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W186 IV 300c Station Wagon
Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in April 1951, the four door "W186" Type 300 entered series production in November 1951.
Available as both a saloon and cabriolet, it featured graceful modernist bodywork atop Mercedes' proven X-frame chassis. An all new 3.0 L (2996 cc/182 in³) overhead cam, aluminum head M186 straight-6 was coupled to a 4-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox. Twin downdraft Solex carburetors and an innovative diagonal head-to-block joint that allowed for oversized intake and exhaust valves produced 115 PS (85 kW; 113hp) at a 6.4:1 compression ratio.
Designed to give reliable service under prolonged hard use, the engine featured deep water jackets, thermostatically controlled oil cooling, copper-lead bearings and a hardened crankshaft. With no natural cruising speed, the car could sustain anything up to its maximum speed all day, road conditions permitting.
The combination of a rigid X-shaped ovoid steel tube frame and four-wheel independent suspension, providing surprisingly nimble handling. Double wishbones, coil springs, and an stabilizer bar were used up front and Mercedes' typical double coil spring swing axle in rear. An innovative dashboard-operated rear load-leveling suspension engaged a torsion bar to increase stiffness by one-third when needed, and a pedal-operated central lubrication system kept friction points silent. Brakes were hydraulic drum all around, steering worm-and-sector, replaced in 1952 by recirculating ball.
A total of 6,214 saloons and 591 cabriolets (officially called Cabriolet Ds) were produced through September, 1955, including a brief 300b run incorporating elements of the 300c's comprehensive facelift prior to its debut.
The Type 300b was introduced in March 1954, adding vacuum assisted power brakes and front door vent windows. Engine power was upped to 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) via different Solex carburetors and a increased compression ratio of 7.5:1.
The Type 300c made its debut in September, 1955, adding a larger rear window and optional 3-speed automatic transmission. It was priced at $10,864 in the United States (DM 22,000 on the home market), with the convertible almost a third more at $14,231 (DM 24,700).
A special Innenlenker limousine (also called the Type 300 Lang) with on a 20 cm (7.9 in) longer wheelbase became available from July, 1956, priced at DM 25,000.
In 1956, there was no such thing as a production Mercedes-Benz station wagon. Although many heads of state and royalty used large, luxurious Mercedes- Benz 300 Series automobiles, for Mrs. Caroline Foulke, the granddaughter of the co-founder of the American Tobacco Company, they came up short in a particular regard – no extended rear cargo area.
This didn’t dissuade the resourceful socialite from walking into her New York City Mercedes-Benz dealership and ordering a Mercedes-Benz 300 C Sedan. She had a most unusual plan – to ship the vehicle from Stuttgart to the Binz coachworks company in nearby Lorch, where it would be converted into a station wagon to her specifications and reflecting her superb taste. Binz was more than game for the task. The company was known for transforming passenger automobiles into ambulances and other commercial vehicles. According to famed Mercedes-Benz restorer Bob Hatch, the entire roof of the sedan was removed and an innovative one-piece roof cleverly fabricated to replace it. Binz finished the metal work with a handsome wagon tail featuring a two-section tailgate. The original rear doors were modified with vent windows incorporated to augment ventilation. Finishing off the singular vehicle were 190 SL taillights that replaced the standard horizontal units, unpainted wheel covers, a livery of Medium Gray (DB 116) over red leather, and diagonal stripes from the chrome belt molding to the lower rear end of the front doors, in red and blue, matching Mrs. Foulke’s yacht club burgee. When the striking Mercedes made its debut in the States, there was nothing else like it on the road.
A total of 1,432 300c saloons were produced through July, 1957. Only 51 300c series Cabriolet D's were built through June 1956, when the model was dropped.
Introduced in August 1957, the 300d featured a longer wheelbase, fuel injection, and unique hardtop configuration transforming it into a pillarless phaeton.
An additional 4 inches of wheelbase provided greater rear legroom, equaling that of the long wheelbase model Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Removable rear quarter lights allowed an unobstructed view in and out from the front vent window on back, much valued in the model's popular role as a "parade car".
Sharing the pioneering 300SL sports car's Bosch mechanical direct injection with 300Sc, the 300d's M189 engine produced 180 PS (130 kW; 180 hp) at 5500 rpm. Automatic transmission was standard. Power brakes, power steering, and Artic-Kar air-conditioning were added as options.
A total of 3,077 300d models (priced at DM 27,000) was produced through March 1962, along with 65 special-order 300d-based Cabriolet Ds (DM 35,500). After some initial overlap with the smaller, more contemporary styled W112 chassied 300SE, the 300d was ultimately replaced as company flagship by the 600 pullman "Grand Mercedes".
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