The first serious production Mercedes saloon did not
appear until 1949, the 170 series.
Available in either petrol or diesel
form with both cars
using the same four door saloon body. The design was not
actually new, in fact its routes stretched back as far
as 1936, however the 170 played an important role in re-establishing
Mercedes in post-war Europe.
Despite the pre-war looks of the 170 it did manage to
incorporate hydraulic brakes and a rear swing-axle. The
petrol 170SV was powered by a sidevalve straight four
unit measuring 1767cc.
Access to the engine was via an old fashioned split-bonnet
which coupled with exposed headlamps gave a real 1930's
feel to the cars styling. Typically this Mercedes had exceptional build quality
and the engineers made many improvements under the skin,
such as improving the weight distribution to improve the
centre of gravity.
The engine produced 52 horsepower, the valves being arranged side by side and a detachable light alloy head was used. A downdraft Solex carburetor was fitted, as was an air silencer and wet-type air filter.
The thermostat, set in the water circulation system, was designed to ensure the 170S was capable of performing under the heaviest of load conditions without impacting water temperature.
The 170S also proved a big advance on the 170V in that the centre of gravity was reduced, and the use independant suspension attached to a rigid cruciform frame of oval tube sections provided much better handling.
In May 1949 a convertible joined the lineup, then simply known as the model B. In January 1952 manufacture began of the 170Sb, this model featuring a column mounted gear change selector, better heating system, hypoid rear axle, a wider track and starting knob mounted on the dash.
Last of the models was the 170S-V, built from July 1953 to February 1955. Using the engine from the 170V, the chassis of the Sb with front axle of the V model, and the body of the S model.