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German History in Documents and Images
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Gottlieb Daimler’s First Automobile (March 8, 1886)
In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900), together with his partner Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929), adapted an early model of the internal combustion engine and patented what is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine. The 1885 Daimler-Maybach engine was small and lightweight, and before the year was out it had been put to use in the first motorcycle and the first motorboat. On March 8, 1886, Daimler took a stagecoach (made by Wilhelm Wimpff & Son) and adapted it so that it could hold his engine. In the process, he ended up designing the world’s first four-wheeled automobile, shown here. It was capable of a top speed of 18 kilometers per hour. In 1890, Daimler founded the Daimler Motor Company in Cannstatt, near Stuttgart, to mass-produce his designs. In 1899, Daimler asked Maybach to design a racing car, which was given the name “Mercedes.”