Built for the one purpose of breaking the 200km/h mark the Blitzen-Benz story starts in 1909 with the a car built called the 200hp. They started with a Grand Prix chassis and a 150hp Grand Prix engine which was enlarged to a massive 21.5L. This would be the largest ever car engine built by the company and it developed 200hp. The car was initially driven in Europe earning the Grand Duchess of Hesse prize as well as breaking the 200km/h mark at recently opened Brooklands track in England. Benz was interested in the American markets and the tracks there where longer so it was given revised body work and shipped to America. The body was as narrow as possible leaving some controls and the exhaust outside the body. There is gained the new name of Lightning Benz. In Daytona Beach, March 17, 1910, Barney Oldfield broke the 200km/h mark with a record breaking 211.97 km/h run. After receiving the Blitzen-Benz name the car toured the US establishing a reputation for the brand. Bob Burman improved on Oldfield’s record in April 23, 1911 again at Daytona Beach with a 228.1 km/h speed over a flying start kilometer. To put this into prospective – it was faster than the trains and planes of the time.
There where six 200hp Benz cars produced in all. The second was built in 1910 after the first had gone to America. This second one had a more aerodynamic body was also made its way to America to break records by 1912. Also in 1912 a third car was produced which competed in Europe. Known as the Hornsted car after its main driver/owner L. G. “Cupid” Hornsted. Unfortunately this car was wreaked in 1922 by Captain John Duff after breaking several records. A fourth car was produced 1912 which was nicknamed “the Grandmother” due to its wood-spoke wheels. A further two cars where produced after the war from parts. The sixth was the only one to receive a longer chassis and four seater bodywork. Two are still known to exist. But a further two replicas have been produced. One by Mercedes-Benz its self in 1935 as part of its 50 years of production celebration and another in 2004 by an American collector. The 1935 factory reproduction even used some original bits from a wreaked car as well as from spares. Aluminum wheel covers where fitted as well. This remains in the Mercedes Benz archive to this day.