Mercedes-Benz Type 300
|Mercedes-Benz 300/300 S|
W186 Saloon: 7,646
W186 Cabr.D: 642
W189 Saloon: 3,077
W189 Cabr.D: 65
W188 Coupé: 314
W188 Cabr./Rdstr.: 446
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon
2 door coupé
|Engine||Mercedes 2996 cc I-6, SOHC|
|Wheelbase||W186: 3,050 mm (120 in)
W189: 3,150 mm (124 in)
W188: 2,900 mm (110 in)
|Length||W186: 4,950 mm (195 in)
W189: 5,190 mm (204 in)
W188: 4,700 mm (190 in)
|Width||W186: 1,840 mm (72 in)
W189: 1,860 mm (73 in)
W188: 1,860 mm (73 in)
|Height||W186: 1,640 mm (65 in)
W189: 1,620 mm (64 in)
W188: 1,510 mm (59 in)
|Curb weight||W186: 1,780 kg (3,920 lb)
W189: 1,950 kg (4,300 lb)
W188: 1,760 kg (3,880 lb)
|Successor||Mercedes-Benz W112 (direct)
Mercedes-Benz W100 (ideological)
The Mercedes-Benz Type 300 (chassis codes W186, W188, and W189) were the company's largest and most-prestigious models throughout most of the 1950s. Analogous to the top of today's S-Class, the Type 300 cars were elegant, powerful, exclusive, and expensive.
Two types were produced, a four-door tourer equal in luxury and price but superior in performance to the rival Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, and an all but hand-built two-door sports tourer rarefied in elegance, proportion, and cost.
The four-door 300, 300b, 300c (chassis code 186), and successor 300d (chassis code 189) models were often referred to as Adenauers after Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. In office from 1949 to 1963, he employed six custom convertible, hardtop, and landaulet versions during his tenure.
These large saloons and cabriolets incorporated many luxury features. Options such as Becker radio, VHF mobile telephone, and dictation machine were geared to the business man and politician. Among the custom features in Chancellor Adenauer's "parade cars" were writing desks, sirens, curtains, dividing partitions, sunroofs, and half-roof landaulet configurations.
300 (W186 II)
The four door "W186" Type 300, had its launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in April 1951, and entered series production in November 1951. It featured graceful modernist bodywork atop Mercedes' proven X-frame chassis. An all new 3.0 L (2996 cc/182 in³) overhead cam, aluminum head straight-6 was coupled to a 4-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox. Twin downdraft Solex carburetors made possible by an unusual diagonal head-to-block joint exploited oversized valves to produce 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp).
Designed to give reliable service under prolonged hard use, the engine featured deep water jackets, thermostatically controlled oil cooling, copper-lead bearings and a hardened crankshaft. With no natural cruising speed, the car could sustain anything up to its maximum speed all day, road conditions permitting.
The six passenger Type 300 was available both as a saloon or cabriolet (officially called Cabriolet D). A central lubrication system was fitted, along with an innovative dashboard-operated rear load-levelling suspension that engaged a torsion bar to increase stiffness by one-third. 
The 300's frame was made of ovoid steel tubes, with a double wishbone, coil spring axle and stabilizer bar up front and Mercedes' typical double coil spring rear swing axle. Brakes were hydraulic drum all around, steering worm-and-sector, replaced in 1952 by a recirculating ball unit.
6,214 saloon models and 591 Cabriolet Ds were produced until September, 1955 (including the 300b).
300b (W186 III)
The Type 300b was introduced in March 1954, adding vacuum assisted power brakes and front door vent windows. Engine power was upped to 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) via different Solex carburettors and a higher compression ratio (7.5:1 instead of 6.4:1).
300c (W186 IV)
The Type 300c made its debut in September, 1955, adding a larger rear window and the option of an automatic 3-speed transmission. This car was priced at $10,864 in the United States (DM 22,000 on the home market), with the convertible commanding a pricy $14,231 (DM 24,700). The C also featured a swing axle rear independent suspension.
While the Cabriolet D was cancelled after June, 1956 (51 built), the saloon remained in production until July, 1957, 1,432 in all being built.
An additional 4 inches of wheelbase provided greater rear legroom equaling that of the long wheelbase model Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Removable rear quarter lights allowed an unobstructed view in and out from the front vent window on back, much valued in the model's popular role as "parade car".
Employing a slightly detuned version of the 300 SL sports car's Bosch fuel injected engine, the 300d produced 180 PS (130 kW; 180 hp) at 5500 rpm. Automatic transmission was standard. Power brakes, power steering, and Artic-Kar air-conditioning were added as an options.
A total of 3,077 300d models (priced at DM 27,000) was produced through March 1962, along with 65 special-order 300d-based Cabriolet Ds (DM 35,500). After some initial overlap with the smaller, more contemporary styled W112 chassied 300SE, the 300d was ultimately replaced as M-B flagship by the 600 pullman "Grand Mercedes".
The hand-built two-door "W188" Type 300 S was Mercedes-Benz's top-end vehicle on its introduction at the Paris Salon in October 1951. The Type 300 S came as a 2+2 coupe, cabriolet (with landau bars) (officially Cabriolet A), or roadster. Although mechanically similar to the contemporary W186, the additional craftsmanship, visual elegance, and 50% higher price tag elevated the W188 to the apex of its era's luxury cars.
From July, 1952 to August, 1955, a total of 216 Coupés, 203 Cabriolet As and 141 Roadsters were produced.
The fuel injected Type 300 Sc appeared in 1955, its inline-six delivering 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp) at 5400 rpm and Mercedes-Benz's "low-pivot" independent suspension being fitted in the rear. Visually, only a pair of chrome strips on either side of the hood distinguished the "Sc" from its precursor.
Prices rose to DM 36,500 and 98 Coupés, 49 Cabriolet As and 53 Roadsters were built through April 1958.
References and sources
- Oswald, Werner (1. Auflage 2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5.
- Classic and Sportscar Magazine, February 1994, Pp. 52-55
- "300 300b 300c 300d Convertible Sedan 1951-1962". Silverstarrestorations.com. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Jeff Miller (2002-03-02). "Mercedes-Benz Type 300 "Adenauer" limousine © www.mbzponton.org". Mbzponton.org. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "300 S (W188)". Phil Seed's Virtual Car Museum. Retrieved December 1, 2005.
- "300 (W186, W189)". Phil Seed's Virtual Car Museum. Retrieved December 1, 2005.
- "Mercedes-Benz Type 300 Adenauer". MBZPonton.Org. Retrieved December 1, 2005.
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|4-cylinder||Sedan||W136 / W191||W120 / W121||W110||W115||W123|
|6-cylinder||Sedan||W187||W105 / W180 / W128||W111||W114||W123|
|Coupé||W187||W180 / W128||W111||C107|
|Large car||Sedan||W111 (until 1968)||(began 1965) W108 / W109||W116|
|Limousine||W186 / W189||W100 (600)|