History of the 1950-1960 Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz re-entered post-war production with Hans Nibel’s 1936, four-cylinder, side-valve 170, which was made until 1955 with few changes. It was also available as a diesel model. Two cabriolets were offered from 1949, with 2+2 seating and five-passenger layouts.
A more modern six-cylinder, 2-liter, 220 model joined the Mercedes lineup from 1951 to 1955. The car had faired-in headlights and could be ordered in sedan, Cabriolet, and coupe guises. The Mercedes-Benz 300S “Adenauer” sedans (named for the German chancellor) were built from 1951-57 and aimed at heads of state with limousine and four-door Cabriolet options.
Mercedes-Benz’s first all-new post-war design was the “ponton” – that is unibody – design of 1953. Offered as 180 side-valve and 180 diesel and later as a 190, with a 1.9-liter OHC unit and a diesel, it had flow-through fenders and six-seater body and resembled the contemporary Chevrolet.
Once again a much more useful 2-liter, six-cylinder 220 series appeared with the same body in 1954. A convertible and coupe appeared in 1955 and are quite sought after today. These are durable cars, though not as iconic a design to most enthusiasts’ eyes. The 220S offered twin carburetors from 1956, the same year as the short-wheelbase 219, and a fuel-injected 220SE was offered in 1958. These are not without rust problems, and the over-arching concern that they are all over 50 years old.
Sporty relatives of the Adenauer 300 sedans, a 300S and 300SC coupe and Cabriolet were offered from 1951 to 1958. They had classic prewar styling and proved to be useful performers. The 1956 to 1958 300SC models were fuel-injected, with dry-sump lubrication, and actually cost more than the accompanying 300SL Gullwing. Only 760 of all models were sold, and they are near the top of postwar Mercedes collectability today.