The 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen is slow to wake up

The 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen is hardly push-button. In fact, starting one is more akin to building a house of cards than turning a key. Each step is important and should even one be forgotten or executed improperly, rather than hitting the town and heading to your favorite restaurant, you’ll be headed to your kitchen for dinner. If you ever find yourself in possession of the original or an exacting reppca pke this one, here’s how you operate it.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/13/1886-benz-patent-motorwagen-slow-to-wake

Gee, makes me feel like starting Herbie shouldn’t be that difficult after all. :grinning:

Seriously, though reading this gives you an appreciation as to how far automotive technology has come.


“Air” on the side of… Really?

@01ksdavis - The wildest part is you can also look at the Motorwagen and see how far we HAVEN’T come!

After all that time to start the motor, my wife probably would still not be ready to go. Yes, we have come a long way, considering many cars now have a remote start as standard equipment.

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These are very helpful instructions. Gee, I wish this article would have appeared a few years ago! :sweat_smile: A docent from the museum traveled across the country to another museum to see how they had done it. The Motorwagen also runs well on white gas, aka stove fuel.

There are some who have been brave enough to drive the museum’s Motorwagen around the parking lot. It’s hard to imagine Bertha taking her kids on the first cross country trip by automobile on one. Imagine 121 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim before there were any roads.

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@bradleydad - Driving one is an exercise in patience and remembering you are teetering four foot up in the air on a leaf-sprung high-wheeler. It is probably the closest thing to time travel I have personally experienced though. Even with a few concessions and modernizations, this old beast is so finicky. It is quite rewarding to get it right and hear it sputtering along.

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This is very helpful!! I am a docent at the Blackhawk Museum, and we have a Patent Motorwagen replica. I can address more visitor questions now. Credit to Bertha and the boys…

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