The Benz Motorised Vehicle

In contrast to the Daimler approach, Carl Benz set out to create a motorised vehicle that incorporated the engine as an integral part of its overall design. Daimler always saw his product as a 'horseless carriage', where the engine was attached to existing wheeled vehicles.

Benz finally developed a four-stroke engine and was granted a patent on January 29, 1886 for a 'vehicle powered by a gas engine whose gas is produced by fuel gasification by means of a device carried on the vehicle.' Benz rapidly assembled a three-wheeled steel-framed carriage with an integrated engine and demonstrated his invention in public on September 5.

The original Benz was a rudimentary machine with no fuel tank and a high voltage ignition system, the primary circuit of which was closed when the engine was in operation. The frame of the vehicle was constructed at the Adler cycle factory, which also built the simple steering shaft that controlled the front wheel.

Most of the early Benz three-wheelers were sold in France, with some 69 examples being built between 1887 and 1893. It was 1892 before Benz received significant

market interest, but the quantity of orders soon increased with the introduction of the Viktoria model in 1893, the first Benz vehicle with four wheels.

This model featured another Benz patent, stub-axle steering, and carried a 3hp, 1730cc single-cylinder engine mounted at the rear. Initially, it had just two forward gears (three forward and one reverse from 1896) and these were changed by shifting belts from one of the two pulleys of the countershaft to which the differential was connected. The rear wheels were driven by chains.

The Benz "Patent-Motorwagen" and Daimler "motorised carriage" represent the start of a unique success story - a story that continues to unfold today as Mercedes-Benz adds new chapters. Despite critics of the day proclaiming the 'horseless carriage' had "no future", the automobile has evolved into an icon of personal freedom and plays a significant role in the modern economy. Alongside the first bus and the first motor truck, the company's most important innovations also include the first modern passenger car, the Mercedes 35 hp, which was presented in February 1900.


Marking the transition at the turn of the century from the long-legged "motor carriage" to the motor car as we know it today, the Mercedes 35 hp was the prototype of all modern passenger cars.

The decisive technical innovations were its long wheelbase, wide track, low centre of gravity and angled steering column. These improvements created the basis for comfortable and safe driving, something that first became reality in a Mercedes.

Characteristic features of the Mercedes 35 hp included its elongated form and honeycomb radiator. Organically integrated into the front end, the honeycomb radiator solved the hitherto omnipresent problem of cooling the engine, quite apart from emerging as a distinguishing mark of the brand. With its light-alloy crankcase, the powerful four-cylinder engine served as a model for today's still-current lightweight design and was, furthermore, installed low in the frame. Its exhaust valves were controlled by a camshaft, this significantly improving the smoothness of operation, stability at idle and acceleration. The construction principle of "engine at the front, final drive to the rear wheels" was to establish itself in the long term as the conventional drive layout.

The "35 hp" was the first vehicle to sport the Mercedes brand name and went down in history as the first modern-day motor car. L9





Compression Ratio:


Fuel system:








Weight: Max Speed:

1-cylinder 70 xl20mm 462cc 2.6:1

1.1 hp at 600rpm Surface carburettor Oil sump

2 gear ratios by means of different size pulleys Cone Wood

Block on rear wheels



Iron hoops, front 930mm, rear 1165mm


18 km/h



4-cylinder in-line, cast

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