Published on August 18th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair


This Month in Automotive History  – Early-Mid August

In August of 1888, Bertha Benz took her sons Richard and Eugen on the world’s first ever roadtrip! Well, more accurately, the world’s first ever roadtrip in a horseless carriage. That’s right, Karl Benz may have invented the automobile, but his wife was the one to prove its practicality in real world situations.


The car that was used for this 19th century escapade through the newly unified German nation was a Patent Motorwagen No.3. As far as car model names go, that one wasn’t quite so catchy. Still though, the German cruiser managed the 104 kilometre route from Mannheim to Pforzheim without any mechanical breakdowns nor anyone with mechanical expertise on board for the ride. Thanks to her insight on the long distance journey, Karl Benz learnt a few things about how motorcars performed in the real world and even added a lower gear for hill climbs.

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That doesn’t sound like quite an achievement in today’s world, but when you consider the fact that all other travel in motorcars before this trip was over very short distances and with a handyman on board, you really have to admire her courage.  The whole reason she made the trip in the first place wasn’t just to visit her mother, but to prove that the automobile wasn’t just a clever invention, but one with a financially viable future. And the rest, as they say, is history!

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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