Benz Velo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Benz Velocipede
Manufacturer Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik Benz & Cie.
Also called Benz Velo
Production 1894–1901
Designer Karl Benz
Layout RR layout
Engine 1,045 cc (63.8 cu in) single
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Predecessor Benz Patent Motorwagen
Benz Velo at the Toyota Automobil Museum

Karl Benz patented the three-wheeled Patent Motorwagen on 29 January 1886 and produced it as the first commercially available automobile from 1886 through 1893. He followed this initial success with the introduction of the Benz Velo model of 1894. The Velo and the Duryea Motor Wagon, patented in 1895, are credited as the first standardized cars. 67 Benz Velos were built in 1894 and 134 in 1895. The early Velo had a 1L 1.5 hp engine and later a 3 hp engine giving a top speed of 12 mph (19 km/h). The Velo was officially introduced by Karl Benz as the Velocipede, and in 1893 became the worlds first large-scale production car. The Velocipede remained in production between 1894 to 1902, with a final count of over 1,200 produced.[1]

Preceding Events[edit]

Karl Benz patented the world's first stationary, static Internal combustion engine. His patent created a great demand for his vehicles, forcing Benz to move his operations in 1886 from Mannheim to a new factory in Waldhofstrasse (operating until 1908). Benz had appointed a Board of Management to help aid his growing company. These appointees suggested to Benz that he should create a less-expensive automobile suitable for mass-production. In response, Benz engineered a two-passenger automobile with a 3-horsepower engine, which he called the Victoria. This preceding model could reach a top speed of 11 miles per hour, and utilized a pivotal front-axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. 85 units of the Victoria were produced. Improving on these designs, Benz created his Benz Velo.[2]


Following Automobiles[edit]

The Velo also inspired numerous copies, including Marshall (later Belsize) in Manchester,[3] Star (Wolverhampton),[4] and Arnold (Paddock Wood, of which only twelve were built).[4] Benz's Velo was particularly popular in France, where a Parisian bicycle manufacturer by the name of Émile Roger had been building Benz engines under license from Karl Benz. Roger began building Benz automobiles as well, and as a result, a majority of Benz automobiles were sold in France initially.[5] Many British Inventors also used Benz's patents and automobiles as starting points for their own innovations. Frederick W. Lanchester, of Birmingham, built a four-wheeled petrol-driven automobile, similar to units previously designed by Benz, which had utilized an electric starter (an adaption first seen in the Benz Velo).[6]

The First Automobile Race[edit]

Karl Benz's Velo participated in the world's first automobile race. A Parisian daily newspaper, by the name of Le Petit Journal, organized the race. The editors of Le Petit intended to display horseless carriages as a viable means of transportation. Rather than fastest time, the automobiles would be judged on whether they were safe and cost effective to operate.[7] It took place in 1894, starting in Paris and ending in Rouen. The winners of the Paris-Rouen race were Panhard & Levassor(Panhard) and Peugeot, both French manufacturers using Benz internal combustion engines. The Velo placed 5th overall in Le Petit's race. Benz had proven with this race that his engines and his automobiles were not only attainable, but also safe and reliable to operate. Eventually, manufacturers began optimizing automobile design for racing. In addition to promoting Benz and his automobiles, the Paris-Rouen race gave birth to modern Motorsport, which now includes the likes of NASCAR and Formula One.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Danielson, C. "The World's First Production Car, The Benz Patent Motor Car Velocipede Of 1894". eMercedesBenz. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Brain, Adriana. Cars: The Best Book On Cars Ever. PediaPress. pp. 374–380. 
  3. ^ G.N. Georgano Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1990), p.24 caption.
  4. ^ a b G.N. Georgano, p.24 caption.
  5. ^ Brain, Adriana. Cars: The Best Book On Cars Ever. PediaPress. p. 373. 
  6. ^ Brain, Adriana. Cars: The Best Book On Cars Ever. PediaPress. p. 20. 
  7. ^ Andrews, Evan. "World's First Automotive Competition". History. 
  8. ^ "Birth of Motor Sport 120 Years Ago". Media.Daimler. Daimler AG.