The speeds exceeding 200 km/h they are something “usual” in our time and do not cause an impression. However, on beginning of the 20th century they looked like an “elusive” dream for cars with internal combustion engine.
One steam powered car managed to reach top speed 205.44 km in 1906. However at that time, the Benz & Cie. it was the biggest car company in the world and it wanted to be in control. Especially because of the intense competition with Daimler Motor Company. THE Carl Benz had set high goals, prioritizing reliability and affordability, but saw that its racing success DMG was jeopardizing the market penetration of his own company’s vehicles.
Thus, he set a new goal, its construction fastest car in the world. A vehicle that would move faster than even the trains and planes of the time! And that was difficult, as there were already trains traveling with me 210 km/h from 1903.
Work on the construction of the new car began at the beginning of 1909. As a basis, the Benz Grand Prix racing car of 150 PS, however, improvement was necessary. Thus, its capacity 4-cylinder engine increased to 21.5 Lresulting in the power rising to 200 PS at just 1,600 rpmwhile the new engine was being weighed 407 kg! So the racing car was renamed to Benz 200 PS.
Later acquiring the nickname “Blitzen-Benz” (lightning), the designers tried to give it aerodynamic shape, even if they didn’t have a wind tunnel at their disposal. Its basic silhouette is… reminiscent cigarthe tires were thin, while the wheels were made of wood. Finally, it also had four exhaust tips large diameter.
Attempts for the record were successful on November 8, 1909 on his racetrack Brooklands. By Victor Hemery at the wheel, the ‘Blitzen-Benz’ achieved average top speeds 205.666 km/h (at a distance of half a mile) and 202.648 km/h (at a distance of over one km) with “flying start”. The 200 km/h barrier broke for the first time in Europe for car with MEK.
However, the “ceiling” had not been reached. Benz 200 PS acquired improved body and needed very long straights to show its true potential. To do this, he had to move to the US. This is what happened 2010. The owner of Ernest «Ernie» Morosshe called it «Lightning-Benz». Translated into German, the “Blitzen-Benz” established immediately.
At March 16, 1910The Barney Oldfield succeeded 211.97 km/h on the straight of the track Daytona Beach. But, the enemy of the good is the best and so on April 23, 1911on the same track, o Robert R. «Bob» Burman arrived at 228.1 km/hwith one more improved version of the racing car, setting a new world record. The Benz 200 PS was twice as fast as an airplane of the time and faster than any car or vehicle that ran on rails.
The legendary model’s record from Mannheim kept for another 8 years and finally “broke” it 1919.
In total 6 copies of the “Blitzen-Benz” were built, with the four to be saved even today. One of them is in Mercedes-Benz Museum of Stuttgart, in Legend Room 7: Silver Arrows – Races and Records.
Alfasud: The Alfa Romeo of the poor will forever remain in our hearts
Toyota Starlet TRD: The penultimate Samurai
A112 Abarth: Carlo Abarth’s last “bite”.