Car trivia: first car ever built

1885 Benz Patent Motorwagen



The most common way to travel before the advent of cars was via animal labour. Cars were invented later to make travelling easier. The invention then became useful for those in the transportation industries. It also changed the world in several profound ways, including enabling the movement of goods and populations from one point to another.


Pinpointing exactly who invented the car is not a simple matter. But the Benz Patent-Motorwagen is universally recognised as the oldest gasoline powered car offered for sale. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen was designed, built and patented by a German engineer Karl Benz in 1886. It was a two-seater, powered by a 954 cubic centimetre single-cylinder engine that created two-thirds of a horsepower.


The engine was installed horizontally at the rear. Other major features include the tubular steel frame, the differential and three wire-spoked wheels. At the early stage, fuel was supplied to the engine through evaporation. A rudimentary carburettor was added in later models. In 1887, leather brake shoes were added to the invention.



Benz had built three prototypes of his Motor Car in private by 1888. One fine day in August that year, his wife Bertha and their two sons embarked on the first long-distance journey in automotive history using the latest model without his knowledge.


The route included a few detours and took them from Mannheim to Pforzheim, her place of birth. It was a journey of 180 kilometres including the return trip. Bertha Benz had to improvise repairs along the way with shoe leather, a hairpin and her garter. The successful trip showed Benz how to improve the car, and showed a dubious public that automobiles were useful.


Although the world’s first motorcar was invented during the 1880s by Benz, it was not until the early 20th Century that cars became widely available. To-date, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd has 31 dealerships nationwide and is the leading car financier in the country with over RM2 billion service portfolio, financing four of 10 Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold.


The company, which sold 5,913 vehicles in the first half of 2017 (1H17), is confident of another record year in 2017 to surpass the 11,779 vehicles it sold in 2016.



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