Monday, October 29, 2012

Daimler Riding Car, 1885. The World’s First Motorbike.

Gottlieb Daimler and his ingenious colleague Wilhelm Maybach moved to Cannstatt near Stuttgart in 1882. Differences between the fifty-year-old Nikolaus August Otto and Daimler, two years his junior, had led to the latter’s departure from the Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz on the outskirts of Cologne. Now a wealthy man Daimler, could afford to make himself independent.

For 75,000 Goldmarks he bought a villa in Taubenheimstrasse in Cannstatt and moved there with his wife Emma and five children in June 1882. The property was ideal for his purposes: not only was it directly next to the spa facilities Daimler regularly visited for treatment for his weak heart, but it also benefited from a large garden and spacious summer house. He had an extension added to the latter, and installed a gas and water supply – his test workshop was ready.

In early October, Maybach also arrived in Cannstatt. He moved into a nearby property and initially converted one room of his apartment into a design office. Here he kept the drawing board on which he turned Daimler’s ideas into technical drafts: Maybach was skilled at giving them a functional form – and Daimler knew the value of his technician. When the two men agreed a contract even before leaving Deutz, Maybach was guaranteed substantial remuneration.

The goal shared by the two men was to develop a small, lightweight high-speed engine that was above all suitable for powering a vehicle. They were not alone, however. All around the world others were working on the same idea.

In 1885, the so-called riding car was built in Gottlieb Daimler's workshop as a test unit to prove the suitability of Daimler's and Wilhelm Maybach's gas or petroleum engine for everyday use.

Without knowing of each other’s work, Daimler and Benz had by this time already come to a common starting point: they both opted for petrol as the fuel for their engines and they would be the first to realise their efforts. The decision to use this fuel, which had excellent combustion characteristics, was fundamental to their internal combustion engines for vehicles.