The first car to ever receive a speeding fine – according to one claim, at least – will be on display at the 2017 Concours of Elegance in the UK.
In 1896, the Arnold Benz Motor Carriage was estimated to be speeding at four times the limit, at a blistering 8mph (13km/h), when a policeman on a bicycle pulled him over.
The driver was Walter Arnold, one of the first to have a licence to sell a Benz car, was fined a shilling plus other costs, for doing more than 2mph (3km/h) and not having a man waving a red flag walking in front of him.
Not long after, the speed limit was raised to 14mph (23km/h), and the man with the red flag was no more. This was promptly celebrated with a race between London and Brighton, to which Arnold took part. Even though he didn’t win, he earned a gold medal for his skilful driving. The race still exists today, where pre-1905 cars recreate that very journey.
Interestingly, and as is common with historical events, there are conflicting claims as to when – and to whom – the first speeding fine was issued.
According to the US state of Ohio, it was host to the first issuance of a speeding ticket, to one Harry Myers in 1904 for travelling 12mph on West Third Street. The type of car is not specified in the official Ohio History Connection’s account.
Ohio claims this was the world’s first speeding ticket. More likely, however, is that it was merely America’s first case.
Another report suggests the first motorist pulled up for speeding was cabbie Jacob German in 1899, pinged in an Electric Vehicle Co car, one of some 60 electrified cars getting around New York in the early 1900s.
Whatever the case may be with those other offenders of legend, Arnold’s Benz will be displayed in Hampton Court Palace in September alongside some much faster cars, including the Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9, and a McLaren F1 GTR decked out in Harrods livery.