1911 Benz 50HP Victoria Open Tourer by Demarest

  • Brand: Benz
  • Car Code: 111117

By the time that the 1900s rolled into the 1910s, Benz had already become one of the world's most prestigious and foremost automakers, revered for the exceptional engineering and performance of its product. What had, only a decade prior, been a well-built "horseless carriage" was now among the largest and fastest road vehicles available.

Among the offerings from Benz's 1911 catalogue was a 50hp model. As recorded by Dennis Adler in an article on this very automobile in the November/1989 edition of The Star, the 50hp model seems to have been only occasionally listed in Benz promotional materials for the American market. It "appears to have been an anomaly of sorts, built as a special order...[It uses] a dual T-head design with two camshafts, one on the induction side, another on the exhaust side; a dual ignition, with Bosch high tension magneto and supplementary battery/coil, has separate spark plugs and switches for each system. The 50hp engine has the same bore and stroke, 125x150 mm, as the 60hp, but with a Stromberg carburetor in place of the Zenith of the 60hp." The engine was mounted on a 127-in.-wheelbase frame and weighed 2,640 pounds before coachwork was added. It was, in sum, a considerably larger automobile than lesser Benz models.

American bodies for the Benz were produced by a handful of coachbuilders, with one of the most respected being the A.T. Demarest Company of New York City. Demarest's stature in the coachwork world is best embodied by their former headquarters in New York City, which eventually became the original headquarters building for none other than General Motors. Today very few examples of Demarest's coachwork remain in existence worldwide, but those that do are admired for their lean crispness of line and exceptional quality of construction.

This 50 hp Benz Victoria Touring was delivered from Mannheim as a chassis only and was equipped with a touring body by A.T. Demarest & Co. It is the only known example of its kind with a 50 hp engine. The Benz catalog for the U.S. in 1911 included 18 hp, 30 hp, 45 hp and 60 hp models but none with this 4-cylinder 6.5-liter 50 hp engine.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & bonhams & mercedesheritage & other

Production Start 1911
Country of origin Germany