FEBRUARY 10, 1997

 The Edwards Agency

Features

Motor vehicle history notes: 'This was Number One'

Benz car Courtesy of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association of the United States.
   While his great rival, Gottlieb Daimler, struggled with gas-engine efforts that ran from automotive to aviation to marine, Carl Benz had a single-minded ambition: to create an integrated motorcar. The result was a charming three-wheeled conveyance which, while it wasn't adapted from anything, has earned the title of the "World's First Practical Motorcar."
   Benz was granted a German patent for his three-wheeler on January 16, 1886, and on July 3 of that year, "A velocipede driven by Ligroin gas, built by Benz and Cie, was testing this morning on the Ringstrasse, during which it operated satisfactorily," reported a German publication.
   Benz and Daimler never met, but their companies merged in 1926 to become Daimler-Benz AG.