Replicas

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This could be the last word on Replicas (or fakes), or it could be the beginning of a whole new world. Daimler-Benz AG of Stuttgart has made 11 replicas of the Benz three-wheeler of 1886, which it claims was the first automobile in the world! The original three-wheeler built by Karl Benz resides in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and these replicas have been built by Daimler-Benz to commemorate the 100th birthday of the automobile. France considered that it invented the automobile and celebrated its 100 years in 1984, while Great Britain celebrated the 100 years in 1985.

Some 20 years ago I recall visiting the Daimler-Benz museum workshops in Unterturkheim, to see half a dozen brand-new Daimler V-twin engines being built. The Stuttgart museum own Gottlieb Daimler’s original engine and when approached to sell it by numerous expanding and affluent museums it flatly refused to consider the idea, but instead offered to make replica engines for museums of long standing.

Its recent production run of Benz three-wheelers can hardly be called fakes, being made by the parent firm, but equally they are not 100-year-old originals. They are 1986 three-wheeler cars built to an 1886 design, to which Daimler-Benz has total rights. But where do we go from here?

If Daimler-Benz put the 38/250 MercedesBenz back into production I am sure it would sell as many as it did in the nineteen-twenties, but I wonder at times if we are not losing our sense of direction. – D.S.J.

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