Happy Birthday, Car!

January 29, 2008

Mercedes-Benz sent us a lovely card today reminding us that today, January 29th, is what they consider the birthday of the automobile. Of course we normally send out our own salutations by e-card. It must have been lost in the spam filter. We swear.

You probably don’t remember it like yesterday, but in 1886 Karl Benz applied for a patent for a “vehicle with gas-engine operation.” Karl’s “Motorwagen” had a four-stroke gas engine, three wheels, front-wheel steering and the name Tri-Car. That vehicle is now located in a museum in Stuttgart, has a top speed of 10 miles per hour, 0.75 horsepower and displaced 58 cubic inches.

Across town that same year, Gottlieb Daimler’s motorized carriage also appeared in 1886, making it the first four-wheeled automobile with an internal-combustion engine on the planet. Add Daimler plus Benz and...well, you don’t get Chrysler, that’s for sure.

In case you’re updating iCal, Karl’s birthday is November 25. We’ll remind the Benz PR team to update their Amazon wish list accordingly. Meanwhile, please to enjoy this highly interactive tour of the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, with a warning: it’s so Flash-heavy you’ll think you’re in Central Park instead of Swabia.

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