Mercedes-Benz 170 (W136/191) 1935-1955
Successor to the successful Mercedes-Benz 170
... in February 1936, the Mercedes-Benz 170 V was presented at the Berlin Motor Show, replacing the 170 of which just under 14,000 units had been produced in five-and-a-half years - the most successful Mercedes-Benz passenger car to that day. The new model had the same engine displacement but was more powerful and technically and stylistically more advanced - and cheaper than its predecessor. The success of the 170 V, setting in instantly, was therefore hardly surprising.
The suffix "V" ("Vorn" = German for 'front') was, incidentally, used to distinguish this car not from its predecessor but from the simul-taneously launched 170 H in which a virtually identical engine was installed in the rear. The 170 H ("H" for "Heck" = German for 'rear') was the more powerful and generally improved successor to the 130, the first rear-engined Mercedes-Benz car introduced two years earlier. Contrary to its counterpart with conventional powertrain configuration, the 170 V, the 170 H was unable to conquer the market; with a production volume of some 1,500 units, it played a subordinate role.
Not so the 170 V which was a big success in sales right from the start. In its very first year in production, almost 13,000 units were manufactured in Untertürkheim, almost as many as of the equally popular predecessor model. The 1.7 litre four-cylinder engine with side valves, a compression ratio of 1:6 and an output of 38 hp at 3400 rpm had a fuel consumption of less than ten litres per 100 kilometres, making the 170 a highly economical car, while a torque of 10.2 mkg at an engine speed as low as 1800/min created a good deal of motoring pleasure. The engine, flexibly mounted in two bearings, gave the car a hitherto unknown level of smoothness. The four-speed gearbox with helical gearing was synchronised first in the two top gears and from 1940 in all gears. People were enthusiastic about the car's comfortable swing axle chassis with independent wheel suspension on a transverse pair of leaf springs at the front and on coil springs in the rear. Not to forget its top speed 108 km/h.