The Benson Automobile was the first automobile built in the state of Oregon. Garage Inventor Nils Benson and his teenage assistant James Chance started working on the car in 1904. Benson ordered some parts and made others at his machine shop on SE Grand Avenue in Portland. The rubber tires were shipped from Indochina.
The Benson Automobile was displayed at the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland and operated there for 3 months. Later, Benson added a crankshaft and 2 more cylinders for a total of 4 before the automobile was considered finished in 1906. Though he originally planned to build more, this was the only automobile Benson ever built.
The Benson automobile ended up being stored in a shed behind Benson's home on NE 92nd Place. It was sold to neighbor William McAllister in 1951 and then to Walter Rusk in 1973. Rusk restored to automobile in 1973-74 and donated it to the Oregon Historical Society in 1999. Today, the Benson automobile is on display at the Oregon Historical Society's Museum in Portland.