technical specifications:
Engine: one-cylinder four-stroke engine
Engine displacement: 984 ccm
Power: 0.66 kW (0.88 HP)
Maximum speed: 12 km/h
Weight: 265 kg
Fuel consumption: approx. 10 l / 100 km

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  • Title: Benz Patentmotorwagen
  • Creator: Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik, Mannheim
  • Date: 1886
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