Tracking who invented the car is challenging as the automobile had a long journey to become the form of transport we know today. The first stationary gasoline engine developed by Carl Benz was a one-cylinder two-stroke unit which ran for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1879. Benz had so much commercial success with this engine that he was able to devote more time to his dream of creating a lightweight car powered by a gasoline engine, in which the chassis and engine formed a single unit.
The major features of the two-seater vehicle, which was completed in 1885, were the compact high-speed single-cylinder four-stroke engine installed horizontally at the rear, the tubular steel frame, the differential and three wire-spoked wheels. The engine output was 0.75 hp (0.55 kW). Details included an automatic intake slide, a controlled exhaust valve, high-voltage electrical vibrator ignition with spark plug, and water/thermosiphon evaporation cooling.
The first automobile
On January 29, 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle powered by a gas engine.” The patent – number 37435 – may be regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile. In July 1886 the newspapers reported on the first public outing of the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1.
Long-distance journey by Bertha Benz (1888)
Bertha Benz and her sons Eugen and Richard during their long-distance journey in August 1888 with the Benz Patent Motor Car.
Using an improved version and without her husband’s knowledge, Benz’s wife Bertha and their two sons Eugen (15) and Richard (14) embarked on the first long-distance journey in automotive history on an August day in 1888. The route included a few detours and took them from Mannheim to Pforzheim, her place of birth.
With this journey of 180 kilometres including the return trip Bertha Benz demonstrated the practicality of the motor vehicle to the entire world. Without her daring – and that of her sons – and the decisive stimuli that resulted from it, the subsequent growth of Benz & Cie. in Mannheim to become the world’s largest automobile plant of its day would have been unthinkable.
Double-pivot steering, contra engine, planetary gear transmission (1891 – 1897)
It was Carl Benz who had the double-pivot steering system patented in 1893, thereby solving one of the most urgent problems of the automobile. The first Benz with this steering system was the three-hp (2.2-kW) Victoria in 1893, of which slightly larger numbers with different bodies were built. The world’s first production car with some 1200 units built was the Benz Velo of 1894, a lightweight, durable and inexpensive compact car.
1897 saw the development of the “twin engine” consisting of two horizontal single-cylinder units in parallel, however this proved unsatisfactory. It was immediately followed by a better design, the “contra engine” in which the cylinders were arranged opposite each other. This was the birth of the horizontally-opposed piston engine. Always installed at the rear by Benz until 1900, this unit generated up to 16 hp (12 kW) in various versions.
Why was it built?
From what I have found out from researching, in 1885, Benz built a motorcar whose internal combustion engine was powered by gasoline. A love of bicycling had inspired his desire to create this vehicle, and his first design drew on the tricycle. Benz’s three-wheeled automobile, which he called the Motorwagen, could carry two passengers.
Why have cars changed throughout time?
The car as an object has changed in so many ways in the last 100 years of automotive history and it is really interesting to see how the style and the design has evolved during that period. Car design has followed not only the function of the vehicles, but the technology as well. It was influenced by current design trends as well as some classic shapes and forms. But it was always an integral part of the automobile, the biggest and the most important invention of the modern age, and something that people notice first.
The First Generation Cars: The idea of cars came into the mind of man in the early 17th century. There were several unsuccessful trials in the 18th century. The breakthrough in the automobile industry came in the year 1885 when the first gas-powered car was invented. The first cars didn’t have doors, turn signals, and windshields.
The Second Generation: Cars The cars of the second generation resemble the cars we have today, though they lacked the majority of the features of modern cars. They had speedometers, windshields, rear-view mirrors and seat belts. They were introduced in the late 1900s. Following the invention of the gas-powered car, mass production of cars began as many people started appreciating them. As more cars were produced, more features were added. Vehicles that were produced after 1939 had turn signals, electric windows, and air conditioners.
The Modern Car: Modern cars have more safety and technological features than previous sets of cars. Indeed, today, a modest car will have an MP3 player, hard drive, GPS, and an advanced safety system. Other features include keyless entry systems, sunroofs, electric doors, and windows as well as CD players.
The Car of the Future: We have witnessed driverless cars today. Also, there are still environmental concerns, and the car of the future is not expected to emit dangerous gases into the environment. Indeed, the sky is the limit.