Carl Benz was fascinated by things technical. As early as 1877, he applied himself to designing stationary internal combustion engines as a substitute for the steam engine. But he soon discovered that these drives were suited for more than just stationary use. The idea of the self-propelled vehicle – the automobile – took shape. Before long, Benz realised that it was not enough to simply install an engine in a horse-drawn carriage and declare it an automobile. Applying classic engineering methods, he recognised the limitations of the existing art and created innovative technology: a horizontal petrol-powered single-cylinder four-stroke engine, the electric ignition, the clutch, the carburetor, the radiator, a kind of gearshift and a differential for the two driven wheels.
Equipped with these items, the first motor car rolled out in 1885. It was not merely a modified carriage, but a wholly new design for which Carl Benz registered a patent on January 29, 1886. This motor car was the first automobile in the history of Daimler AG, and it was sold in small numbers.
At the same time, it was the first research car in corporate history, for the motives that incited Carl Benz to build his car remain unchanged for every present-day research car from Daimler AG. Each represents bold thinking far ahead into the future, combining several innovative technologies and making them experienceable. At the same time the technologies get tested and are introduced to the public. This was true for the Benz Patent Motor Car, and it holds for the latest research car.