Home WORLD Starting The 1909 200HP Blitzen-Benz

Starting The 1909 200HP Blitzen-Benz

The Blitzen-Benz was purpose built to do just one thing, to break speed records (not racing), and it did repeatedly from 1909 through 1911.Its speed of 228.1km/h (141.73mph) on April 23rd, 1911, driven by Bob Burman at Daytona Beach, stood as a record until 1919.

image/text credit: EarthAdvocate

Twice the speed of the fastest airplane, (12 April, 1911, Alfred Leblanc 69.442mph/111.801kph in a Blériot Blériot) and even shattering the record speed of 210km/h set by a locomotive in 1903.

image/text credit: EarthAdvocate

This record was not even officially broken in an airplane until 1920!Of the six originally built, this is one of only two that exist today, and is displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.


While the extended and nuanced effort required to start the Blitzen-Benz on a cool coastal morning can try the patience of some viewers, its historical significance and ground-breaking engineering brilliance still place it amongst the greatest motor-vehicle achievements of all time, and the dozens witnessing this effort felt it was one of the highlights of many great moments at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 2011.

Of the six Blitzen-Benzes ever made, two survive—Mercedes-Benz owns one, while the other belongs to a U.S. collector.After 1914 the car was rebuilt for circuit racing, undergoing a number of revisions before it was broken up in 1923. Several other examples of the 200 hp have survived.