Panhard-Levasor 4 hp motor car gearing, 1894.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The light high-speed petrol motor, invented by Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) in 1889, was first commercially applied to the motor car by the Frenchmen, Rene Panhard (1841-1908) and Emile Levasor (1843-1897) in 1891, who were also the first to mas produce cars. Their design was copied by most other motor car manufacturers. The car has a two-cylinder motor producing 4 hp, and was capable of a top speed of 15.5 mph. The sliding wheel change-speed gear gives four forward speeds of 3, 7, 11 and 15.5 mph, while a three-bevel-wheel gear provides the reverse.