At the beginning of 1909, Julius Ganss, working for Benz, was given permission to design a car which could reach a speed of over 200 km/h. This car was based on the 150 hp Benz Grand-Prix car. Its gigantic four-cylinder engine had an output of 184 hp at 1500/min, which could be increased to 200 hp at 1600/min by precision tuning. The engine weight was 407 kg. At first time the car was still fitted with the body of the Benz Grand-Prix car and entered competitions under that name. Later designers in Mannheim had set to work on a new body for the record car which was to give the vehicle its typical look and a car became known as “Blitzen Benz” (“Lightning Benz”). Later designers in Mannheim had set to work on a new body for the record car which was to give the vehicle its typical look and a car became known as “Blitzen Benz” (“Lightning Benz”). On 16 March 1910 Barney Oldfield drove the Blitzen Benz in the record run on the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida. He covered a measured mile with a flying start in 27.33 seconds (211.97 km/h). The speed achieved over a measured kilometre, also with a flying start, was only insignificantly lower at 211.09 km/h. The record was not officially acknowledged because the highest supervisory authority for motor sports, the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (A.I.A.C.R.), had stipulated that in world record trials the distance had to be covered in both directions and that the mean value from both runs made up the final value. For the next season the Blitzen seat was taken by the former Buick works driver Bob Burman. On 23 April 1911 Burman recorded an average of 228.1 kilometres per hour (141.7 mph) over a full mile at Daytona Beach, breaking Glenn Curtiss’s unofficial absolute speed record, land, sea or air, set in 1907 on his V-8 motorcycle. Burman’s record was to remain unbroken by any other vehicle until 1919. Only Ralph de Palma was able to establish a new world record, clocking up a speed of 241.2 km/h (149.875 mph) over the flying mile at Daytona Beach on 12 February 1919 in his Packard. After 1914 “Blitzen Benz” returned in motorsport rebuilt for circuit racing and re-badged as the “Burman Special”. In 1916 Burman was killed whilst at the wheel of a Peugeot, and the “Blitzen Benz” was sent to England. In Easter 1922 it appeared at Brooklands, driven by Count Louis Zborowski, and in 1923 its career was over.
|1911||Speed Record Trials||Daytona Beach Record Run|