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4 Speeds, 4 Wheels…in 1889

On this day in 1889 Gottlieb Daimler debuted the first car in Paris, France at the opening of the Paris World Exhibition. This event is well known for a much bigger, in all senses of the word, attraction, as it was the opening of the Eiffel Tower. However Gottlieb did not want to be outshined so he lined his booth with 30 lightbulbs in order to attract people to his stand. Electricity and lighting was still something very new to the world, as was the automobile. This made Gottlieb’s vehicle very enticing to visitors. His vehicle featured an engineering feat, a twin cylinder V-engine that is reminiscent of the modern engines we know today. The car also featured a four speed transmission, a mechanical design in which transmissions for many makes and models followed for years and years. It should be noted that Gottlieb helped build the world’s first four wheeled automobile just three years earlier in 1886 with Wilhelm Maybach. This was the same year that Carl Benz debuted his first automobile. The Paris vehicle was known as the wire-wheel car, thanks to its, well, wire wheels. It also featured a  groundbreaking cooling system and frame. Yet, while, it did gain considerable interest, it was hardly a sensation at the Exhibition.
Photo: the 1889 Daimler Wire Wheel Car

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