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Benz Patent Motorwagen: the world's first car in a driving report

Driving report Benz Patent Motorwagen
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S imagine you have just picked up your new carriage and the next moment a rattling car overtakes them. Without horses, but at an insane speed. So around 12 km /h - a Benz Patent Motor Car doesn't go faster than a jogger. The first car in the world shifts the dimension of driving a car towards the joy of getting around.

The fun of slowness

Smart people think that a MG B is so much It's fun because the experience value is high even at low speeds. Right. And yet these low speeds today were unattainable 130 years ago. When the car was just learning to run, one or the other farmer would send the dogs off when such a car drove around the corner at lightning speed. Bertha Benz does not report such attacks - rather from initially skeptical but then helpful villagers when the task was to push her husband's 350 kilogram patent motor vehicle up a mountain.

Bertha Benz: The world's first female truck driver

Daimler AG
Bertha Benz and her sons Eugen and Richard drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888 without their father's knowledge.

Bertha set off early in the morning. Instigated by her teenage sons, who had previously familiarized themselves with Daddy's patent car. The goal: to visit my aunt in Pforzheim, 90 kilometers away. The story is part of the founding myth of the automobile, Bertha Benz was the first woman behind the wheel and the first car traveler. Where today the navigation system quickly calculated a route in response to a “Pforzheim” mumbling along, took traffic jams into account, and then sent us to our destination with brief promptspiloted, the Benzens only wandered northeast 130 years ago before they found their way south. Several times they stopped at pharmacies to buy ligroin and at wells to refill water. The water pump and closed cooling circuit had not yet been invented, the single cylinder cools with a simple principle: When the single cylinder becomes warm, the cooling water evaporates. The mixture has to be readjusted from time to time so that the engine does not stutter.

Strong turning starts the single cylinder

There was also no starter. The engine starts by turning the flywheel vigorously. It sounds like someone is panting very hard. If the show of strength succeeds, the single cylinder rattles evenly. Since Benz ‘was the achievement of making heavy and large engines considerably smaller, lighter and faster in the past, the exposed crankshaft now rotates at 500 rpm. What would be a very low idle speed for a multi-cylinder today was enough for 0.6 HP from a liter of displacement. The rotating journals of the crankshaft make the speed visible and even slight inclines can be heard: as the driving resistance increases, the piston stamps up and down more slowly. This can already be seen on the slight hills that no e-biker would notice today.

First driving impression: a bit wobbly, the tricycle

With the car, the driving dynamics were obviously also in place its infancy: that two wheels at the back and one wheel at the front are easy to steer was probably already known back then. Later drivers of a Reliant Robin found out that this is the most unstable way to stand a car on the narrow spoked wheels by simply overturning the car. A Benz Patent Motor Car is not as powerfully motorized as a Reliant Robin, but it is built considerably higher. The first driving impression is, to put it politely, wobbly. The first bends are always expected to result in a luffing of a wheel, preferring to pull the iron lever once too often with your left. The delay is good, but not so strong that you slide off the cushion. The gas is in front, the acceleration no longer impresses anyone today. Nevertheless, it takes a few minutes of driving and confidence before the left arm is extended. Full throttle feels a bit like back then, when you were on a bike and dad took your hand off your back: a mixture of freedom, a thrill of speed and respect for whatever might come next.

A Benz Patent Motor Car costs 151,000 euros

The Mercedes Museum sells two of the replicas built in 2001 and 2002 through All Time Stars, which sell high-quality classics in the condition of a young used vehicle in the Mercedes Museum in the price range between 20,000 and two million euros. A Benz Patent Motor Car costs 151,000 euros including instruction, a sticker with a serial number and a wooden box, in the operating instructions and a facsimile of theBenz patent. There is no street legal.


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