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First Gasoline Car

The first gasoline car was invented in 1870 by Austrian inventor Siegfried Marcus. The first Marcus car was more like a 4-wheel handcart for moving people and objects around. Marcus also invented the magento low voltage ignition system that would go into the 4-seat second Marcus car of 1888 and in other subsequent automobiles.

First Gasoline Car

Another man who has a claim to the first gasoline car is Etienne Lenoir of France. Lenoir invented a hydrogen powered car in 1860 called the Hippomobile. Two year later he also claimed to have run a car on benzene, an oil derivative and if this is true, then his claim to have invented the first petroleum-powered car is correct.

In 1873, American engineer George Brayton developed a two-stroke kerosene engine and some consider this to be the first petroleum-powered car.

There are several others who are sometimes credited with inventing the first gasoline-powered car. Some of the names include Enrico Bernardi of Italy, who invented a one-cylinder motor on a tricycle and a motorcycle, Karl Benz of Germany and Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach also of Germany.

In 1889, Daimler and Maybach designed an automobile from the ground up rather than attaching a gasoline engine to a carriage without the horse. In 1885, it was Karl Benz who built his first gasoline car in Mannheim, Germany. Benz was granted a patent for his car in 1886, and started production of it in 1888. Most of the literature you'll find now days will credit Karl Benz with inventing the first gasoline-powered car since he proved his vehicle with a long distance trip in 1888 and started production in earnest.

The first four-wheel driven gasoline-powered car was invented by Frederick William Lanchester of Great Britain in 1895. Lanchester also patented the world's first electric starter along with the disc brake.

In 1889, the first company in the world that was created to exclusively build cars was Panhard et Levassor in France. Two years later Peugeot followed. In the U. S. the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1893 was the first official automobile manufacturer.

In 1897 Olds Motor Works (now known as Oldsmobile) in Lansing, Michigan was formed and by 1901 it was the largest seller of American gasoline-powered cars. In 1901 the Henry Ford Company launched which changed its name to the Cadillac Motor Company in 1902 and in 1909 it was bought by General Motors. In 1902 - 1903 Ford Motor Company launched in a converted factory with money from 12 investors and created his first production vehicle, the Model A.

After this time, Ford and General Motors would ramp up production of their automobiles. And, in the 1930's both companies were two of the few automakers to survive the Great Depression in the United States.