Car Talk

When Was the First Car in the World  Made? A Brief History of Automobiles

Avatar Adie Tinkle -

The history of automobiles is vast and filled with surprises. When was the first car ever made? Many people have wondered about this question, and it has been a controversial topic for over a century. It can be quite challenging to track down the first car ever made in the history of automobiles. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of vehicles and find the answer to when the first car in the world was manufactured and who may have truly invented it.

History of Automobiles 

When we look at the old resources of automobile history, we find out that many inventions before the first car in the world ran on fuel. For most of the 19th century, there were many cars powered by gas or steam. The first record we have is from 1968, when an astronomer invented a car around 2 feet long, which was a toy for an emperor of China. 

The 1700s saw the development of steam engines, and many steam engine vehicles were launched. Amedee Bollee manufactured the first practical steam-driven car in 1878 at Le Mans in France. However, these vehicles had many disadvantages. Firstly, these vehicles could not be used until their furnaces had boiled the water. Secondly, when traveling, these vehicles needed a constant supply of water to turn water into steam and more fuel to heat the furnace. Lastly, they were extremely heavy to manage. 

People at that time were also looking for engines smaller than steam engines so they could use them for the Industrial Revolution. Later, in wars, the need to make better cylinders for cannons increased the possibility of making an engine where fuel was burnt inside the cylinder. This way, the first practical vehicle powered by internal combustion engines was invented. 

Gottlieb Daimler, in 1885, made the first practical vehicle powered by internal combustion engines – a motorcycle. 

First Practical Car 

Karl Benz produced the first practical car in 1886 in Mannheim, Germany. His vehicle was a three-wheeler, Patent Motorwagen, which was very similar to the current cycle design. The vehicle received power from a single-cylinder engine that produced about 600 watts and used benzene as fuel. This vehicle had one seat and was steered by a tailor. 

Later that year, Motorkutsche produced the first four-wheeled car. Though it was an open car, it had two seats. Benz’s 1898 Velo was the first car in the world produced on a production line. It was a four-wheeled open single-seater. 

The first automobile that resembled the modern cars today was the 1901 Mercedes, manufactured by the DMG corporation that Daimler had helped to establish. It costed five times as much as the Velo, which Mercedes still sells. It had a four-cylinder engine that produced ten times as much power as the Velo. This vehicle was named after the daughter of the bank, who pressured DMG to produce cars that are faster and can be used in long distances.

Interesting Facts About the First Car Ever Invented 

The first practical car left a lasting mark in the auto industry. Here is what we know about the first car in the world.

The first ever car was the original collector item, and only 25 versions of the 1886 Patent Motorwagen were manufactured. This all happened right before Benz almost gave up on his masterpiece. But then his wife, Bertha, went on an important road test drive of about 12 hours, which led to the installation of brakes, a two-speed transmission, and other upgrades in this vehicle. 

After years of experimentation with two-stroke engines, Benz developed the Patent Motor Car by combining easily accessible technologies, such as the engine, lightweight steel chassis, completely constructed two-seat velocipedes, and driving components, into a single unit. Production lasted from 1886 to 1893 when the Benz Velo supplanted it.

Driving System 

Benz was not totally happy with the four-wheel steering system that was available in 1886, so he went for a three-wheel system. Two rear wheels provided the power, and a front solitary wheel was assigned with steering duties. 

This two-seater vehicle had a simple drive system with a 62-inch wheelbase. It also had a pair of chain drives coupled with a basic beam axle that provided power to the back axle. The transmission system consisted of a large leather strap with a single speed. The flywheel in this vehicle was placed horizontally, as Benz had an idea that spinning a heavy mass would generate too much inertia make steering difficult. 

Performance of Vehicle and its Engine 

Though there have been vehicles made before the Patent Motorwagen, including automobiles powered by electricity and steam, this was the first with an internal combustion engine. It was also the first vehicle to be ever introduced commercially. This vehicle was powered by a 945cc single cylinder with a stock iron block and head engine. This vehicle was capable of producing 0.9 hp. 

Engine Starting 

In modern times, starting your vehicle is super easy as you do not even need to turn a key. In some cars, you just need to press a button or use a remote starter. However, things were quite different back in the day. For instance, to start a Benz Patent Motorwagen, you had to spin the large flywheel manually. So, you had to vigorously turn the flywheel at the rear after activating the ignition from the switch under the seat. Then, using the handwheel, you had to regulate the air supply. 

The First Long Drive 

It seems like Bertha Benz, the wife of Benz, was more familiar with the vehicle’s designs as she pointed out several improvements in the car’s design in her first test drive. Though the car was already remarkable, Bertha understood the needs and requirements of the real world more closely, which led to various improvements in the design. 

She was also the one who took the Benz Patent-Motorwagen to the world’s first long-distance drive. She covered about 11 miles round trip with her two sons, in which the car broke many times, which she fixed each time, and added upgrades like the world’s first brake pad. 

The Vehicle Stood the Test of Time 

The parts and features of this vehicle might be short-lived, but the basic idea behind this vehicle led to the foundation through which all modern cards are built. The parts and details added to the engine of this vehicle formed the essentials of a modern internal combustion engine. 

Legacy of Carl Benz 

The company, the foundation of which was led by Carl Benz, is still around today and manufactures some of the most well-known and finest cars in the world. With its design, the original car made it possible to revolutionize the automotive industry with hundreds of vehicles manufactured daily. The successor company takes the crown for the most consequential development of auto manufacturing, including superchargers, multi-valve engines, anti-lock braking systems, and so much more. 

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