Image credits: © Benz.

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica Chassis #: 35
Sold for $46,000 at 2007 Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia.
Sold for $39,200 at 2019 RM Sothebys : The Guyton Collection.
Carl Benz's three-wheeler Motorwagen was the first successful use of the internal combustion-engined motor car. It featured a rear mounted horizontal engine with vertical crankshaft, belt primary drive and final transmission to the rear wheels by side chains. The entire package was placed on a tubular chassis that was suspended in place by three large wheels. The engine displaced 984cc and provided .9 horsepower. Top speed was achieved at 8 mph. It was not a romantic ride; it was loud, smelly and the occupants felt every bump and vibration. It was primitive, but at the same time it was 'state of the art.'

'Papa' Benz donated the original car to the Deutches Museum in Munich in 1906. Since that time, a series of working replicas have been manufactured with considerable attention to detail and accuracy.

This example was built in Yorkshire, England during the 1980s. It was later fitted with period coach lamps and the fitting of a step from an early horse drawn carriage.

It has dark green framing and ironwork, varnished wood platform and wooden tool box and many brass fittings. It was offered for sale at the 2007 Bonhams Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club. It was sold for $46,000 plus premium and tax.


By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008

The Gifted Karl Benz:

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
By 1885, Karl Benz had built and tested a four-stroke engine and a tubular-frame tricycle to accept that engine. Despite its primitive appearance, the little vehicle did well in trial runs, achieving a speed of 8 mph. This car actually incorporated a number of features still found in automobiles today, including mechanical inlet valves, a differential and electrical ignition. The horizontal one-lunger used a vertical crankshaft to which a large, horizontal flywheel was attached.

1886 Benz Motorwagen ReplicaSatisfied with the vehicle's performance, Benz applied for a patent in early 1886, and shortly after, he was seen driving his creation on the streets of Mannheim. Tweaks and improvements followed and the first actual sale of a Benz 'Patentmotorwagen' occurred in 1887, when the Paris agent for Benz's stationary engines bought one for his own use. In 18888, Benz's car was awarded a Gold Medal at the Munich International Exhibition; in that same year, Karl's wife, Bertha, accompanied by their two sons, successfully completed a 102-mile round between Mannheim and Pfozheim, thus making her the first woman motorist of record.

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
This first Benz still exists and is on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.


1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
This Car
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 1886 Benz a small number of replicas of this benchmark car were built by the well-respected Ú.K. firm of John Bentley Engineering between 1986 and 1997. The car show is one such vehicle: a full-scale working replica, done in a completely exact and authentic manner. Indeed, these replicas are so precisely constructed that the final batch was actually purchased by Mercedes-Benz!

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
This example is in full running order and simplicity itself to drive, basically requiring nothing more than a light hand on the tiller and the other on the throttle.

Source - Gooding & Company
1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
Design : Horizontal single-cylinder engine with horizontal flywheel; change exchange via inlet slide controlled by eccentric rod, vertical outlet valve controlled by cam disc, rocker arm and push rod; mixture formation in Benz surface carburetor; evaporator cooling (Thermosyhpon); lubrication via drip oiler with grease box; high-voltage electric buzzer ignition; engine is started by rotating the flywheel.

Running Gear: Steel tube frame; front axle on steering fork without springs; rear suspension on rigid axle with full elliptical spring; rack and pinion steering, steering crank in middle of vehicle, no foot brake, hand brake applied to countershaft pulley; wheels: wire spoke wheels, diameter front 730 mm, rear 1125 mm, solid rubber tires at front and rear.

Power transmission : 1 flat belt from engine to countershaft with idling and fixed discs and integrated differential, 1 chain from countershaft to each of the two rear wheels.

Transmission / Shifting : Transfer of belt between idling and fixed discs.

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica Chassis #: JBW1110495
Sold for $46,200 at 2009 Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook.
This 1886 Benz Motorwagen is a replica produced by John Bentley Engineering of the United Kingdom. This recreation of the first working Benz were built between 1986 and 1997, with a total of 14 built. Mr. Bentley and his artisans were granted access to the original Benz when it was owned by Mercedes-Benz in preparation for the project. The job was done so well, Mercedes-Benz of Stuttgart acquired the final group of cars produced by Bentley.

This example is Number 4 of the 14 original examples built. The car is powered by a 954cc horizontally mounted single-cylinder engine offering .88 horsepower. There is a leaf spring suspension in the rear and a mechanical transmission brake.

This Motorwagen was offered for sale at the 2009 Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions and estimated to sell for $50,000 - $70,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $46,200, including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
The birth of the automobile is most often dated to January 29th of 1886 when Carl Benz patented an 'automobile fueled by gas.' Its launch was problematic since gas was sold only in small quantities from pharmacies as a cleaning product. And because the car had no gears, it could not climb hills unaided. This Benz Patent Motor Wagen is an exact replica produced by John Bentley Engineering.
1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica 1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica
1886 Benz Patent Motor-Wagen Replica is a faithful replica of the first Benz model. It has a horizontal single-cylinder 954cc engine and a 54-inch wheelbase. This example was built in Asia and is patterned after the series sanctioned by Daimler-Benz and built by John Bentley in the United Kingdom between 1986 and 1997.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012



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