Once again Mercedes decided to reveal their new model
at the Frankfurt Motor Show, although this model closely
resembled the existing 190.
The 219 represented an evolution rather than an evolution,
and as is still the case with cars of today such an evolution
involved increasing the length of the wheelbase and the
power output of the motor.
The 219 was considered by Mercedes to fill the "middle"
gap between the 190 and 220 models. Fitted with the same six-cylinder engine as had been fitted to the former 220 sedan, the 219's performance was more than adequate, but far from spirited.
There was a small power increase in August 1957, up from 85 to 90 horsepower, although unfortunately this was accompanied by a slight increase in fuel consumption.
The 219 also offered
as an option a 'Hydrak' transmission. Manufactured by Fichtel and Sachs, this transmission incorporated
a hydraulic coupling connected to a conventional clutch
arrangement - and when the driver changed gears the mechanism
would automatically operate the clutch.
The system was supposed to make for easier gear changing, and allow the engine to provide better braking when decelerating.
However the operation of the Hydrak proved a little too complex for something that was supposed to make life easier.
Many owners tended to hold onto the lever in an effort to effect better changes, but all this did was to cause the clutch to burn out much quicker that would have been the case with a conventional transmission.
It quickly became unpopular, and was reflected in very poor (by Mercedes standards) trade in valuations on those 219's fitted with the Hydrak. Today challenge is in finding a car fitted with a Hydrak
transmission, then learning how to operate it properly
without burning out the clutch!