1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe

  • Brand: Benz
  • Car Code: 111073

1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe

Karl Benz is rightfully regarded as one of the pioneers of the modern automobile, having produced the Patent-Motorwagen, likely the first practical motorcar, in 1886. By 1899 Benz had the honor of running the largest and most prolific automobile company in the world, manufacturer of early mass-produced vehicles such as the Benz Victoria and Velo. A Benz even participated in the world's first automobile race, held between Paris and Rouen in 1894. Simply put, at every turn of innovation for the automobile in its early years, a Benz was usually present.

Benz continued to be ahead of his time in virtually every part of the industry. In 1897 he obtained a patent for what he dubbed the Contra-Motor, a horizontally opposed, water-cooled twin-cylinder engine, one of the first of its kind in a world where horseless carriages had previously been powered by only a single cylinder. The natural balance of the opposed cylinders allowed a smaller flywheel to be fitted and permitted higher revs. Benz mated the engine to a three-speed planetary transmission, running the rear wheels via a pair of chains, which could enable his horseless carriage to achieve a top speed of approximately 19 miles per hour.

With the greater pulling power of the Contra-Motor, there was less need for shifting and, therefore, less work for the driver. Steering was more accurate, as well, thanks to the installation of a primitive king-pin system, similar to what would be used in some automobiles and trucks well into the 1950s. The result was an early car that was remarkably easy to drive, in addition to having more power and flexibility for the road.

Today the Benz Contra-Motor is widely considered the forerunner of all other opposed-cylinder engines produced since, and as one of the first true performance engines mounted to an automobile. It is among the most desirable drivetrains of any Veteran automobile and is sought after by all enthusiasts of early motoring, as seen by the number of examples that annually participate in the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & flickr & vanderbiltcupraces & mercedes-benz-publicarchive & other

Production Start 1897
Country of origin Germany