The first car, Karl Benz's Patent Motor Car, hits the street publicly on July 3, 1886, on the Ringstrasse in Mannheim, Germany.
On Jan. 29, 1886, Benz, a mechanical engineer, applied for a patent in Berlin for his vehicle powered by a gasoline engine. The patent – No. 37435 – is regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile.
The three-wheeled Patent Motor Car weighed about 100 kilograms -- very light by the standards of the period. The horizontal, single-cylinder four-stroke engine had a displacement of 954 cubic centimeters and developed an output of 0.55 kW at an engine speed of 400 rpm.
It featured all the essential components found on most internal combustion engines today: crankshaft with counterweights, electric ignition and water cooling. Other features included a cylinder with open crankcase, an intake slide valve controlled by an eccentric rod, and a poppet exhaust valve actuated by a cam disk, rocker arm and pushrod. The surface carburetor, developed by Benz, contained 4.5 liters of gasoline.
To cover a distance of 100 kilometers, the Patent Motor Car needed about 10 liters of gasoline.
The chassis was made of bent and welded steel tube. Benz designed the vehicle with rear-wheel drive but the vehicle was steered by the front wheel, which was suspended in an unsprung fork and could be steered by a toothed rack connected with a crank.
A multispeed transmission, foot brake and reverse gear were not incorporated in the Patent Motor Car. Speed was controlled by a sleeve valve underneath the driver's seat, and the brake was a hand lever that controlled the countershaft belt pulley.
Nearly 25 Patent Motor Cars were built from 1886-1893 at a price of about $150 each.
The Mercedes-Benz Co. was formed in 1926.