autonetwork

HomecatalogLifeCarsLogin
...

First Drive: 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen


A guy named Karl Benz recently filed a patent for this here contraption, something he's calling a "Motorwagen." The idea is that you burn a substance called gasoline through a small internal-combustion engine, and somehow this is roped to two of the three wheels and will magically propel the contraption forward. It will never fly, as surely as my horse's name is Ed.

First of all, where will you get this magical fluid? I'm not saying it doesn't exist -- it actually does, in large quantities, under sand in the Middle East. But what I am saying is that gasoline-powered personal mobility is little more than a pipe dream. Mr. Benz might as well have developed a machine that runs on good intentions!

Now, what's actually underground in places like Persia, Guzarat, and Malabar is oil, which has to be refined -- at great cost, mind you -- into gasoline. Then you have to transport hundreds, if not thousands, of liquid tons of the stuff vast distances to the few dozen people who might possibly be interested in horseless conveyance. And speaking of horses...

 I could bore you with the math, but hay is cheap. Really, really cheap. And it's everywhere, literally growing in the field behind the building where I'm typing. Run out of this newfangled gasoline, and you're on your own (sorry, sir!), but run out of hay? Never! In fact you can just let your horse munch away in peace while you get yourself some food and drink, a much more pleasant alternative to running all over creation looking for this gasoline stuff.

Which leads me to one other point: Horses work. Food (hay!), some water, a little shelter, and they take you wherever you want to go.

But this Motorwagen? On the only known road trip so far undertaken, Mrs. Bertha Benz had to jump the following hurdles: she had to track down fuel at a pharmacy; the air/fuel mixer (called a carburetor) became clogged and she had to use one of her hatpins to unclog it; a blacksmith was needed to reweld the drive chain; a shoemaker had to attach a strip of leather to the brakes; and the final indignity: She had to use one of her own garters to insulate a wire!

Nice try, Mr. Benz, but we really can't see a future for a machine that forces our women into a state of duress and undress. I'll stick to my horse, thanks much.
.hdr {color:#ffffff;font:bold 12px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#343434;} .hdr1 {color:#000000;font:bold 09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#aba9a9;} .hdr2 {color:#000000;font:09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#dddddd;} .hdr3 {color:#000000;font:09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#FFFFFF;} 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen Base price Ein arm und ein bein Vehicle Layout Rear engine, RWD, 2-pass, 0-door roadster Engine 0.9L/0.66-hp 2-valve 1-cyl Transmission 1-speed Curb weight Half a horse Wheelbase 62.0 in Length x width x height Picutre 2 shetlands hitched EPA city/hwy fuel econ What's that? On sale April 1

(Source)


Feed
First Drive: 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec
Sure, there's a refined 5.0-liter gas direct-injection V-8 under the hood, coupled to an impressive new house-designed eight-speed automatic transmission. And yes, it makes 429 horsepower and can propel...

read more

0
read comments 
First Drive: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0
Porsche churns out so many run-out editions of the 911 that collectors must be feeling pretty gouged by now. There's the 911 Carrera 4 GTS, the 911 Black Edition Cabriolet, the 911 Turbo S Edition 918...

read more

0
read comments 
First Look: 2012 Buick Verano
Will Buick repeat its Enclave magic with the Verano? The Enclave shares its platform with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. It also shares Buick-GMC dealership floors with the Acadia Denali, a premium...

read more

0
read comments 
First Look: 2012 Ford C-Max U.S. Spec
Ford expects its share of the growing c-segment, or compact category, in the United States to reach 200,000 units per year in the next couple of years. Yes, it's well on its way even with the current,...

read more

0
read comments