Who's the real father of the automobile?

Take your pick from these six candidates
by Vernon B. Sarne | Jun 3, 2011

Here's something to ponder in preparation for Father's Day on June 19th: Who should be officially anointed as the father of the automobile?

Now, before you even attempt to answer the question, please know that many have tried to settle the argument but ended up generating more debates. They say the answer really depends on a few essential things. When you say "father of the automobile," do you mean the one who first came up with a working model, or the one who designed the first propulsion, or the one who popularized the four-wheeled invention, or the one who revolutionized its assembly process?

Of course, there's also the matter of national pride. If you ask the Germans, they'll give you one name. If you ask the Americans, they'll give you a different name. And if you ask the French, they'll give you yet another name.

Help us put to rest the dispute once and for all: Who really is the father of the automobile?

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Take the poll below. But before that, here's a brief rundown of our candidates as well as the reasons they're included in this list.

Karl Benz (1844-1929), German - The man behind the Mercedes-Benz name. Known as the inventor of the gasoline-propelled automobile. Received a patent for his first car as early as 1886.

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Amedee Bollee (1844-1917), French - A specialist in steam cars. Made his first steam car in 1873, and then reportedly drove from Le Mans to Paris in less than a day. 

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804), French - Credited with the first self-propelled vehicle. Unveiled his three-wheeled contraption in 1769, which employed a steam piston. 

Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900), German - Widely regarded as the pioneer of the modern gasoline engine. Founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft with Wilhelm Maybach. 

Henry Ford (1863-1947), American - Founder of the Ford Motor Company. Credited with the development of the assembly line for use in car manufacture. 

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Ransom Olds (1864-1950), American - The man behind the Oldsmobile brand. Rolled out the first mass-produced car in 1901, a model called Curved Dash.




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