Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X, The First Car Owner in Indonesia

Vehicle was considered as the luxurious thing in Indonesia and back then, there were not many people had vehicle because this was something expensive. However, did you know the first car owner in Indonesia during the colonial era? Most people will think that the first vehicle owner in Indonesia was Dutch because they were rich and Indonesian people became their slaves for years. However, you are wrong because the first vehicle owner in this land was Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X.



The Look of The First Car in Indonesia owned by Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X

Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X became the first car owner in Indonesia, not the Dutch based on the history. In 1894, he was known to have Benz in Benz Phaeton type. This luxurious thing of Pakubuwono can be said as the first to step in the land of Indonesia because this thing came within eight years after Karl Benz who was the creator of Benz admitted as the first vehicle creator in the world. Now, Benz is known as Mercedes Benz. In the colonial era, there was a man named John C. Potter brought a motorcycle from Germany to Indonesia in 1883.

At that time, Pakubuwono wanted to look luxurious and he got the information that in 1885, an automotive manufacturer from Germany would produce and make the first vehicle in the world. He asked Potter to buy it with the name of Benz Phaeton with 10.000 gulden at that time. Before entering the production line, Benz Phaeton succeeded to be sent to Indonesia. After arriving in Indonesia in 1885, this vehicle replaced the carriage and it was named as “The Devil Carriage” because this carriage could walk without being pulled by the horse. It was the engine who moved the vehicle.

PB X car 2However, don’t think this vehicle as the Mercedes Benz in this modern era because at that time, this vehicle only has one cylinder machine with 2000cc and 5 horse power. The tires still use wooden tires but this car could carry until 8 people. There is something unique about this car and DMG produced the mini-bus in massive amount in 1895 to fulfill the order of Nepthener Omnibus-Gessellchaft mbH for North Rhine-Westphalia route. Meanwhile, the king had brought it to Indonesia in 1894.

The cabin was specially ordered by the King which the roof was not so hard made of steel but the cabin was made of fabric. The open-style cabin of this vehicle was mentioned in the era as Phaeton and that was the original of Benz name came from. Until now, the vehicle doesn’t only become the transportation only but also as the luxurious thing to show the social status of someone in the society. The first vehicle entered Solo instead of Holland at that time. Dutch received the first vehicle in Den Haag in 1896.

In South East Asia itself, Indonesia surpassed Thailand to own the car because Thailand had their first vehicle in 1904. Unfortunately, this vehicle was seen for the last time in 1924 after being sent to Dutch through Semarang port for being displayed in the exhibition. No one knew where it was but the similar version of this was seen in Leidschendam, Holland. Then, some Kings in Indonesia started to buy their vehicles too.


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