Primitive construction, a steam engine, wooden wheels and bandage tires – this is, in short, the description of the French De Dion-Bouton imported in Bulgaria by the Czech August Shedevi. Exactly on Easter day in 1896, the first vehicle in our country arrived at the Central station, and after a brief preparation, was triumphantly driven along the 'Colorful bridge' (Lions bridge) and the “Saint King” square (“Saint Nedelya” square) toward “Vitosha” street, and the rubber horn announced its upcoming appearance from afar.
Hansom cab owners were most unhappy about the automobile, as the machine threatened to 'take their jobs'. However, August Shedevi's car was only used a few times on the streets of Sofia, and was abandoned after a serious breakdown. Hansom cab drivers were relieved – the “hansom cab without horses” had no future!
At that time, Sofia did not yet have electricity or trams available, so people traveled mostly on carts, hansom cabs or by foot. 'Who needs these threatening inventions? No one will like them and they will only scare citizens!' – this was the reaction of the capital city's newspapers to first automobiles appearing in Sofia. Against the backdrop of primitive transport conditions, however, the appearance of the first vehicle of this kind was a real sensation among the capital's citizens. Despite this, automobiles were generally considered a whim of people with no taste or manners. Therefore for a long time, the only ones brave enough to use them in our country were foreigners.