Mercedes Benz W136 IV 170S Cabriolet B

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Mercedes Benz


W136 IV 170S Cabriolet B





The Mercedes-Benz W136 was Mercedes-Benz's line of inline-four cylinder automobiles from the mid-1930s into the 1950s. The model 170 V made its public debut as successor to the W15 Typ 170 in February 1936. Between 1936 and 1939 it was Mercedes' top selling model.

Between 1936 and 1942 over 75,000 were built making it by far the most popular Mercedes-Benz model up till that point.

Enough of the W136's tooling survived Allied bombing during World War II (or could be recreated post-war) for it to serve as the foundation upon which the company could rebuild. By 1947 the model 170 V had resumed its place as Mercedes' top-seller, a position it held until 1953.

The "V" in the 170 V's was an abbreviation of "Vorn" (front), added to differentiate it from the contemporary rear-engined Mercedes-Benz 170H (W28) ("H" for "Heck", rear) which used the same four cylinder 1697cc engine, but positioned at the back of the car.

The 1.7 liter four cylinder rear wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W136) was introduced in 1936 to replace the 1.7 liter six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 170 (W15). Despite their similar engine capacities, the new car's side-valve M136 was more powerful. The manual transmission was four speed synchromesh (having been upgraded from synchomesh in only the top two ratios in 1940). Claimed maximum power was 38 PS (28 kW; 37 hp) at 3,400 RPM at an initial compression ratio of 6:1. Mileage was 10 litres per 100 kilometres (28 mpg-imp; 24 mpg-US). The engine was attached using just two mountings and set the standard for smoothness for four-cylinder motors.

Most of the cars produced, and an even higher proportion of those that survive, were two or four door "Limousine" (saloon/sedan bodied cars, but the range of different body types offered in the 1930s for the 170 V was unusually broad. A four-door "Cabrio-Limousine" combined the four doors of the four door "Limousine" with a full length foldaway canvas roof.

Both the foor door bodies were also available adapted for taxi work, with large luggage racks at the back. There was a two door two seater "Cabriolet A" and a two door four seater "Cabriolet B" both with luggage storage behind the seats and beneath the storage location of the hood when folded (but without any external lid for accessing the luggage from outside the car). A common feature of the 170 V bodies was external storage of the spare wheel on the car's rear panel.

The two seater roadster featured a large flap behind the two seats with a thinly upholstered rear partition, and which could be used either as substantial luggage platform or as a very uncomfortable bench - the so-called mother-in-law's seat.

In addition to the wide range of passenger far bodied 170 Vs, a small commercial variant was offered, either as a flatbed truck or with a box-body on the back. Special versions of the 170 V were offered, adapted for use as ambulances or by the police, mountain rescue services and military.

During the war the Mercedes-Benz plant suffered very severe bomb damage, but the manufacturer nevertheless emerged from the trauma of war with a significant competitive advantage over many of its pre-war competitors. Manufacturers including Adler, BMW and Ford in Germany had been heavily dependent for the supply of steel car bodies on Ambi-Budd whose Berlin plant was destroyed by bombing in 1943: its site now ended up in the Soviet occupation zone (subsequently East Germany). The manufacturing plants of Horch, Wanderer and BMW were located in what in July 1945 became the Soviet controlled part of Germany. None of these manufacturers could resume volume production without first finding a way to obtain and fund a source of steel car bodies and access to a suitable plant for auto-assembly. Mercedes-Benz, however, retained ownership of and access to its car plant.

Production restarted in May 1946. The vehicles produced were versions of the 170 V, but in 1946 only 214 vehicles were produced and they were all light trucks or ambulances. Passenger car production resumed in July 1947, but volumes were still very low, with just 1,045 170 Vs produced that year. There was no return for the various open topped models from the 1930s. Customers for a Mercedes-Benz 170 V passenger car were restricted to the four door "Limousine" sedan/saloon bodied car.

The Mercedes-Benz 170 S was a luxury car produced from 1949 until 1955 in various gasoline and diesel powered forms. It initially appeared with a 1.8 liter version of the 1.7 liter inline-four cylinder M136 engine used in the slightly smaller production type 170 V. It was the first Mercedes-Benz to carry in its name the suffix “S” (for Sonder modell (Special model) denoting a superior level of comfort and quality. As such, it was targeted firmly at successful business owners and company directors.

The car appeared in May 1949 initially sharing the chassis number of the W136 170 V, and closely resembled it. However, in several respects it was more directly a development from the six cylinder Mercedes-Benz 230 which the company had produced, albeit in small numbers, between 1938 and 1943.

The first 170 S upgrade occurred in January 1952, being further distanced from the 170 V with its own chassis number W191. Mercedes' introduction a year earlier of the 2.2 liter six cylinder M180 engined Mercedes-Benz W187 luxury 220 model, positioned between the 170 S and the company flagship 3.0 liter Mercedes-Benz W186 Adenauer tourers undermined the four cylinder 170 S's luxury niche.

With the arrival of the all-new 1.8 liter Mercedes-Benz W120 180 "Ponton" in 1953 the 170 S was discontinued and a 170 S-V employing the 170 S' larger engine but the 170 V's slightly smaller body was introduced. It ceased production in 1955.

The Mercedes-Benz 170 S which appeared in May 1949 was 170 mm (6.7 in) longer, 104 mm (4.1 in) wider, and better appointed than the 170 V. The 170 V’s 1697 cc M136 four cylinder gasoline/petrol engine was enlarged to 1767cc, providing a maximum output of 52 PS (38 kW) compared to the smaller car’s 38 PS (28 kW). Performance was correspondingly enhanced, with a stated top speed of 122 km/h (76 mph). It shared the four speed all-synchromesh transmission of the 170 V.

The front wheels were attached using coil springs and double wishbones with a stabilizer bar, as opposed to the simple lateral leaf-spring arrangement on the 170 V.

Since the war the only version of the Mercedes-Benz 170 V available to the public had come with a four door sedan/saloon body. With the 170 S the manufacturer now recalled some of the wider range of bodies offered on the 170 V before the war, adding a 2 seat “Cabriolet A” and a 4 seat “Cabriolet B”.

Although the 170 S was promoted as a car for company directors, the soubriquet of “first S-Class Mercedes-Benz” which began to be applied to it more than twenty years later, following the launch of the manufacturer’s W 116 is not one that would have been used or recognized in the 1950s.

A year after the introduction of the 170 S, its M136 was also installed in the 170 V. However, both the compression ratio and the carburettor differed, so that the power advantage for the 170 S was merely reduced – from a difference of 14 PS to one of 7 PS – and not eliminated.

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