The Auburn Auction

Lot 49
1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen


Selling on Saturday Evening

1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen

• Exact replica from Bentley & Sons Engineering
• Previously of the Donington Grand Prix Collection
• Representing the world’s first production car


Serial No: 35
SOLD ON BILL OF SALE ONLY

58.2 cid horizontally-mounted single-cylinder engine, belt primary drive and chain final drive, rear leaf-spring suspension, mechanical transmission brake; wheelbase: 57.9”


In the late 1800s, inventors on both sides of the Atlantic were hard at work on creating a horseless carriage. In the United States, the Duryea Brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts made their first successful test of a motorcar in September of 1893 while, in Europe, Karl Benz built his “Patent-Motorwagen” in 1885. The major difference between the Duryea Brothers’ car and the Patent-Motorwagen was that Benz managed to actually put his car into production, thereby making it available to the general public. Indeed, Benz’s Patent-Motorwagen is widely recognized today as the first production car in the world.

Offered here is an exact re-creation of the first Benz model. This authentic representation of the first mass produced motorcar was created by John Bentley & Sons Engineering in England. The company started building full-size operational replicas of the Patent-Motorwagen in 1986 and they proved so popular that they were produced until 1997 before production ended. The re-creation of the Patent-Motorwagen was no small task as Bentley and his team were granted access to the original Benz in order to study the car in every way. The result is that the Bentley & Sons built Patent-Motorwagens are considered to be the most authentic re-creation of Karl Benz’s original work. The example offered here was built in 1990 and has only been displayed since built. It is formerly from the Donington Grand Prix Collection in the U.K. and was sold to a U.S. collector in 1997 where it remained in his museum until recently. It is still in excellent condition and is now ready for display and perhaps a drive now and then. The incredible detail involved in this re-creation is a visual delight with beautiful woodwork, polished copper and brass, and a huge flywheel that spins lateral to the car. It rides on thin rubber tires with large wire spoke rims. Steering is through a tiller and power comes from a 58.2 cubic-inch horizontally mounted single-cylinder engine with a primary belt primary drive and final chain final drive to the wheels. Needless to say, this wonderful little engine has a distinct sound all its own.

The exact replication of this historic motorcar makes it an eye catching bookend for any collection. As the earliest production car known, it’s an artifact that delights the eyes as much as it does driving. Indeed, it’s certainly a fine tribute to Karl Benz’s vision of a world on wheels.

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