You’ll never believe some of these are cars.

10: Pennington Autocar

E,J, Pennington may have been a rip-off artist, but he was also at least somewhat inventive, his 1896 Autocar features one of his earlier contributions to the automobile: balloon tires. Pennington felt these tires negated the need for springs or suspension.


9: Riker Electric

Electric cars were very popular in the 1890s, simpler and more reliable than steam or gas engined models, range was not an issue when most people’s commutes were very slow and not very far.


7: Peugeot Break

The most Jalop of 1896 models.

6: Hurtu

made of wood

5: Duryea

Duryea became the first American company to put a car into series production. 13 cars had been built by 1896. An 1896 Duryea was also the first car to be involved in an accident in the U.S.

4: De Dion-Bouton Tricycle

Not a car strictly speaking, but an amazing technical achievement. De Deon’s new single cylinder engine was capable of revving to heretofore impossibly high speeds - even as high as two thousand revolutions in a minute! The engine was widely plagiarized around the world, its high output for its weight made it especially popular in early motorcycles.  

3: Leon Bollee tricar

With three wheels, and a mammoth single, air cooled cylinder, the Leon Bollee was considered something of a sportscar in 1896. As the video shows, it was fully the 1896 equivalent of a Porsche 911.

2: Panhard

By 1896 Panhard had already moved the engine to the front, fitted a sliding gear transmission, and was experimenting with steering wheels instead of tillers.

1: 1896 Benz

The engine, designed by Wilhelm Maybach featured a revolutionary spray nozzle carburetor. This meant the engine could be practically operated over a wide range of RPMs unlike engines featuring surface or wick type carburetors. It also meant that gasoline in the future didn’t need to be as volatile. The new carburetor allowed the next generation of cars to be fast as well as more controllable. If you are looking for a horseless carriage which will only appreciate in value in the future, the 1896 Benz is our choice.