The Benz Patent Motor Car is regarded as the world’s first automobile. It completed its maiden journey in public on Mannheim’s Ringstraße on 3 July 1886. The event represented for designer Carl Benz the fulfilment of his dream to build a motorised road-going vehicle. His design, which included chassis and engine, was a fundamentally new innovation. Just a few weeks later, a second automotive pioneer, Gottlieb Daimler, installed an internal combustion engine in a carriage and in so doing marked the beginning of his dream to motorise all vehicles and appliances with his high-speed engine.
The Benz Patent Motor Car from 1886 is regarded as the world’s first automobile. The heart of the Benz Patent Motor Car was a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with a displacement of 0.954 litres. This design already incorporated several of the key features found in most internal combustion engines today, including a crankshaft with counterweights, electric ignition and water cooling. The unit developed a peak output of 0.55 kW at 400/min.
Carl Benz was born in Karlsruhe on 25 November 1844. He attended the local grammar school and went on to study under Ferdinand Redtenbacher at the Polytechnic University of Karlsruhe. Upon graduation he embarked on a two-year internship at Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Karlsruhe, where Benz immersed himself in work in all departments. His first full-time employment was as a draughtsman and designer with a scales manufacturer in Mannheim. In 1868 he moved to the engineering firm of Gebrüder Benckiser – Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik, who were involved mainly in building bridges and steam engines.