1910 ‘Prinz Heinrich’ Benz
The first is the 1910 ‘Prinz Heinrich’ Benz, considered to be one of the first true sports cars ever made. The second is a 1907 24/40 hp Benz landaulet, which shows that even in the very earliest years of motoring Mercedes-Benz was focused on luxury.
The ‘Prinz Heinrich’ Benz was developed for the Prinz-Heinrich Fahrt (Prince Heinrich Tour), a race that ran annually between 1908 and 1910 and only permitted production cars to be entered--so strictly no race cars. For the 1910 race, which saw participants travel from the German cities of Berlin to Bad Homburg, the automaker that would become Mercedes-Benz had 10 entrants, one of which was the green beauty you see above.
It’s powered by a four-cylinder engine displacing 5.7 liters and capable of delivering 80 horsepower, and it has a top speed of almost 80 mph.
1907 24/40 hp Benz landauletEnlarge Photo
They all featured a variety of technical features: they all had a four-cylinder engine with cylinders cast together in pairs. Two spark plugs per cylinder drew their current via magneto ignition, and a four-speed transmission was operated via a sliding shift mechanism.
The engine in this car displaced 6.1 liters and produced its namesake 40 horsepower. It had a top speed of approximately 50 mph.
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