Records Set in Europe and at America's Bonneville Salt Flats
The Blitzen Benz was designed to surpass 200 km/h (125 mph), an astonishing speed at the time. The car was made as narrow as possible to minimize wind resistance. The tall, narrow radiator core stands behind a brass grille, whose upper end forms an expansive tank that gives the car its signature 'bird beak.'
Powered by a huge 21.5 liter (approximately 1300 cubic-inches) engine that produced 200 horsepower, the car immediately began setting speed records in Germany, Belgium, and at Brooklands in England. Fulfilling the design objectives, the flying-start one-kilometer record was set at 202.7 km/h.
The giant Benz was shipped to America for a promotional tour in 1910. Promoter Ernie Moross hired Barney Oldfield to drive the 'Lightning Benz,' later renamed 'Blitzen Benz,' and he set an unofficial record of 211.97 km/h. Former Buick works driver Bob Burman later set an official record of 228.1 km/h for the flying-start kilometer. A second Blitzen Benz raced against the first in 1912. In 1914, Teddy Tetzlaff set a record at Bonneville in the second car at 229.85 km/h.
After Burman's death in 1916, the original car was dismantled in Europe. The Blitzen Benz shown was assembled from original and recreated parts in 1935 to mark the 50th anniversary of Daimler-Benz (Karl Benz built his first car, the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motorwagen, in 1885).Also photographed at :
The 200-horsepower Benz is a reconstruction of the Barney Oldfield/Bob Burman record breaker dubbed the 'Blitzen Benz,' named so for its lightning speed. In 1909, Victor Hemery created headlines the world over in a Blitzen Benz with a flying kilometer record of 125.55 mph at Brooklands. Not to be outdone, on April 23, 1911, Burman achieved 140.18 mph over the flying mile at 141.73 mph over the flying kilometer at Daytona Beach, setting a world land speed record that stood until 1919. With its record at Daytona Beach, the Blitzen Benz was twice as fast as the fastest aircraft of its day. The Blitzen Benz was powered by a 21.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine developing 200 horsepower.