It may have been modest in proportions, but the garden house in which Daimler did his work more than 125 years ago would one day give rise to something on a mighty scale. In 1882 Gottlieb Daimler converted the garden house in the grounds of his villa into a workshop – a refuge in which he and his partner and engineering colleague Wilhelm Maybach could then incubate their ideas. Their master plan was to develop a movable universal drive system for vehicles on land, on water and in the air.
They worked day and night in strictest secrecy to realise this vision. When the local police paid the two engineers a nocturnal visit they found only tools and engine parts rather than the stack of counterfeit coins they had expected. Daimler and Maybach were left to continue their project undisturbed and in 1883 set about developing the world’s fi rst high-speed four-stroke engine.
The two inventors achieved their goal in 1885. Their development of a second experimental engine, smaller and lighter than the fi rst – the so-called Grandfather Clock – became the model for many subsequent engine builders. Just two months later Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach fi tted the engine to a specially converted carriage. It was the birth of the fi rst four-wheeled car.