This 1894 Benz is the great-grandfather of the modern automobile

The modern era saw the automobile break serious benchmarks. We can now buy supercars with more than 1,000 horsepower that can hit top speeds of more than 300 mph. But the early days of the automobile were much slower. Meet the 1894 Benz Victoria, one of the world’s first road-legal automobiles.

You Absolutely Have to Check Out Germany's Oldest Street-Legal Car - 1894 Benz Victoria
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Introduced in 1893, the Victoria paved the way to the modern vehicle as it was the first to feature four wheels.

Until then, Carl Benz, who later went on to form Mercedes-Benz, built only three-wheeled vehicles. The Victoria is quite primitive compared to modern standards. It has a steering arm instead of a wheel and a lever instead of a gas pedal. It also runs on only two gears and you need to put it in neutral in order to brake.

Power comes from a single-cylinder, 3.0-liter engine that generates three horsepower. The car was updated to six horsepower by 1900.

This specific model, one of the last to survive, is usually displayed in a transport museum. Its owner takes it for a spin from time to time, but driving it for long distances is an issue. Not only it has a small fuel tank, but it also runs on petroleum ether, which these days you can only get at pharmacies.

Find out more about this self-propelled carriage in the video below.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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