Benz 3-HP No.1 Ideal Van
Probably the very first delivery van in the world. Turning a car into a commercial vehicle was a logical progression.
The principle was very simple: a detachable goods container was placed on top of a standard Benz model. In this case it is a wooden chest that was used by a Rotterdam laundry firm, established in 1864, to pick up dirty laundry and then return the freshly starched shirts and suits to the customers.
At the time, the London Benz dealer Henry Hewetson publicised the delivery vans by pointing out that they were the perfect vehicles to expand business activities. According to him, they also offered an effective way in which to advertise.
In 1894 the Benz No.1 Velo was the smallest model in the Benz catalogue: ‘Light, fast, reliable and affordable. And exceptionally good at climbing hills.’ This Benz was also equipped with a ‘mountain strut’, a bar behind the rear wheel which could be lowered on climbing a hill to prevent the car from rolling back down.