In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler, with the help of Wilhelm Maybach, developed the forerunner of the modern gas engine by advancing Nicolaus Otto's oil-powered design. Adapting the engine to a stagecoach, Daimler successfully designed the world's first four-wheeled automobile.
After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Stuttgart Polytechnic, Daimler pursued the need for a small, practical, low-powered engine. Frenchman Etienne Lenoir had designed an early model of a smaller engine, but it lacked efficiency. Noting Lenoir's pioneering concepts, Daimler and Maybach spent ten years developing a practical gasoline-powered engine. With their new engine as the focal point, they applied their ideas to vehicles, developing and patenting a self-firing ignition starter. In 1885, the first gasoline-powered internal combustion engine was fitted onto a motorcycle.
Daimler and Maybach continued to improve gasoline-powered engines, inventing the first V-shaped, two-cylinder, four-stroke engine. That engine was the foundation for today's automobile engines. Daimler founded the Daimler Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890 to build engines according to his designs.