1909 (Mercedes) “Blitzen” Benz — World Land (or Water or Air) Speed Record Holder 1914-1919 — 141.7MPH on Daytona Beach

Not just Land Speed Record. Any speed! This included air and water, where this exact car’s 141.7MPH run on Daytona Beach was, literally, the fastest man-made object on Planet Earth until 1919.

The start-up process in the below video is handled by Mercedes-Benz Classic experts — and even they took at least six minutes to breathe 21st-century life into this beautiful behemoth.



FULL STARTUP VIDEO 2012 Pebble Beach  — Ignition occurs at 6-minutes, 17-seconds

Stunning features all around, including the aero-pointed radiator and the chain-drive traction system from a locomotive. No differentials back in these days — there are chains to both back wheels.

Other highlights? The engine is a 21.5-liter four-cylinder making 200-horsepower. The exhaust manifold is large enough to stick your head inside.

Mufflers? Barely!  The manifold on this car is not much of a sound dampener — but did help to shoot the red-hot exhaust away from the driver’s face, which turned out to be a helpful feature at 140MPH!

This 2013 Retromobile Paris example shows how the Blitz Benz looks in all-white with no exhaust outlets beyond the sawed-off manifolds exits to the side of the giant engine.

The presentation is immaculate — with this Blitzen Benz marrying the best, most tantalizing (and most terrifying) elements of locomotives and industrial engines into a wildly modified (for length, width and weight) Mercedes-Benz Gran Prix car chassis.

Is this not an airplane engine? Not yet… but it would be eventually!

Airplanes (of any kind) were still in their new-born infancy — with none able to support a power plant of this sheer size, mass and power. But the Mercedes chassis certainly wears it proudly.


Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.

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