The Benz Parsifal was a veteran automobile manufactured by the German automotive firm Benz & Cie from 1902 to 1905. It was preceded by the Tonneau and Elegant, and was later replaced by the 18 PS, 28/30 PS, and 35/40 PS.
By 1900, Benz had sold at least 600 cars per year. This number fell to 385 in 1901, and subsequently to 226 in 1902. Construction manager Julius Ganss introduced Frenchman Marius Barbarou into the company. Barbarou, along with a team of five other French designers, developed ideas for cars and engines similar to those found in his home country. In parallel, the "German" design team had also developed a completely new range of engines.
The new Parsifal series ultimately joined the French vehicle designs with German-built engines. The German engines were selected because they had shown to function better than those designed by the "French" design team. Two and four-cylinder engines became available in 1902, followed by a single-cylinder unit in 1903.
In spite of the collaboration between both teams, nobody was quite satisfied with the solution found. Karl Benz did not like how Barbarou was now identified as a leading engineer in the development of the new car, and left the design board in April 1903. Barbarou was offended that his engine designs were rejected, and then adopted during the autumn of the year of Benz's resignation from the board. When it was realized that the Parsifal was as unsuccessful as its predecessors, Julius Ganss left Benz & Cie. in 1904.
The cars had wooden spoke wheels with pneumatic tires with semi-elliptic leaf springs. They had a three- or four-speed countershaft transmission with reverse gear.
The following engines were available:
|Model||Years||Cylinders||Capacity (cc)||Bore and stroke (mm)||Performance||rpm|
|8/10 PS||1902-1903||2||1527||90 × 120||8-10 bhp (5.9 to 7.4 kW)||1250|
|10/12 PS||1902-1903||2||1727||100 × 110||10-12 hp (7.4 to 8.8 kW)||1280|
|12/14 PS||1902-1903||2||2250||105 × 130||12-14 hp (8.8 to 9.6 kW)||1200|
|16/20 PS||1902-1903||4||3100||90 × 120||16-20 hp (12.4 to 14.7 kW)||1280|
|8 PS||1903-1904||1||952||105 × 110||8 hp (5.9 kW)||1400|
|12 PS||1903-1905||2||2250||105 × 130||12 hp (8.8 kW)||1300|
|22 PS||1903-1905||4||3496||94 × 126||22 hp (17.4 kW)||1300|
|35 PS||1903-1904||4||5880||120 × 130||35 hp (26 kW)||1300|
The Parsifal was only offered as a four-seat tonneau or phaeton.
The smaller cars could reach up to 35 to 40 km/h, while the larger cars could go as high as 85 km/h. During production, a Parsifal could be bought for between 5200 and 14,000 goldmark.
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