Mercedes Honors Trailblazer Bertha Benz on International Women’s Day

By -

Video depicts Benz’s determination and dedication to the Motorwagen through the historic long distance drive she took.  

In honor of International Women’s Day, Mercedes-Benz released a four-minute video that illustrates the impact that one woman had on the automotive industry. In “The Journey That Changed Everything,” we see how Bertha Benz played a pivotal pole in making her husband’s Motorwagen invention a reality.

The film shows Bertha on the road with her sons, driving the Motorwagen, created by her husband Carl Benz. Carl had built the motor car, a three-wheeled carriage powered by a small single-cylinder engine. But it remained in the barn, untested on the road. But Bertha believed in her husband’s vision. One day Bertha decided it was time to take it for a drive, and made some important history along the way. This ride, in 1888, marked the first long-distance trip in a motor car.

Bertha Benz - Mercedes

Bertha took the Motorwagen on a 12-hour, 65-mile trip around Germany. The video sees the reaction of townspeople upon seeing her, and this confounding piece of technology on the road.

The reactions range from fear, to anger, to dismissive bemusement. But Bertha remains undeterred, and focused on her goal. When the car breaks down, Bertha goes into town to seek out supplies to get it running. After some resistance, she is given 10 liters of ligroin which she uses in the primitive but working engine. The town looks on as Bertha then uses her garter and a hat pin to repair the lines and vales.

Bertha Benz - Mercedes

Her son starts up the engine and the motor car sputters back to life. As Bertha drives off, she looks back at a young girl looking on in wonderment.

It is a quietly effective film that tells an important part of Mercedes-Benz history, and the woman behind the man that helped changed the automotive industry with bravery, grace, and unwavering passion.

Bertha Benz - Mercedes

Join the MB World forums now!

Longtime automotive journalist S.J. Bryan has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online, Harley-Davidson Forums, and The Mustang Source, among other popular auto sites.

Bryan first discovered her passion for all things automotive riding in her parent's 1968 Ford Mustang. The automotive expert cut her teeth growing up riding on Harleys, and her first car was a Chevy Nova. Despite her lead foot, Bryan has yet to receive a speeding ticket.

The award-winning former playwright was first published at age 18. She has worked extensively as a writer and editor for a number of lifestyle and pop culture publications.

The diehard gearhead is a big fan of American muscle cars, sixth-gen Ford trucks, and Oxford commas.

S.J. can be reached at [email protected]

Comments ()