Carl Benz developed the world's first automobile in 1885.To do this, he installed a high-speed one-cylinder four-stroke engine (954 cc displacement running at 400 rpm with 0.55 kW/0.75 hp output) horizontally in a specially designed chassis. The top speed was 16 km/h. This three-wheeled patent motor car was an absolute world first: a totally self-contained, self-propelled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.
The patent motor car made its first public appearance on 3 July 1886 on Ringstrasse in Mannheim. Yet it was the long-distance journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in 1888 in the improved Model III patent motor car that was to fully demonstrate the automobile's suitability for everyday use.
That journey was undertaken not by Carl Benz himself, but by his wife, Bertha.In a show of utmost confidence in her husband's invention, which had been filed with the Patent Office on 29 January 1886, Bertha Benz was accompanied by her sons Eugen and Richard – unbeknownst to their father, the inventor – as she took to the wheel on this first long-distance journey in the history of the automobile in August 1888.Bertha and her sons were able to prove how well the concept of a motor vehicle worked at the technical level. At the same time, they gave a practical demonstration of a passenger car, a vehicle use which is of course still typical today.This was set out by Carl Benz in his patent application when he referred to the "operation of mainly light carriages for the conveyance of one to four passengers".