The first automobile made by Karl Benz(1885-1886)

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The first stationary gasoline engine developed by Karl Benz was a one-cylinder two-stroke unit which ran for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1879. Benz had so much commercial success with this engine that he was able to devote more time to his dream of creating a lightweight car powered by a gasoline engine, in which the chassis and engine formed a single unit.

The major features of the two-seater vehicle, which was completed in 1885, were the compact high-speed single-cylinder four-stroke engine installed horizontally at the rear, the tubular steel frame, the differential and three wire-spoked wheels. The engine output was 0.75 hp (0.55 kW). Details included an automatic intake slide, a controlled exhaust valve, high-voltage electrical vibrator ignition with spark plug, and water/thermo siphon evaporation cooling.

On January 29, 1886, Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle powered by a gas engine.” The patent – number 37435 – may be regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile. In July 1886 the newspapers reported on the first public outing of the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1.

Long-distance journey by Bertha Benz (1888)

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Using an improved version and without her husband’s knowledge, Benz’s wife Bertha and their two sons Eugen (15) and Richard (14) embarked on the first long-distance journey in automotive history on an August day in 1888. The route included a few detours and took them from Mannheim to Pforzheim, her place of birth. With this journey of 180 kilometers including the return trip Bertha Benz demonstrated the practicality of the motor vehicle to the entire world. Without her daring – and that of her sons – and the decisive stimuli that resulted from it, the subsequent growth of Benz & Cie. in Mannheim to become the world’s largest automobile plant of its day would have been unthinkable.

Double-pivot steering, contra engine, planetary gear transmission (1891 – 1897)

2008dig1668-w385xh0It was Karl Benz who had the double-pivot steering system patented in 1893, thereby solving one of the most urgent problems of the automobile. The first Benz with this steering system was the three-hp (2.2-kW) Victoria in 1893, of which slightly larger numbers with different bodies were built. The world’s first production car with some 1200 units built was the Benz Velo of 1894, a lightweight, durable and inexpensive compact car.

1897 saw the development of the “twin engine” consisting of two horizontal single-cylinder units in parallel, however this proved unsatisfactory. It was immediately followed by a better design, the “contra engine” in which the cylinders were arranged opposite each other. This was the birth of the horizontally-opposed piston engine. Always installed at the rear by Benz until 1900, this unit generated up to 16 hp (12 kW) in various versions.

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Rare Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo 2 Eyes for $286K Auction Price

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Only four examples were sold new in the UK, one of them will soon be offered at Silverstone Auctions’ Salon Prive auction: the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo 2. The Benz classic was once sold new in the UK and is supposed to bring in an estimate of 180,000 – 220,000 GBP.

Continue reading “Rare Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo 2 Eyes for $286K Auction Price”

1938 Buick Y-Job Concept Makes National Historic Vehicle Register


General Motors’ styling department, led by design legend Harley Earl, was tasked in the late 1930s with imagining the car of tomorrow. That car, known internally as the Buick “Y-Job,” predicted the design trends of the 1950s and beyond, and is regarded by many as the first American concept car. Now, the Y-Job is getting some official recognition as the 14th vehicle entered into the National Historic Vehicle Register.The National Historic Vehicle Register is a program established in 2014 by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) with help from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs, and Library of Congress. The register’s mission is to document significant automobiles from America’s history. The Y-Job’s addition to the register coincides with the opening of the HVA’s National Laboratory in Allentown, Pa., which was built to advance the expansion of the program. The facility houses a 3D scanner, a 40 x 40-foot white room with vehicle turntable for photography and videography, and the HVA’s physical and digital archives. The Y-Job was the first car to be documented at the laboratory.The Y-Job was a two-door convertible built on a Buick chassis and powered by a Buick Series 50 engine equipped with experimental features. But the Y-Job’s real claim to fame is its design. The car’s low, wide body meant it didn’t need running boards, which were commonly used on cars of the day. The low and wide philosophy also aided in stability. The fenders wrapped around the front end for a more streamlined look, and the boat-tail rear completely hid the convertible top. The Y-Job also marked the first appearance of the tailfin, a design trend that wouldn’t become popular until the ’50s. In addition, the concept originated Buick’s trademark waterfall grille and employed retractable headlights.

The History of Mercedes-Benz

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The German luxury car-manufacturer has been around for more than a century, having elegantly drifted  the both smooth and rough curves of automobile history. Responsible for the modern internal combustion engine’s genesis, the ‘fathers’ of the Mercedes-Benz brand practically invented the automobile.

Many years ago when mahogany canes and high-top hats were the ultimate fashion and social prominence statements, two men by the names of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler were busy freeing the world from horse-powered  transportation. The 1886 archetype of the modern engine, their device was not a result of team-work but of independent and synchronous research and development. Although both lived in Southern Germany, they never actually met if historical accounts are to be believed.

Despite the equal share of the two engineer’s contribution to the development of the four-stroke petrol engine, it was Gottlieb Daimler who garnered more attention that would eventually lead to world-spread fame. Following Daimler’s successful results in racing, a wealthy Austrian business man by the name of Emil Jellinek became interested in the Unterturkheim-built cars. Daimler and his chief-engineer, Wilhelm Maybach’s work had pleased Jellinek to the extent of him approaching the two with a business proposal: a large number of cars would be ordered in exchange to a name change from Daimler to Mercedes – Jellinek daughter’s name –  and the right to alter the car’s designs as well as the right to resell the vehicles in some European countries, including Austria, France and Belgium.

Well before the WWI outbreak, Gotllieb Daimler had gained a reputation for his vehicles that was greater than that of Benz. However, the latter would  strive to keep up, managing to stay close to Daimler’s tail. In 1908, both manufacturers shared the podium with winnings in the French Grand Prix.

After having converted their factories to cater for Army demands during WWI, the two rivals were brought together by a a series of circumstances, dictated by precarious economic status and impossibility of self-support. Thus, the Daimler’s Motorengesellshaft merged with Benz & Cie in 1926, morphing into the larger Daimler – Benz AG.

Ever since, Mercedes-Benz cars have been some of the best cars in the world, standing as symbols of  flawless quality and cutting edge engineering. In fact, the men behind the brand are responsible for the development of countless improvements that cover every inch of a car’s anatomy.

Despite having been widely criticized for alleged forced employment and violation of human rights during the Second World War, Mercedes – Benz have been successful at building an automotive empire, strongly supported by some of the company’s far-from-average clients, such as state leaders, media moguls and ridiculously rich families.

Mercedes – Benz have become known particularly for their  limousines, most of which can be seen in most movies ever since the Lumiere brothers became famous for their ‘little’ invention called cinematography. As if outstanding product quality and world fame weren’t enough, the Mercedes – Benz team has also fathered tons of innovations, many of them targeting the simple four-cylinder engine.

28 years after Otto revealed his prototype of a four-stroke gasoline engine, Wilhelm Maybach  perfected his idea and built an engine for Daimler to be used in boats only. Development of the engine that would eventually propel land, water and air vehicles fulfilling Daimler’s dream, took some 8 years before being fitted on the Daimler Phoenix model, the first vehicle in the world to be equipped with such an engine.

Meanwhile, Karl Benz was busy working on a four-cylinder horizontally-opposed piston engine as an improvement of his 1897 contra-design. 1900saw the release of the improved contra-engine and completion of Benz’s work at the time. Some of the advantages the horizontal design had over its in-line counterpart were room and dynamics related. The opposed horizontal placement and firing order of the pistons meant very few vibrations, a lower center of gravity as well as more space for fitting other devices like turbo or superchargers.

The early 1900’s brought forth a second series of engineering innovations with Maybach’s development of the “hammer” engine-design for Daimler that earned its name thanks to its dual-camshaft controlled lateral intake and exhaust valves; Daimler also came up with the Simplex in 1902, a racing car powered by an in-line four cylinder engine that featured overhead intake valves and rod-driven exhaust valves. To ensure low working temperatures, the Simplex design also boasted double walled cylinders to accommodate an even cooling water flow as close as possible to the heat source.

The origins of hybrid vehicles are not as recent as one  may think. In fact, they can be traced as far back as the 1900’s, when the Mercedes Mixte range was released. These cars used 45 or 70 hp engines to power electrical generators. A special device, or ‘hub’, was then used to convert the obtained electrical energy into drive power. Built by DMG (Daimler Mottorengesellshaft), the vehicles were quite a hit at the time having won races such as the Exelberg.

Mercedes-Benz is also guilty of breaking a number of speed records, among which ramming the 200 km/h barrier is probably the mots notable. The idea of a vehicle that could reach such a speed as early as 1909 seems far fetched today but Benz’s Lightning stands proof. Such a performance could only be achieved by displacement growth at the time and despite its lean-sounding name, the Lightning was a monster powered by a 21.5 liter engine.

After several other improvements like the introduction of  3-valve dual-ignition and 4-valve engines, DMG would set foot in the turbocharger era. The company’s early involvement in aero-engine construction paid of in 1921 when an engine based on WWI aero-designs was developed by Paul Daimler.

As far as diesel trucks go, Benz did it first. The OB 2 diesel engine was revealed in 1923 and 1924 saw the release of the world’s first diesel truck. Soon after Daimler and Benz joined hands in a profitable twirl of brilliant inventions, the 260 D model would premier in 1936: it was the world’s first diesel-run passenger car. As expected, several improvements on the 260 D would follow. However, the German manufacturer’s quests for leaner diesel engines would soon be hampered by the WWII outbreak.

After taking a forced and most unwelcome break from passenger-car making and engine research during the war, Mercedes – Benz resumed their activities, releasing the 170 V model in 1946. Based on the 260 D, the 4-cylinder 1.7 engine it was equipped with predated the release of the 170 D in 1949, a car that reignited customer’s interest in the brand while ensuring the company’s comeback.

During the 50’s, Mercedes – Benz produced some of their best looking cars ever such as the 190 and 300 SL. The first was a compact roadster that garnered acclaim after setting a new world diesel record in 1959. The latter is none other then the famous gull-winged model that is apparently making a comeback through the SLC model that is still to be revealed. Besides its stunning looks, the 300 SL was the first production vehicle to benefit from early fuel-injection technology.

By the time the 80’s came, the world had already grown concerned with the effects of CO2 emissions and overall car pollution. Mercedes – Benz were among the first to comply with regulations through the introduction of the closed-loop three-way catalytic converter in 1985. With this and several oil-filter changes, like easy from-above access, Mercedes – Benz vehicles went further to become even more advanced.

By the early 1990’s, their diesel car range had completely switched to four-valve intake/exhaust systems and carburetors were dropped in favor of fuel injection systems. A few years later, Mercedes – Benz moved into developing superchargers which it did through the release of the C 230 Kompressor.

After marking a new era in mechanical supercharging technology, Mercedes went on to cross new borders through the release of new engineering concepts and ground breaking designs. The BlueTec system unveiled in 2005 was developed with only one though in mind: cutting CO2 emissions, achievement made possible through the use of SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction).  Two other notable events occurred the same year with the release of the A 200 Turbo engine for the A-Klasse and the organic-looking Bionic concept.

Mercedes – Benz was the first to fit ABS and ESP systems on its cars and lately it has truly crossed the line with the DiesOtto engine which premiered at the 2004 Frankurt Moto Show. The DiesOtto boasts variable combustion chambers while delivering the advantages of both gasoline and diesel drives. Its CAI (Controlled Auto Ignition) allows the spark plugs to stop firing at higher temperatures when fuel, gasoline in this case, can be ignited the same way diesel can. The route researchers have taken to achieve variable combustion chambers remains unveiled yet although it is sure to be made public in a few years from now when the DiesOtto is likely to start replacing regular engines.

Ford Thunderbird 1961-1963


Transforming the two-seat T-bird to a four-seat personal luxury car had paid off for the Ford Motor Company. Sales had increased every year since 1958, and a third-generation Thunderbird, introduced in November of 1960, was well-received. With pointed nose, recessed headlamps, twin round taillights and tailfins, the third-generation Thunderbird became known as the “bullet-bird”.

1961 Thunderbird

The new hard-top model had softer roof lines than its “square-bird” predecessor. On the convertible models, the forward end of the trunk lid was still rear-hinged, which raised and lowered through hydraulic cylinders. With the top down and trunk lid lowered, there was no sight of the soft-top. The standard and only engine offered was Ford’s 390-cid V8, rated at 300-horsepower. Transmission was a three-speed automatic.

1961 T-bird Interior

A restyled dashboard, curved at both ends, blended smoothly into the door panels. The traditional-dash mounted glove-box was gone and a center-console glove-box took its place. Optional in 1961, then becoming standard equipment, was the swing-away steering wheel feature. With the car in park and the driver’s door opened, the wheel moved to the side to help entry and exit. Thunderbird sales figures for 1961 were 62,535 hardtops and 10,516 convertibles.

1961 was the 50th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Race, and the redesigned Thunderbird was chosen to be the pace car. A white convertible top set off a unique shade of gold metallic paint. As Firestone was sponsoring the race this year, Thunderbird pace cars were fitted with that brand of tire. Ford provided a total of 34 Thunderbird Convertibles, including one official Pace Car, one alternate Pace Car, and thirty-two Indy 500 festival Cars.300hp 390c.i. V-8 The Official Pace Car was given to Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt as part of his winnings.

1962 Thunderbird

New Ford General Manager Lee Iacocca believed that adding more models would attract customers to dealer showrooms. One of two new models for the Thunderbird was the Landau Edition. Based on the coupe, it featured a vinyl-covered roof, available in either black or white. Simulated S-bars appeared on the roof pillars and would become a Thunderbird trademark. Inserts at the center of the S-bar matched the color of the vinyl top. The Landau edition was one of the first cars to popularize the vinyl roof, which soon found its way on many makes and models.


Thunderbird Sports Roadster

Four years after the original T-bird was discontinued, Ford dealers were still hearing complaints and getting requests for another two-seat ‘Bird. In response, Ford offered the Thunderbird Sports Roadster. Starting with a standard Thunderbird convertible, a fiberglass tonneau cover was fitted over the rear seats, turning the four-seat Thunderbird into a two-seat roadster. The removable fiberglass cover was contoured to match the lines of the car, with twin raised headrests covered in padded vinyl that matched the seat upholstery. A dash-mounted grab-bar was mounted on the passenger side of the dash. The convertible top could still operate with the tonneau cover in place.


1962 Thunderbird

New Ford General Manager Lee Iacocca believed that adding more models would attract customers to dealer showrooms. One of two new models for the Thunderbird was the Landau Edition. Based on the coupe, it featured a vinyl-covered roof, available in either black or white. Simulated S-bars appeared on the roof pillars and would become a Thunderbird trademark. Inserts at the center of the S-bar matched the color of the vinyl top. The Landau edition was one of the first cars to popularize the vinyl roof, which soon found its way on many makes and models.
1963 Ford Thunderbird Landau

Four years after the original T-bird was discontinued, Ford dealers were still hearing complaints and getting requests for another two-seat ‘Bird. In response, Ford offered the Thunderbird Sports Roadster. Starting with a standard Thunderbird convertible, a fiberglass tonneau cover was fitted over the rear seats, turning the four-seat Thunderbird into a two-seat roadster. The removable fiberglass cover was contoured to match the lines of the car, with twin raised headrests covered in padded vinyl that matched the seat upholstery. A dash-mounted grab-bar was mounted on the passenger side of the dash. The convertible top could still operate with the tonneau cover in place.
1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster

Chrome-plated wire-wheels, manufactured by Kelsey-Hayes, were included with the Sports Roadster package. Because there was not enough clearance for the knock-off centers, rear fender skirts were not used on cars equipped with the wire-wheels. Although tubeless tires had been in use for several years, inner tubes were required with the wire wheel option. The beautiful but troublesome 48-spoke rims could be ordered on other Thunderbird models at additional cost.
Exterior colors on the Sports Roadster were limited to less than half of other Thunderbird models. Roadster models are among the most prized of all Thunderbirds, which has led to clones being made from standard convertibles. 1,882 authentic Z-code Roadsters were built during the two years offered. Dealer-produced versions are also known to exist.
1962 T-bird Production Figures
1962 Thunderbird sales were slightly higher than 1961. Production of 78,011 broke down into 68,127 hardtop and landau models and 9,884 convertibles and sports roadsters.
Ford 390 M-code Engine Option
Ford’s Tri-power induction system, first available in 1961, became optional on Thunderbirds in 1962. Ordering the M-code option got the 390-cid motor topped with a factory 3×2 aluminum intake. Three Holley carburetors operated with a progressive, mechanical throttle linkage. M-Code Thunderbirds are quite rare, with about 200 sold between 1962 and 1963. Most of them were ordered with the Sports Roadster package.

1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic


The Type 57 Atlantic is the kind of car that can never be copied, reproduced or emulated without utterly ruining the memory. The sheet metal alone will send you home drooling, as if you’d seen the most sensuous woman in the world. With curves galore and an elongated hood, the Atlantic looked like nothing else on the road in its day and still stands apart over the generations. Like a vintage era Batmobile, it’s both Powerful and elegant. It now auctions north of 30 million dollars and is essentially the world’s most expensive car.

1953 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE

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Price: $660.000

The car was purchased from the original owner’s estate in 1972 for $5,000. This Corvette is VIN #181 of the 300 produced during the first model year. The car still wears its original tires, top, interior, mechanicals and a majority of the original paint. The spare tire was never used. The vehicle currently has 9,260 miles on the odometer. Chip swore he’s never put the odometer into five digit territory in his lifetime. Due to complications with amyloidosis in 2004, Chip passed away. His son, Lance, is selling the vehicle to allow a lucky collector to enjoy the very best. High points since 1972 include Bloomington Gold Certification and Hall of Fame, NCRS meets, AACA Senior Award, Franklin Mint produced the model from this car, Bloomington Gold Special Collection, Meadowbrook Hall Concours d’Elegance, Zora Duntov paraded with Chip in 1995, America’s Motoring Milestone display, various TV appearances and more. Includes a matching pedal car. Being sold as a pair with a 2003 Corvette. It has a matching VIN with the ’03 and matching miles. Both vehicles have less than 10,000 original miles.