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Here's the World's First Diesel Truck, a Five-Tonner Introduced in 1923

A history lesson never hurt anyone, so here’s one from Daimler. The German automotive corporation shares with the world the release date of the first-ever diesel trucks.
First Diesel Truck Benz Type 5K3 6 photos
Benz Diesel Engine OB 2Benz Diesel Engine OB 2Truck Benz 5 K 3 with Diesel Engine OB 2Truck Benz 5 K 3 with Diesel Engine OB 2 – 10 years in ServiceFirst Diesel Truck Benz Type 5K3
It turns out the year 1923 was an important one for both Benz & Cie. as well as for Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG). It is when the world was introduced to the first diesel trucks.

The first one to get on the road was a five-ton vehicle driven by a four-cylinder diesel OB 2 engine. It had an output of 33kW (45 HP) at 1000 rpm. It was made by Benz & Cie., and it took the carmaker a year to build the truck engine.

While those figures have us LOL nowadays, the Benz diesel truck made quite an impression back then in terms of fuel savings, compared to petrol engines. The OB 2 engine showed a reduction in fuel consumption by 25 percent compared to petrol engines with the same power. It was fueled by brown coal tar oil, which was less expensive than petrol but could also be driven with gas oil, kerosene, Texas oil, and paraffin oil.

DMG also presented its first air-injection diesel truck in 1923, after 12 years of hard work trying to come up with a compact diesel engine for agricultural and commercial purposes. The DMG version was also a four-cylinder engine with a slightly lower output of 29 kW (40 HP) at 1000 rpm.

It took the diesel truck 10 days to get from DMG’s plant in Berlin to the one in Stuttgart and back, which was a commendable achievement in those days. The “enormous” distance conquered by the vehicle was what got it on the market soon after that, according to Daimler.

Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. became Daimler-Benz when they merged three years later, in 1926. Daimler AG is now the second-largest German carmaker after Volkswagen AG.


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