1886 Benz Motorwagen - Replica

When Karl Benz applied for a patent on January 29th, 1886 for his vehicle with the first internal combustion gas engine, he did not realize that his invention changed the world.

His vehicle was specifically designed to accommodate a horizontal single cylinder four stroke engine of 954 cc. It developed 0.75 horsepower at 400 rpm, and a speed of 8 miles per hour was recorded.

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Vehicle Type Benz Patent Motorwagen - Replica
Year Built Original was built 1885, Mannheim, Germany. Replica built 1986
Built By Original: Karl Benz; Replica by John Bentle, United Kingdom
Suspension Fully elliptical springs at rear with live axle and chain drive on both sides
Engine 954 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with trember coil ignition, .75 horsepower
Owner Woodland Family Collection


The Benz Patent-Motorwagen was a three-wheeled automotive with a rear-mounted engine. The vehicle contained many new inventions. It was constructed of steel tubing with woodwork panels. The steel-spoked wheels and solid rubber tires were Benz's own design. Steering was by way of a toothed rack that pivoted the unsprung front wheel. A simple belt system served as a single-speed transmission, varying torque between an open disc and drive disc. Details included an automatic intake slide, a controlled exhaust valve, high-voltage electrical vibrator ignition with spark plug, and water/thermo siphon evaporation cooling.

This faithful replica of the 1886 Benz is one of 90-or-so manufactured by John Bentley in the United Kingdom whom was given full access to the original patent details and sanctioned by the Daimler-Benz Company in Germany for the 100 year anniversary. They were originally distributed via the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center to Mercedes-Benz dealers for 100 year anniversary showroom displays.

Of historical interest, it was not Karl Benz that took the first long-distance automobile drive, but his wife Bertha, whom saw an excellent opportunity to visit her mother in Pforzheim, by borrowing her husband's creation (without his knowledge). Full details can be found here.

The Woodland Auto Display

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