While it was usual for the Mercedes diesel
model to follow the release of the petrol driven variety, it would take an astonishing 2 years for the 190D to debut.
The reason was rather simple, Mercedes having continued the manufacture of the 180D model which was still selling well, with some 26,000 180D's being manufactured in 1958, and approximately 10,000 of these only finding their way to dealer showrooms the following year.
In fact, so popular was the smaller 180D that, in 1959, Mercedes released the 180Db model, which even carried over the old body style.
There is little doubt that it was the additional cost of the 190D that ensured demand for the 180D remained. The new, longer and heavier 190D was fitted with a much revised and larger 1897ci engine, providing 50 hp @ 4000 rpm.
The new engine had a shorter stroke and single overhead camshaft, instead of the old pushrod, long stroke engine. Gaining acceptance of the larger diesel
iteration was a challenge the Mercedes marketing team were up to, they having the confidence in the new car to enter it into the grueling 8,727 mile African Rallye from Algiers to Capetown.
Mercedes reliability and quality would ensure Karl Kling would win the event, he averaging at astonishing 55.5 miles per hour.
There were several revisions during the life of the 190D, most noteably the sharing of the petrol cousins body from August 1959 with the introduction of the 190Db.
The only distinguishing features between the two were the diesels
wider radiator grille, and simpler bumper without guards. And it was during the era of the 190D that tail fins came into vogue.