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 Benz Motorwagen Replica photo

Image credits: © Benz.

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica

Personal transportation evolved dramatically before the dawn of the 20th century thanks to the internal combustion engine, with Karl Benz being credited with creating the first truly successful model. He had created a functioning two-stroke engine by 1880 and soon established Benz und Cie: Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik, which was located in Mannheim, Germany. His single-cylinder, four-stroke gasoline engine was built and installed into a three-wheel carriage by the end of 1885. The carriage had been designed specifically for the engine.

The design was primitive, yet at this point in history, every aspect of it was innovative. It was similar to a horse-drawn carriage, most notably having a small front wheel and large rear wheels. The wheels had wire spokes and the steering was by a rack-and-pinion setup connected to a tiller. The engine powered the rear wheels and could attain a speed of eight miles an hour, which was recorded on one of the vehicle's very first test runs. It used an electric ignition, a mechanically operated inlet valve, and a differential gear.

The three-wheeler had a tubular chassis and rear-mounted horizontal engine with a vertical crankshaft, horizontal flywheel, belt primary drive, and final transmission to the rear wheels by side chains. The 984cc internal combustion engine developed 0.9 horsepower at 400 rpm. The suspension was by leaf springs and stopping was by friction brakes.

The vehicle received its patent on January 30th of 1886 and was soon on the streets of Mannheim that spring. The designs were further developed and refined, and Benz made his first sale the following year. Today, Benz's Patent-Motorwagne is widely recognized as the first production car in the world.

In 1887, 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.

Other inventors were hard at work creating similar inventions. Later in 1886, about 60 miles away, Gottlieb Daimler patented an internal combustion engine and began construction of a four-wheeled horseless carriage. Neither Benz or Daimler was aware of the other's work.

In the United States, the Duryea Brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts made its first successful test of a motorcar in September of 1893. The main difference between the Patent-Motorwagen and the Duryea Brothers' car was that Benz managed to actually put his car into production, thereby making it available to the general public. Approximately 25 examples of the Patent-Motorwagen were built between 1886 and 1893.

Batches of Motorwagen Replica's have been built, mostly in the 1980s and 1990s. John Bentley & Sons Engineering in England began building full-size operational replicas of the Patent-Motorwagen in 1986. The design was true to the original and its popularity kept them in production until 1997. Bentley and his team had been granted access to the original Benz in order to study the car and its minute details. The Bentley & Sons built Patent-Motorwagens are considered to be the most authentic re-creation of Karl Benz's original work.

Mercedes-Benz Classic built approximately 90 examples in 2001 and 2002. Trieu Phuoc Ltd. of Vietnam built Recreations in the 2010s patterned after the series sanctioned by Daimler-Benz and built by John Bentley.

The replicas were built for museums and public exhibits. Used for educations purposes - both demonstration runs or static detail - they are identical to the original in nearly every detail, except that the original ran on a petroleum product called ligroin, which is not readily available. The modern recreations are designed to operate on standard petrol.

The original Benz-built Patent-Motorwagen remains extant and was restored in 1906 and donated to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany. It is currently on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

It is frequently discussed and often disputed one who actually conceived the first motor car powered by an internal combustion engine. There is little doubt that Karl Benz was the first truly successful inventor.


by Daniel Vaughan | May 2020
Vehicle Profiles
1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica vehicle information

Motorwagen

Chassis Num: 35

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 si....[continue reading]

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica vehicle information

Motorwagen

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 carburet....[continue reading]

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica vehicle information

Motorwagen

Chassis Num: JBW1110495

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 acces....[continue reading]

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica vehicle information

Motorwagen

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 t....[continue reading]

1886 Benz Motorwagen Replica vehicle information

Motorwagen

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 ....[continue reading]

Motorwagen
Chassis #: 35 
Motorwagen
 
Motorwagen
Chassis #: JBW1110495 
Motorwagen
 
Motorwagen
 




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