The three-wheeled Patent-Motorwagen was built by Karl Benz in 1885 and sold for 600 German imperial marks, or just over $4000 in today’s money. The world received its first look at Benz’s creation on 3 July 1886, and over the following six years, approximately 25 units were produced.
Powering the Patent-Motorwagen was a 954 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine developed by Benz. Delivering a touch under 1 hp at 400 rpm, the engine was revolutionary for its time. However, later examples of the Patent-Motorwagen had more powerful engines, including one with a 2 hp powertrain that could propel the car to 10 mph (16 km/h).
This particular replica, currently for sale through the German marque’s All Time Stars sales specialists, was constructed in 2002 as part of a handful of replicas commissioned by Mercedes-Benz for museum and exhibit purposes.
No mileage details for the replica have been provided, but the company says it as “low mileage” and been kept in its original condition thanks to Mercedes-Benz Classic experts. Unfortunately, no asking price has been made public and it’s virtually impossible to accurately assess what a vehicle like this is worth.
Compared to a modern Mercedes-Benz, the Patent-Motorwagen looks totally foreign. Obviously, it only has three wheels and doesn’t feature an enclosed cabin. Instead, it simply features a leather seat that sits directly above the small combustion engine. The vehicle is also operated via hand controls rather than the pedals we’re accustomed to. Sure, it might look like ancient history to us, but try to imagine how it must have appeared to people at that time who were used to horses and horse-drawn carriages. Plus, this is where it all started…