The 120 hp Benz of 1908 is one of three cars which were successfully entered in races by Benz & Cie., among them the French Grand Prix on July 7, 1908. Victor Hémery and René Hanriot finished the race in second and third place, respectively; their team principal Fritz Erle occupied rank seven. The winner was a competitor from Stuttgart-Untertürkheim – Christian Lautenschlager at the wheel of a Mercedes car.
The 120 hp Benz is considered to be a groundbreaking car. The four-cylinder engine designed by Louis de Groulart features overhead valves which are controlled from below by a camshaft via pushrods and rocker arms. From a displacement of 12.4 liters, the engine generates 120 hp (88 kW) at 1400/min. The chassis was designed along tried and tested lines which were also adopted by the competition in Untertürkheim. The frame consists of pressed-steel profiles, with the side members being offset above the rear axle – not above the front axle as in the Mercedes.
The 120 hp Benz Grand Prix racing car from the collection of the Mercedes-Benz Museum visited Goodwood several times already. In the anniversary year of the French Grand Prix, it joins forces with other cars from the same era to give wings to that very special Goodwood spirit.