1886 Benz

Benz in motion 2003
Benz in motion 2003
A replica of the first ever Automobile as built by Carl Benz of Manheim Germany, an engineer/inventor working in the new field of internal combustion engines.
After years of struggle gaining skills and experience while supporting his widowed mother and family, in 1885 the by then 40 year old Benz opened his own workshop and developed this three wheeler. The first drive around the yard ended in a crash!

Granted patent number 37,435 on Jan 29 1886,
the "Benz Patent Motorwagen"
is recognised today as the first ever automobile.

Karl Benz, around 1870
Karl Benz, around 1870
Benz just pipped Gottlieb Daimler from Cannstatt (only 90km away) for this honour. They were unaware of each other's work until later, and never met- although their businesses eventually joined to become today's Mercedes Benz.

In addition to Benz and Daimler, many other internal combustion engine "firsts" occurred in South Germany (the 19th cent. Silicon Valley of engineering) during this 1850 to 1900 period,- including; the first successful i.c. engines (Otto and Langen), the carburettor (Maybach), and compression ignition engines (Diesel).

Benz with Bill Datlen 2003
Benz with Bill Datlen 2003
The Benz Patent Motorwagen has a spark ignition (battery and Ruhmkorff coil) 954cc single cylinder vertical shaft engine giving 0.75 hp at 400rpm for 15km/hr on the road. Pre-dating the modern carburettor, vapour is drawn from the airspace above petrol (benzine, no relation) in a tank. For mixture control, the driver adjusts the amount of air entering a bypass directly to the engine inlet pipe.



Benz Patent Motorwagen
Benz Patent Motorwagen
Starting, by pulling on the flywheel, is generally easy- in warm weather anyway. Drive is engaged by shifting the flat belt onto the differential pulley from the adjacent freewheeler. Full-off on the drive lever operates a shaft brake. Driving is practicable and economical. Slopes of more than a few degrees are a challenge though and cornering stability can be marginal, even at just 15km/hr.

Benz, Peter at 105 Image by Eric B, May 2005
Benz, Peter at 105
Image by Eric B, May 2005
Benz and other famous names don't deserve all the credit for the birth of motoring however. In 1888, frustrated at Carl's reluctance to promote his invention, Mrs Benz and their two teenage sons "stole" one of the cars for a 140km round trip to Pforzheim while he was away,- conclusively proving the automobile's practicality.



Owner/Builder: Brian Black, 24 Palatine Place, St Martins, Christchurch.
Thanks to; Mercedes Benz for original drawings and permission to make this replica.

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