The invention of motor cars goes back a long way, with its roots tracing back to the Benz Motorwagen in 1886. But do you know what the first car that came to Malaysia was?

Who Owned The First Car?

Singapore had their first car earlier than us, as they had cars which were considered luxuries dating back to 1896. Malaysia had its turn in 1902, when the first car was imported in by a man by the name of Eu Tong Sen, who was the successor of the famous Eu Yan Sang brand selling traditional chinese medicine here in Malaysia. Back then Malaysia was still called the Federation of Malaya!

Eu Tong Sen was born in Penang, Malaya and his father was an immigrant from Foshan, China. He started humbly as a grocery shop assistant and went on to become a successful businessman, having tried his hand in various different trades such as tin, rubber, and traditional chinese medicine in Ipoh.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When Eu Tong Sen’s father passed away, he found himself as the heir to his estates and businesses. Over the years, he further expanded those businesses and multiplied his fortune. It was at this time in 1902 that Eu Tong Sen imported a Mercedes Simplex (allegedly) for his use, with records from local newspapers even reporting his successful journey in a car, which was a first for Malaysia.

The Mercedes Simplex was produced from 1902 to 1909, with power ranging from 20hp to 40hp out of either a 5315cc / 9236cc inline four engine, which was a powerful engine for its time. This model was also considered a luxury model with a touring saloon body, and was popular with royalties and aristocrats of the time around the world.

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