Mercedes-Benz Type 300

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Mercedes-Benz 300/300 S
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ManufacturerMercedes-Benz
Parent companyDaimler-Benz AG
ProductionW186: 1951-1957
W189: 1957−1962
W188: 1951−1958
12,190 built[1]
W186 Saloon: 7,646
W186 Cabr.D: 642
W189 Saloon: 3,077
W189 Cabr.D: 65
W188 Coupé: 314
W188 Cabr./Rdstr.: 446
Predecessornone
SuccessorMercedes-Benz W100
Classluxury car
Body style(s)4-door saloon
4-door phaeton
4-door cabriolet
4-door limousine
2 door coupé
2-door cabriolet
LayoutFR layout
PlatformMercedes-Benz W186/188/189
Engine(s)Mercedes 2996 cc I-6, SOHC
Transmission(s)4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
WheelbaseW186: 3050 mm (120.1 in)
W189: 3150 mm (124 in)
W188: 2900 mm (114.2 in)
LengthW186: 4950 mm (194.9 in)
W189: 5190 mm (204.3 in)
W188: 4700 mm (185 in)
WidthW186: 1840 mm (72.4 in)
W189: 1860 mm (73.2 in)
W188: 1860 mm (73.2 in)
HeightW186: 1640 mm (64.6 in)
W189: 1620 mm (63.8 in)
W188: 1510 mm (59.4 in)
Curb weightW186: 1780 kg (3924 lb)
W189: 1950 kg (4299 lb)
W188: 1760 kg (3880 lb)

The Mercedes-Benz Type 300 (chassis codes W186, W188, and W189) were the company's largest and most-prestigious models throughout the 1950s. Analogous to today's S-Class, the Type 300 cars were elegant, powerful, exclusive, and expensive. The 300, 300b, 300c, and 300d touring cars were often referred to as Adenauers after Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. In office from 1949 to 1963, he employed six custom convertible, hardtop, and landaulet versions of this model during his tenure.

W186

300 (W186 II)

The "W186" Type 300, introduced in November 1951, was essentially a pre-war chassis with a more-modern body. A modern 3 L (2996 cc/182 in³) straight-6 engine developing 115 PS (113 hp/85 kW) was used, however, coupled exclusively to a manual 4-speed gearbox. The Type 300 was available as a sedan or cabriolet (officially called Cabriolet D), both with four doors and seating for six. One innovative feature was a rear load-levelling suspension, operated by a switch on the dashboard.

The 300 had a separate X-frame, made of ovoid steel tubes, a double wishbone, coil spring axle up front and Mercedes` typical rear swing axle with double coil springs; also drum brakes all around and a worm-and-sector steering, that was replaced in 1952 by a recirculating ball unit.

The Type 300 featured many luxury features. Options like Becker radio, VHF mobile telephone, and dictation machine were geared to the business man and politician. Among the custom features in Chancellor Adenauer's "parade cars" were writing desks, sirens, curtains, dividing partitions, sunroofs, and half-roof landaulet configurations.

6,214 saloon models and 591 Cabriolet Ds were produced until September, 1955 (including the 300b).

300b (W186 III)

March 1954 saw power brakes introduced via a remote vacuum tank with the Type 300b. Vent windows were also introduced for the front windows. Power of the engine was upped to 125 PS (123 hp/92 kW) via different Solex carburetters and a higher compression ratio (7.5:1 instead of 6.4:1).

300c (W186 IV)

A larger rear window was added in September, 1955 on the Type 300c. An automatic transmission was also introduced for the first time. This car was priced at $10,864 in the United States (DM 22,000 on the home market), with the convertible commanding a pricy $14,231 (DM 24,700). The c also featured a swing axle rear independent suspension.

A special Innenlenker model (also called the Type 300 Lang) limousine model rode on a 20 cm (7.9 in) longer wheelbase and became available from July, 1956 (price: DM 25,000).

While the Cabriolet D was cancelled after June, 1956 (51 built), the saloon remained in production until July, 1957 and was built in 1,432 units.

W189

300d

The roof-supporting pillar was removed in the Type 300d (chassis code W189) of August 1957, creating a unique pillarless phaeton. An additional 4" of wheelbase provided greater rear legroom and established the car as a true limousine in direct competition with the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. A total of 3,077 300d models (priced at DM 27,000) was produced through March 1962, while the Cabriolet D (DM 35,500) was available on special order only and registered 65 units produced. With a compression ratio of 8.55:1 and Bosch fuel injection, the 300d produced 160 PS (158 hp/118 kW) at 5300 rpm.

The pillarless phaeton was replaced by the W112 300SE, later by the 600 pullman "Grand Mercedes". A modernized version of the W112, the W109 series 300 Mercedes, was introduced in 1965.

W188

W188 I

The "W188" Type 300 S was Mercedes-Benz's top-end vehicle on its introduction at the Paris Salon in October 1951. The Type 300 S came as a 2+2 coupe, cabriolet (with landau bars) (officially Cabriolet A), or roadster. Although mechanically similar to the contemporary W186, the largely hand-built W188 was marketed as one of the top luxury cars in the world.

7.8:1 compression and triple Solex carburettors raised engine output to 150 PS (148 hp/110 kW) at 5000 rpm.

At DM 34,500 for all versions ($ 3,925 in the USA[2]), these cars were significantly more expensive then the regular W186 cars.

From July, 1952 to August, 1955, a total of 216 Coupés, 203 Cabriolet As and 141 Roadsters were produced.

W188 II

1955 saw the substitution of Mercedes-Benz's "low-pivot" independent suspension in the rear, and the addition of fuel injection in the Type 300 Sc whose inline-six now delivered 175 PS (173 hp/129 kW) at 5400 rpm. Visually, a pair of chrome strips on either side of the hood denotes this "Sc" model.

Prices rose to DM 36,500 and 98 Coupés, 49 Cabriolet As and 53 Roadsters were built until April 1958.

References and Sources

  1. Oswald, Werner (1. Auflage 2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002. Krause Publications, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 529