<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74

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Lot 177
Motorcars from the Collection of Gerhard Schnuerer
c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe

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Motorcars from the Collection of Gerhard Schnuerer
c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe
Engine no. 74

2,690cc Opposed Twin-Cylinder Engine
10bhp
3-Speed Planetary Transmission with Double Chain Drive
Front and Rear Fully Elliptical Leaf Springs
Rear-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Powered by the revered Contra-Motor
*Among the very earliest examples of a twin-cylinder engine and king-pin steering
*Very rare body style; reportedly one of only three extant
*Meticulous older restoration by Allan Schmidt
*Exhibited at many Concours D'Elegance and in the Petersen Automotive Museum
*Past guest in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run with Jutta Benz


THE BENZ CONTRA-MOTOR

Karl Benz is rightfully regarded as one of the pioneers of the modern automobile, having produced the Patent-Motorwagen, likely the first practical motorcar, in 1886. By 1899 Benz had the honor of running the largest and most prolific automobile company in the world, manufacturer of early mass-produced vehicles such as the Benz Victoria and Velo. A Benz even participated in the world's first automobile race, held between Paris and Rouen in 1894. Simply put, at every turn of innovation for the automobile in its early years, a Benz was usually present.

Benz continued to be ahead of his time in virtually every part of the industry. In 1897 he obtained a patent for what he dubbed the Contra-Motor, a horizontally opposed, water-cooled twin-cylinder engine, one of the first of its kind in a world where horseless carriages had previously been powered by only a single cylinder. The natural balance of the opposed cylinders allowed a smaller flywheel to be fitted and permitted higher revs. Benz mated the engine to a three-speed planetary transmission, running the rear wheels via a pair of chains, which could enable his horseless carriage to achieve a top speed of approximately 19 miles per hour.

With the greater pulling power of the Contra-Motor, there was less need for shifting and, therefore, less work for the driver. Steering was more accurate, as well, thanks to the installation of a primitive king-pin system, similar to what would be used in some automobiles and trucks well into the 1950s. The result was an early car that was remarkably easy to drive, in addition to having more power and flexibility for the road.

Today the Benz Contra-Motor is widely considered the forerunner of all other opposed-cylinder engines produced since, and as one of the first true performance engines mounted to an automobile. It is among the most desirable drivetrains of any Veteran automobile and is sought after by all enthusiasts of early motoring, as seen by the number of examples that annually participate in the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The Contra-Motor-powered Benz Mylord-Coupe was a formal body style that was the predecessor of the 'open-drive' town cars of the Classic Era. The passengers resided in a comfortable, enclosed compartment, while the driver – a liveried chauffeur, in most instances – was placed in front and in the open. Of elaborate design, the rear compartment featured a collapsible landaulet top, which could be opened to permit fresh air and sunshine for the passengers in warm weather, while the rather elaborate side windows could be lowered and folded to permit even further ventilation. More than most any other body style of its period, the Mylord was reminiscent of a horse-drawn carriage – indeed, in everything but the vertically mounted steering wheel, it resembled a carriage that had lost its horse!

The Mylord-Coupe was introduced to the line at about the same time that the Contra-Motor was introduced. Estimates of production numbers for the Mylord-Coupe design vary; reportedly all were for sale in the United Kingdom, and reportedly even used by the British Royal Family. Today only two are known to be extant, the other of which is housed in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz describes its example as being the first of a long line of luxury coupes that the manufacturer has prided itself in building in well over a century of automaking. It is worth noting that it was one of the Mercedes-Benz Museum properties used as the inspiration for Andy Warhol's artwork in the early 1980s!

The other, offered here, was acquired from the U.K. as an original engine and pair of axles by Willis Boyd, a well-known Brass Era automobile collector in Nevada, and imported to the U.S. via John Bentley in 1987. Mr. Boyd then commissioned the car's restoration by the well-known Allan Schmidt, of Horseless Carriage Restorations in Escondido, California.

As part of the work, one surviving Mylord-Coupe was visited at the Mercedes-Benz Museum and was extensively photographed by Mr. Schmidt as a reference, after which the car was painstakingly restored with its bodywork and every other missing detail faithfully reproduced. During Mr. Boyd's ownership the car appears to have been registered as an 1895, on the basis of a story that the chassis had been built that year but the Contra-Engine installed later; as the chassis appears to have been crafted during restoration, it is more accurately termed an 1897. Even today, many years after completion of the work, the quality of the workmanship is visible throughout, with every detail accurately captured. It is a remarkable feat of the restorer's art, and was first shown by Mr. Boyd at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1989.

Following the Schnuerer Collection's acquisition of the Benz in 2003, further work was performed by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA, including a full rebuild of the engine in 2008. Invoices on file document the proceedings, as well as Mr. Schnuerer's dedicated research into the Benz with various European authorities, and his continual efforts to make it a more correct and durable automobile. It is a great testament to the meticulous care to that was given this Benz, typical of the automobiles in this well-loved collection.

Since acquisition the Benz has since been shown at many Concours d'Elegance, and was also driven in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2008 as a guest, carrying non other than Jutta Benz, enjoying a coveted early start by virtue of its build date. It was also part of the Petersen Automotive Museum's exhibit, Town Cars: Arriving in Style, from February to October of 2014, representing the earliest genesis of the style. Well-maintained as part of this prominent Mercedes-Benz collection, it is in beautiful condition, with only light patina from age and occasional use. The body is finished in a rich forest green with yellow striping and a black leather landau top and upholstery, a scheme that remains attractive today. In fact, the car would continue to be welcomed at any number of events worldwide.

The opportunity to acquire a Contra-Motor Benz is rare enough; to acquire one of this fascinating, almost impossible to acquire body style, is more desirable still. Forerunner of the classic formal town car, it is in the first rank of Veteran automobiles, and will surely look as at home on a concours field as it will running under its own power.
Contacts
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
<b>c.1897 Benz 10hp Mylord-Coupe</b><br />Engine no. 74
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