When the 180 was introduced in 1953, its main feature
was the new chassis design - one that used sectional steel
side members tied into the floorpan - resulting in improved
rigidity and noise reduction.
The subframe carried the entire power unit and transmission, as well as the steering and front wheel assembly, anchored to the front part of the main chassis on rubber blocks on the three point suspension system.
The double joint swing axle of the previous model was
retained, as was the 52 bhp engine - however to help sell
the car improvements had to made, and indeed they were,
particularly in interior dimensions - now some 20% larger.
Increasing window area over the Mercedes 170S by some
40% also helped with safety.
Other features that distinguish it from its predecessor
include larger brakes, a wider radiator and the lack of
vertical bars on the bumpers. The external lines made the 180 look a little more stubby than other more upmarket models in the Mercedes lineup.
But despite the car filling the base model role, it was blessed with typical Mercedes quality and road holding ability. In fact, many road testers failed to realise they had reached the cars maximum of 125 km/h as the engine and mechanicals were all so quiet.
The 180 was manufactured from September 1953 to August 1957, then the 180a from September 1957 to July 1959. The 180b followed, it being produced until August 1961. The last evolution was the 180c, it being built from June 1961 to October 1962.
Although not built in prolific numbers, particularly when compared to other marques, the 180 remains a great entry into the world of classic car collecting, however it will never realise the increase in value reserved for the likes of the SL's and 300S models.