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The driver or chauffeur, operated the vehicle from the more exposed section at the front, while the owners benefited from the added comfort of a luxurious cabin.
Optional extras for this Benz were limited to acetylene lanterns and a horn. But the model itself enjoyed a relatively peaceful existence until its obsolescence.
Its main extravagance was in the sheer choice of carriages available to the owners, who could opt for several open and closed body types.
The Portuguese owner of this chassis, Dr. António de Matos Cid opted for the most refined carriage of them all; the bulky and expensive Landau.
The Landaulet body fitted to this car weighs in at a whopping 200 kg more than for example, the De-Course, a more open and less ostentatious carriage.
The additional weight called for a much greater effort from the four-cylinder engine, which was split into two blocks as was standard for the time.
Incredibly, the 20hp, as suggested by the name was enough to pull the Benz up to 65 km/h. Although at that speed, the efficiency of the weak brakes, acting only on the rear wheels, could not be guaranteed.
The 20HP was designated the 8/20HP, meaning that it had a nominal output of 8 horsepower and a peak output of 20 when pushed.
In 1910, Dr. António de Matos Cid acquired the 20HP chassis from José da Silva Monteiro, a Portuguese Benz dealer who was based in Porto. It was a robust car, and very well built with some highly advanced mechanics such as the four-speed gearbox.
In March 1958, the Benz was discovered hidden amongst other cars in a stately garage by João de Lacerda, at Aguiar da Beira.
After convincing its owner, José Maria Sobral Cid – grandson of António de Matos Cid, he agreed to offer it to Museu do Caramulo for restoration.
Although the closed carriage compartment was in perfect condition, requiring no intervention, restoration of the rest of the car took three years to complete.
Since this well-deserved facelift, the Benz 20HP has covered more than 3,000km, some of them in races like the Raid Figueira da Foz-Lisboa, in which it averaged over 45 km/h.