Who built the first cars?

Although Henry Ford is credited with revolutionising the motor car, he was by no means the inventor of the first motor vehicle.

Their were many contributors to the procedure of creating the car but the two most important pioneers were two German engineers named Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler.

In 1882 Karl Benz built a factory in Mannheim, Germany for manufacturing gas engines, but began to think that if he used petrol instead of gas, which was a more efficient and convenient fuel, it could power a vehicle.

So in 1885 he brought out a three wheeled “horseless carriage” which he drove around the Mannheim factory until one day his drive chains snapped.

Inspired by the initial succes, Benz continued to improve the prototype, and icluded a simple radiator and more powerful engine.

On 29th January 1886, Benz received a patent for the Patent Motor Car. It’s top speed was less than 10 mph.

Karl Benz found new backers and and devoted his time and energy into developing the motor car. In 1893, he introduced his first four-wheeled car.

By 1900, Karl Benz’s factory was the largest car manufacturer in the world and sold more than 600 vehicles a year.

Whilst Karl Benz was busy developing his vehicles, another great German engineer, as I mentioned above, named Gotlieb Daimler was also working on a new four-stroke engine which was to become the forerunner of the modern car engine.

Unfortunately, the company named Otto and Langen did not agree with Daimler that the firm’s future was linked with the motor car so he left and set up his own company, named Daimler Motor Company in 1890.

He worked with an associate in a modest workshop where he designed the first petrol driven, high speed engine.

Rather than developing the motor car, Daimler concentrated on the uses for his petrol engine, and in 1901, a year after Daimler died, the Mercedes was introduced.

Although Benz and Daimler never met, they often fought over the title of ‘Father of the modern motor car’.

Consequently, they were actually united in death when in 1926 both their companies merged and Daimler-Benz was founded. Nowadays, they are called Mercedes-Benz, and are commonly referred to as Mercedes and sometimes as Benz by most people.

From its humble beginnings the motor car has come a long way, especially with the growth in more environmental and sustainable transport in form of electric cars and associated technology over the last decade.