Since 1871, Karl Benz has been working on the creation of an internal combustion engine. In 1883, he founded a factory in the city of Mannheim, where he launched the production of stationary two-stroke engines. And after work, in his home workshop, Benz worked on creating a self-propelled carriage. At the end of 1885 the car was ready.
The car was a lightweight open stroller, weighing only 265 kg. There were only three narrow spoked bicycle wheels: one in front – steering, and two in back – driving. The engine was located behind the two-seater seat.
The engine was no longer a two-stroke, but a four-stroke. A single horizontally located cylinder had a working volume of 954 cm3. The power was 0.75 liters. With. at 400 rpm. Cooling was liquid, ignition was battery-powered.
It is noteworthy that the crankshaft was connected by a bevel gear to a flywheel located horizontally. The latter was a large-diameter wheel, which was also used for launching: you just had to spin it. The drive to the drive wheels was chain. The maximum speed was 16 km/h.
Benz was in no hurry to take this car out onto the streets: he was waiting for official registration. And only after that I decided to take my first short trips. And on July 3, 1886, he went on a demonstration run of 110 km. The inhabitants, however, did not appreciate the car: why have it when there are horses.
The ice began to break the following year, when the Frenchman Emile Roger began producing the car under license. And in 1888, Benz's car was awarded the Big Gold Medal at an industrial exhibition in Munich.
However, the best advertisement for the car was the mileage that his wife and faithful assistant, Bertha Benz, spent without asking her husband. Together with her two young sons, in August 1888 she covered the 180-kilometer distance from Mannheim to Pronzheim. And what’s interesting is that she was resourceful in troubleshooting problems that arose.
Until 1890, a total of no more than 20 Benz three-wheeled cars were produced. The inventor himself understood that his machines had a number of disadvantages, including insufficient stability and low power. And he began to work on more advanced cars.
In 1893, the four-wheeled Victoria model appeared, and in 1896, the Velo, which became the world's first production car. Over six years, about 2 thousand of these machines were produced. At first they had a 1.5 liter engine. With. and a working volume of 863 cm3. And the next year – 3 years. With. and volume 1045 cm3. The car reached speeds of up to 30 km/h.
Subsequently, the Benz company began to increase production volumes – and in 1903 it was already one of the leaders in the German automobile market.