Model story



Mercedes-Benz 320 cabriolet A

Chassis type :

W142 IV

Manufacturing period :

1938 - 1942

Production limit :

885 cars

Year of manufacturing :




Body :

2-door 3-seater cabriolet

Colour :


Engine :

In-line 6-cylinder

Engine capacity :

3405 cm³


78 hp (57 kW)

Compression :


Number of valves :

2 , side steered

Transmission :

4-speed manual with overdrive gearbox  

Drive type :


Maximal speed :

126 km/h

Fuel :



1950 kg

For the first time new model 320 was displayed during Berlin auto show 1937 presenting everything out of the best features which Mercedes-Benz may combine around 6-cylinder power plant. Designing of new type W142 was led by former race driver Max Zailer, and taking in consideration it was the time when "Silver arrows" were taking podiums of any European car races, becomes obvious sporty appearance of the car influenced by luxurious model 540K. As no surprise dedicated 320 coupes were presented to the race stars of the time Rudolf Caracciola and Manfred von Brauchitsch.

Comparing to predecessor, already aging 290 of type W18 as from 1933, new model became somewhat lower, longer and broader. The radiator grille was now more angled to the rear, bent and without transverse handle for the headlights giving distinctive appearance of the vehicle. Thanks to thick casing of the base model 290 engine design it was possible rebore it to 82.5 mm increasing swept volume to 3.2 litres. This engine was mated to designed by Karl Maybach 4-gear synchronized manual transmission providing to the vehicle maximum speed of 126 km/h consuming 18 l/100km fuel. W142 was produced on dedicated production line parallel to W18 covering wide body variant palette - long and short bare chassis, sedans (4-door), Pullmans, limousines (6-seater), cabriolets D, cabriolets B, Pullman cabriolets, cabriolets A (2 and 3-seater), roadsters (2+2 seater, 1937), coupes with removable top and streamline sedans (till 1938).

As during 1938 Germany introduced low octane fuel law it halted production of sport-type cars, but Mercedes-Benz was not eager to discontinue production of successful model. Engine of W18 again experienced upgrade - now it was bored to 85 mm increasing volume to 3405 cm³, but reducing compression from 6.6 to 6.25, power and driving speed of previous version was retained. This modified engine known as M142II was paired by redesigned 4-speed gearbox supplemented with overdrive gear.  Retaining, irrespectively of increased engine volume, previous type designation 320 it was manufactured until serious changes in the course of war occurred ceasing production in1942. 

On the same platform during 1937 ... 1940 military off-road vehicles were produced - 320WK (W142 III) comprising body front styling from W18, as well as later improved 340WK (W142 IV), which had in contradiction to civil version adjusted model designation and slightly to 80 hp increased power.


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