1880s / German / Mercedes-Benz

Zeithaus treasures: 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen

Built in 1886, the Patent-Motorwagen is widely hailed as the first vehicle designed from the ground up to use an internal combustion engine. Cars built before it were simply motorized horse carriages. Inventor Karl Benz received German patent number 37435 for his creation, which explains its name.

The Motorwagen was powered by a horizontally-mounted, single-cylinder engine with a displacement of 984cc. It made a little under one horsepower at 400 rpm, enough to send the Patent-Motorwagen up to a top speed of 10 mph. While the three-wheeler remained a prototype, it’s the car that every current member of the Mercedes-Benz lineup traces its roots to.

The example displayed in Volkswagen’s ZeitHaus museum (and pictured below) is a replica of the original, which has resided in Munich’s Deutsches Museum since 1906.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s