The earliest automobiles recorded were actually steam engines attached to wagons. This was invented by Lee Dover in the late 1700's. The steam engines were heavy and therefore the wagon was very slow and hard to control. Cugnot was the very first person to get into a motor vehicle accident when he crashed his wagon into a wall.
Some cars in the early 20th century were powered by electricity. They were slow and heavy and went out of use until the idea was revived late in the century.
The internal combustion engine changed the way automobiles were to be powered. The engine used either gasoline, diesel, or kerosene to work. When the gas is exploded in a cylinder it pushes the piston down and turns the wheel.
The first Benz Patent MotorwagenAlthough many people tried to make a good car that would work well and sell well, people say that Karl Benz invented the modern automobile. He used a four-stroke type of internal combustion engine to power his "car". He began to sell his production vehicles in 1888.
In North America, the first modern car was made by the Duryea Brothers in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Duryea Brothers' car also won the first-ever car race in 1895, competing against cars made by Benz. The race was in Chicago, Illinois, and 53 miles long. Duryea then began production of the first commercial automobiles in 1896. That year they made 13 cars by hand in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Benz may have invented the first modern car, and Duryea the first commercial car, but Henry Ford is the man who sold the most cars to the most people. In 1910 he began making and selling his Model T, which was a huge success. Many people could afford this car, not just the rich. Ford mass produced his Model T, meaning he made a lot of them in a short time in a factory. People say that the Model T is the car that "put America on wheels". The Model T was the most popular car of the time because it was cheap but it was still a good quality car that everyone could own.
Since then, many different kinds of cars have been designed and built, from minivans to sports cars.