The first Daimler Benz Chryslercedes
By James Grahame
Let's take a leisurely spin back to the year 1886. You can kiss your newfangled electronics goodbye, along with most of the mechanical doo-dads you love so much. Thankfully, it was the year that Karl Friedrich Benz patented "an auto car with gasoline engine" (1886 also saw the introduction of Coca-Cola, which takes care of another addiction of mine). Back then, you see, carriages were usually of the horse drawn variety; much more practical in a world without fuel stations.
LA Times auto critic Dan Neil was lucky enough to take a replica of the original Motorwagen for a jaunt on the streets of Pasadena. They must have been some incredibly quite streets, because this puppy tops out at a mere 18 mph (29 kph):
"...it's cool because this is the real deal, the echt automobile, the genuine article (excepting the fact what I'm driving is actually a factory-built replica of the vehicle that's in the Deutsches Museum in Munich). And from this over-tall seat you can feel all the familiar tinglings, the infatuating sensations of the automobile, pared to their essences. Why did the automobile succeed? And why is it still succeeding, in places like China and India, where citizens are mortgaging their meager lives to get a car? Here truth is revealed: The pleasure of cars isn't about high-end audio systems and heated seats. It's about mechanically multiplied self-determination. Free will with leverage. It sure beats walking."