Development of the record-breaking Benz 200 hp started in 1909 at Benz & Cie. in Mannheim under the guidance of Victor Hemery. The starting point for the new vehicle was the Benz 150 hp racing car. By enlarging the bore to 185 mm, the displacement of the 15.1-litre engine was increased to a substantial 21.5 litres. The unit produced up to 147 kW (200 hp) at 1600 rpm. The four-cylinder in-line engine consisted of cylinders cast together in pairs, and weighed 407 kg. It had overhead inlet and outlet valves as well as two spark plugs per cylinder. The engine’s power was transferred to the rear axle by a four-speed manual transmission via an idler shaft and chain.
Bob Burman was born in Imlay City, Michigan on April 23, 1884. At the age of 17 he won his first race, a local 5 mile match race. In 1906 he entered and won a 50-mile race in Detroit. Next was a 24 hour endurance race at St. Louis, MO. Teaming up with Ernest Kelly, Burman not only won, but beat the competition by 82 miles. Burman’s succes at the race track didn’t go unnoticed and he got signed as a factory driver by the Buick Company. He won the first race he entered under the Buick colors, the 187-mile Garden City Sweepstakes on Long Island.