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1894 Benz Velo
1894 Benz Velo 1.5 hp

1899 International Benz
1899 International Benz 3.5 hp

The Benz before 1900
The Benz before 1900

BENZ

Carl Benz built the first practical petrol-engined motorcar in the world in 1885.

It was a tubular-chassied three-wheeler with a horizontal slow-revving single-cylinder engine at the rear driven by belts to a countershaft with chain drive to the back wheels.

The Benz Company of Mannheim, Germany, had sold 69 vehicles of this type by 1893 and in that year four-wheeled cars were introduced but otherwise still to the original design. These came in a variety of sizes from the popular little Velo through to a 5hp 8-seater Phaeton.

From the earliest days Benzes were exported throughout Europe, to the USA, to distant countries such as Mexico and Java, and they were imported into Great Britain from 1895, where a Velo cost £125.

The cars have often been criticised as being slow and old-fashioned, but Benz built them as a substitute for the pony and trap. With their simplicity and reliability they were very successful and a total of 2317 Benzes had been sold by 1901. Many other car makers based their first vehicles on the Benz layout.

Benz cars changed little in design until after 1900 but they were a successful company both commercially and in racing, and merged with Mercedes in 1926. Carl Benz died in 1929 at the age of 85.


Benz
Darracq
De Dion Bouton
Delahaye
Georges Richard
Gladiator
Mercedes
MMC
Mors
Motobloc
Napier
Panhard-Levassor
Peugeot
Renault
Star
 
Benz | Darracq | De Dion Bouton | Delahaye | Georges Richard | Gladiator | Mercedes | MMC | Mors
Motobloc | Napier | Panhard-Levassor | Peugeot | Renault | Star
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