If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what was the first car ever made than this is it, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen introduced all the way back in 1885!
It is regarded by experts as the first car ever made. Back in 1879 the legendary Carl Benz developed the first stationary gasoline engine; a one-cylinder two-stroke unit. The engine was such a commercial success that Benz decided to further enhance development of the engine and use it to power the world’s first lightweight gasoline powered car.
The basis of the car would be a two seater layout with the engine installed in the rear, so in some absurd way you could actually call this the world’s first Porsche 911 (not really!). The car was constructed from steel tubing and wooden panels that made it very light, weighing in at only 100kg. The Motorwagen only had three wheels with the front single wheel being used to steer the car. Now it didn’t come with a steering wheel or in fact any of the conventional driving controls that we have become accustomed to. It wasn’t until Cadillac came along in the late twentieth century that the use of a steering wheel and three pedals became the norm. The Motorwagen just came with a lever that you would turn left and right to steer the car.
The engine also produced just 0.75bhp and that gave it a top speed of just 9mph and with a 1.5 litre fuel tank its range was less than 5 miles. Not brilliant by any means but it did pioneer the concept that personal motorised transport was possible. From 1886 to 1893, Carl Benz built around 25 Patent-Motorwagen priced at around US$1000 (PKR 1 lac) not that bad you might think but in today’s money that converts to around US$ 21,000 (PKR 21 lac). Today the few remaining examples of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen lies in museums for the world to marvel at what actually pioneered the concept of a car forward to become personal motorised transport that we’re all accustom to today. So if you’re driving along today in whatever vehicle you own, whether it be a Toyota or a Honda or even a Bugatti Veyron, somehow just remember it owns its existence to this car.