Designed and built by Karl Benz in Mannheim between 1885 and 1886, a high three-wheeled self-propelled petrol-powered wagon was recognized as the first car in the world. At the beginning of 1886, Benz received a patent for it. Behind the seat of the car was a single-cylinder engine with a huge horizontal flywheel leading the rear wheels through a belt drive.
The first car turned out to be unstable, and therefore, in 1893, Benz began producing a 4-wheeled two-seater “Viktoria” car with a 3-cylinder single-cylinder engine. It was followed by more powerful models. In 1894, a small two-seater “Velo” appeared with a single-cylinder engine of 1045 cm3 capacity of only 1.5 hp, which developed a top speed of 20 km / h. He became the world's first mass-produced car. It was copied by many companies. The basis of the first Russian car Evgeny Yakovlev and Peter Frese, built in 1896, were these first-born Benz.
In the early years of its existence, “Benz” constantly competed with the company Daimler, which also owns the laurels of superiority in creating the first car, but already four-wheeled. In 1901, Daimler launched its revolutionary Mercedes, and his business quickly went uphill, although before that it was in 10th place in the production of passenger cars.
To catch up, the French engineer Marius Barbarou was invited to develop a new family of cars. His design did not like the Benz. As a result, Benz left the company he founded and two years later founded a new company in Ladenburg - S. Benz & Sohne.
Cars created by Barbarou were powered by 10-cylinder 2-cylinder engines; 12 and 14 h.p. and 4-cylinder in 20 and 30 hp They did not live up to their hopes. The Frenchman had to be replaced by the German Fritz Erie. Things began to get better only after the talented engineer Hans Nibel took over the technical leadership of Benz. He created a whole gamut of Benz cars with engines with displacement from 1950 to 10,080 cm3 with power up to 105 hp. But his main merit was the new overhead 4-cylinder engine with a giant displacement of 21,504 cm3 for high-speed cars, created in a very short time.
In 1910, Karl Benz took over the leadership of Suddeutsche Automobil-fabrik in Gaggenau, where they began production of Orient Express, Lilliput, SAF and Gaggenau automobiles. The most advanced passenger cars were the “Gaggenau” with 35 and 60 hp engines. By the beginning of the First World War, the Mannheim factory produced a 6 / 18PS sports car with an overhead valve 4-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1570 cm3.
“Benz” before the war produced a whole gamut of racing cars that defended the honor of the brand on European sports tracks. The most famous car, created in 1909, was the "Blitzen Benz" with a 200-hp engine and an aerodynamic body made by Edmund Rumpler.
In 1923, the company introduced two new cars with 6-cylinder engines with a volume of 2860 and 4130 cm3, and then at 7025 cm3. All of them were produced until 1926.
A significant event in world automobile history took place that year - “Benz” and “Daimler” merged into the company “Daimler-Benz”, which became the ancestor of the automobile brand “Mercedes-Benz”.