As was usual for the time (and often so today) the release of the diesel
version of the 180 model would follow that of the petrol engined variety. As would be expected, the two vehicles (petrol and diesel
) were almost identical, except of course in their engines.
The 180D diesel
engine was identical to that of the 170Db, but the rear axle ratio had been reduced and, in September 1955
, the engine output was raised to 43 horsepower. In April 1958 "wind wings" were added to the front door windows, although in every other regard the body remained the same.
Nevertheless when compared to the post-war 170 model, the Mercedes
180D offered a fresh new look, far more modern than
the old 30's style 170. The 180D used a four door unitary bodyshell which formed
the basis for many other Mercedes saloon models. As with
all Mercedes cars the 180D was well built and offered excellent
It came as no surprise to the Europeans that the 180D was soon out-selling the petrol driven model, particularly given the cars economy and durability.
To demonstrate this reliability, several 180D's were entered into the rugged Mille Miglia
race in 1955
- a race that had been the turf of powerful sports cars. A special "Diesel
" classification was made to cater for these rather utalitarian entries, along with a hand full of other diesel
Of course the Mercedes took out all three top spots in the 922 mile race for the new diesel
category, averaging a more than respectable 60 miles per hour throughout the event.
a new 1988cc overhead cam engine replaced the
old unit, vastly improving its performance. This overhead
cam engine remained in the 180D until the car was superseded