The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Iqbal Ahmed

This page added to museum: 5/17/11

A model of the first internal combustion automobile completed for 125th anniversary of Mercedes Benz.

Also a model of America's first automobile, the 1896 Ford Quadracycle

Iqbal Ahmed of Nagpur, India traveled to the 2011 North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Detroit in April/May, 2011 to introduce his 1/4 scale Benz Motorwagen to American model engineers. (Click on photo for larger image.)

A model engineer puts his many talents to work to build a historic vehicle in miniature

Iqbal Ahmed has been featured elsewhere in the Craftsmanship Museum for some time. CLICK HERE to see some of his other projects. However, this particular project, the 1/4 scale Benz Motorwagen also fits into the category of "Model Engineering Masterpieces," because it is a complete, running vehicle. Even more amazing, it was completed under tough conditions. The project had a short time frame of 13 months, Iqbal had to make even the patterns and castings himself and his big machine shop was closed for renovation, so all machining had to be done using only a Sherline milling machine. He also made all the wood parts himself.

A little history of the first car

In the 1870's, German engine designer Karl Benz developed many key systems making it possible to apply an internal combustion engine to a vehicle. Though Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were also working on similar systems, 27-year old Benz was the first to obtain patents on these key systems. His inventions included the speed regulation system, the ignition system using white power sparks with battery, the spark plug, the carburetor, the clutch, the gear shift and the water radiator. Also key to the early success of the vehicle was the reputation for reliability it achieved when his wife Bertha took their two young sons on a 65-mile drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888—reportedly without telling Karl. Upon their arrival at her mother's house she telegraphed Karl of her achievement, an early example of "live" marketing that did receive a lot of free publicity showing the "motorwagen" was capable of long-distance travel.

Two photos of the completed Benz Motorwagen—a model of the first patented vehicle to have been powered by an internal combustion engine. See photos of its construction and some more images of the complete vehicle. (Click on either photo to view a larger version.)

Iqbal Ahmed wins award an of excellence in India for his model of the historical 1886 Benz Motorwagen

Many people from the automotive media gathered for the presentation of this prestigious award. (Click on either photo to view a larger image.)

On January 29, 2011, Mr. Ahmed was given an award by the Central India Vintage Automobile Association for the construction of a beautifully executed model of the first vehicle to be powered by an internal combustion engine. This special award was given in honor of World Automotive Day. The model is especially significant because Iqbal was able to duplicate even the function of the engine, doing all the castings, machining and assembly himself. The model was a further challenge because he his machine shop was limited to only a small Sherline tabletop milling machine. On this he did all machine work, even making a special fixture so that he could do jobs that would normally be done on a lathe. He worked strictly from photos and dimensions of the original vehicle and of some of the reproductions that were created by Mercedes Benz years ago. As others have found when trying to build a model of this engine, little detail of the internal components of the engine beyond the size of the bore and stroke is available, so all information had to be determined by what could be seen on the outside. Photos of the construction of this significant vehicle can be seen below.

Video of the engine and vehicle in action at the 2012 NAMES show can be seen here:


(Click on photos to see larger images.)

The 3-wheeled Benz Motorwagen was the first application of an internal combustion engine to a motorized vehicle in 1886. The bench seat accommodated two people side by side and it was steered with a tiller rather than a steering wheel. Prior to this a few vehicles had been powered by steam, but this was the beginning of the end for horse-drawn transportation.

Here we see the drive unit under construction on Iqbal Ahmed's 1/4 scale working model.

A wheel hub accepts the first of many spokes needed.
The drive mechanism parts are seen here.
A rather large boring head is attached to the Sherline mill in the horizontal position to bore a hole in the side of the engine casting.
Drive parts and a fully spoked wheel hub sit in front of a photo of the full-size Motorwagen.
Brass castings and some of the patterns to make them can be seen here.
A wheel with all the spokes in place and the assembled engine and drive are seen here. Part of the start of a  wheel rim is on the right.
Iqbal Ahmed demonstrates the ability of his Sherline mill to make round parts with a special fixture he developed. By rotating the mill's headstock to a horizontal position he is able to use a cutting tool mounted on a rotary table.
The nearly completed engine is seen in the foreground, while an acrylic pattern for the flywheel is in the background.
A close-up shows the tooth shape of the bevel gears of the drive.
The acrylic pattern for the flywheel casting next to a 6" caliper gives a good size reference. The curved spoke shape is a characteristic of the big flywheel on this particular engine.
Linkages are connected as the engine and drive unit near completion.
Another view of the engine and drive.
The engine is mounted onto a test stand, flywheel attached and is made ready to be test run for the first time.
As you can see by the blurred flywheel spokes, the engine is now running. This is known to engine builders as the "first pop"—always an important day in a project like this.
Iqbal Ahmed adjusts the idle during a low speed test run.
The engine during a high speed test run.
The partially complete chassis can be seen in this photo as spokes are being assembled into the wheels.
The motor is assembled to the chassis. In this photo you can see the leaf springs on the axel as well.
This sepiatone photo of the finished vehicle captures the vintage feel of it. It could easily be mistaken for a photo of the original in full size. Very few originals exist in full size, but in 1986 on the 100th anniversary of it's invention Mercedes Benz commissioned the production of a short run of reproductions. These can be found in museums around the world, but to our knowledge, this is the only running 1/4 scale model.
A black and white photo from a different angle also gives a vintage feel to the model.
A pretty little model looks wistfully at the Benz, but she is still too big to go for a ride.
A front view in black and white.
Rear view in black and white.
A sepiatone photo with small admirer. In the background is a vintage 1944 Matchless motorcycle.
For the grand unveiling, a special stage and curtain was prepared.
The model is seen here with the trophy and a photo of one of the full-size Motorwagens.
A large graphic poster was used behind the presentation to commemorate the award.
The rich oak of the seat harks back to the wagon-making roots of the early auto industry.

Our congratulations to Iqbal Ahmed on this outstanding achievement in model engineering.

Presentation in the USA

Iqbal Ahmed displays his model Benz next to the NAMES show poster. In the second photo Iqbal and his son Arif are seen at the table where they displayed their model during the 2-day show.

Iqbal found a last minute sponsor and was able to attend the 2011 North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) Exposition in Southgate, Michigan in the Detroit area. The Benz Motorwagen model they brought with them was given featured exhibit space by the NAMES group and noted as one of the farthest traveled entries in the 22 years the show has been held. Below are some additional photos taken at the show against a white backdrop to show more of the model's fine detail.
Here Iqbal's son Arif holds a pattern  from which the cast flywheel was made. Another pattern for part of one of the pulleys is also displayed.
Iqbal Ahmed is joined at the Joe Martin Foundation booth by five more of the world's finest craftsmen who offered their congratulations on his achievement. From left to right are George Luhrs, Wilhelm Huxhold, Louis Chenot, Jerry Kieffer, Iqbal Ahmed and Richard Carlstedt.
To learn more about Iqbal Ahmed and his other projects including model machine tools, gas engines, live steam trains and more, CLICK HERE.

1896 Ford Quadracycle by Henry Ford built in 1/4 scale

Henry Ford was working on a self-propelled vehicle at the same time as Carl Benz . His Ford Quadricycle had four wheels unlike Mr. Benz's tricycle layout but Mr. Benz put his on the road first. In 2013, Iqbal Ahmed has started work on a 1/4 scale version of the engine from the Quadricycle.
The engine is a 2-cylinder horizontal layout that produced 6 HP in the full-size version.
The engine takes shape.
Shown here are a piston and the long connecting rod plus some of the ignition and other parts.

(Photo 1) Piloted valve grinding fixtures are used to grind the valve seats.

(Photo 2) Unusual dual breaker points for the ignition system. (See photo below for breaker assembly in place.)

Iqbal Ahmed assembles the engine on the floor of his shop.

The engine assembly is coming along in 1/4 scale but not at 1/4 speed. Remember, this is not a kit. Each and every part has to be made by hand.

(Progress to 4/28/13)



July 31, 2013—The chassis is taking shape and the motor is installed. Like the slightly earlier Benz, the Ford version uses a tiller type steering arm, but is among the first to apply an internal combustion engine to a more stable 4-wheeled platform.
Details can be seen of the motor mounted in the chassis.

The finished Quadracycle was shown at the 2014 North American Model Engineering Society Expo near Detroit, Michigan in April. Iqbal travelled from India with the model to bring it to this model engineering show.

1. Iqbal Ahmed, the builder, poses with the finished Quadracycle.

2. Iqbal explains the features of the auto model to Sherline's Craig Libuse at the NAMES show.

3. Craig examines the 1/4 scale model.


Click on the image at the left to see video of the Ford Quadracycle in action!

BMW Ignition Component
Iqbal Ahmed is shown at work making tiny precision parts to get a BMW ignition switch working while using his large but familiar lathe.
Inside the ignition key housing is a complicated casting. The rather crude silver part is the BMW casting, while the bright brass part is the machined replacement made by Iqbal.
Shown here is another view of the two parts and the final brass part fitted into the BMW ignition switch. One more fine car is back on the road thanks to Iqbal's machining skills.

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