200hp Benz No 3


Date Location Driver Driver Country Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
June 24, 1914 Brooklands, Great Britain L. G. Hornstead Great Britain 200hp Benz No 3
4-Cylinder in-line

IC   124.096 mph (199.70 km/h) First 2-way record

Work on the third Benz 200 hp ever built was completed in 1912. Once again, Fritz Erle was the man at the wheel as the new car limbered up for the Gaillon Hill Climb in France on 6 October 1912. Erle was to further improve his record in the event, notching up an average speed of 163.63 km/h. Driver and car journeyed back to France for the hill climb at Limonest near Lyon on 25 May 1913, Erle taking victory in record time. The car was returned to Mannheim after the race to have the splash lubrication in its engine (no. 9141) replaced with a circulatory lubrication system.

It was then that L. G. “Cupid” Hornsted arrived on the scene in Mannheim. Inspired by success in an aging Benz racing car, the British-based Benz dealer had come to Germany to inquire about the possibility of getting his hands on a more powerful machine. The Mannheim management approved the sale of a Benz 200 hp. Hornsted immediately requested a series of modifications be made to the car, including a different radiator grille and – optionally fitted – a wind deflector as well as numerous technical tweaks. Bearing blue paintwork, the car made its debut at the Brooklands circuit in November 1913 and the following month Hornsted broke Hémery’s record with a speed of 118.4 km/h for the kilometre with standing start. On 14 January 1914 the Englishman racked up a total of seven new leading marks, including the highest two-way average speed – 199.3 km/h – for the half mile with flying start. Hornsted had already given a demonstration of his driving skill a week earlier, somehow regaining control of the Benz 200 hp after a puncture at around 190 km/h had launched the car into a series of spins.

The car was subsequently transported back to the Mannheim plant, where it spent the duration of the First World War under wraps in the testing department. When the fighting was over, the mechanics set about putting together serviceable models from the materials available. Two such cars were completed, one of which was based on the chassis used for Hornsted’s Benz and fitted with a reproduction of the Blitzen-Benz II body. Among the distinctive details of the new car were the fully-covered wire spoke wheels, its sharply tapered rear end and the staggered seats. In 1922 it was brought over to Brooklands and presented to Horace V. Barlow as his works car, man and machine promptly roaring to victory in its first outing in August 1922. Competing in a different race on the same bill was Count Zborowski in the Blitzen-Benz II. Then, on
30 September 1922, Captain John Duff drove Blitzen no. 3 to a fastest lap of
184.21 km/h in the “100 MPH” short-course handicap race. However, a sudden braking problem caused the car to swerve off the upper edge of the high-bank curve, the resultant impact ripping the car to pieces. The mangled wreckage was transported back to Mannheim.


1909 Blitzen-Benz - in action L G Cupid Hornsted during record run at Brooklands