Lot 208

London 2023

1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen Replica


£32,200 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Engine No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • A stunning replica of arguably the world’s first production automobile
  • Built by John Bentley Engineering
  • Powered by a 954 cc single cylinder engine producing 0.75 horsepower

Many contraptions can lay claim to the title of “first automobile,” yet historians generally agree that the Benz Patent-Motorwagen is the first such machine to have achieved production success. Completed in 1885 by German inventor Karl Benz and patented the following year, approximately 25 were built between 1886 and 1893. This pioneering machine would lay the foundations for one of the largest and most successful automotive manufacturers of all time: Mercedes-Benz.

Despite its rather delicate appearance, tricycle configuration, and primitive tiller steering, closer inspection reveals a surprisingly sophisticated design that was more than a match for its limited period competition. At its heart lies a lightweight 954 cc horizontally mounted single-cylinder engine that produced 0.75 horsepower. The fascinating engine is fitted with a vertical crankshaft and electric ignition, with power channelled to the rear wheels via a belt primary drive and large horizontal flywheel, which in turn drives dual chains linked to the rear axle.

The closest one can get to experience driving the world’s first motorcar comes courtesy of John Bentley Engineering, which produced a series of exacting recreations that are accurate to the original in every respect, save their ability to run on petrol rather than an archaic petroleum product called ligroin. Such is the level of detail and accuracy that approximately 100 of these Patent-Motorwagen recreations were commissioned by Mercedes-Benz Classic itself, testament to John Bentley’s skill and the quality of his craftsmanship.

This stunning example of John Bentley’s craft has its tubular chassis is finished in black. It presents beautifully and would make a fascinating addition to any collection of landmark motorcars.