Mercedes-Benz Type 300

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This article is about the 300d. For the 300D, see Mercedes-Benz W123.
Mercedes-Benz 300/300 S
Mercedes Benz 300 Limousine front 20110611.jpg
Mercedes-Benz 300 (W186)
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Production W186: 1951-1957
W189: 1957−1962
W188: 1951−1958
12,190 built[1]
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
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door phaeton
4-door cabriolet
4-door limousine
2 door coupé
2-door cabriolet
Layout FR layout
Platform Mercedes-Benz W186/188/189
Engine Mercedes 2996 cc I-6, SOHC
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
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)
Predecessor Mercedes-Benz 770
Successor Mercedes-Benz W112 (direct)
Mercedes-Benz W100 (ideological)

The Mercedes-Benz Type 300 (chassis codes W186, W188, and W189) were the company's flagship models produced 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 similar competitors; Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud,[2] and BMW 501, but hand-built two-door sports tourer rarefied in elegance, proportion, and cost.

These large sedans and cabriolets incorporated many luxury features. Options such as a glass partition, VHF mobile telephone, and dictation machine were geared to the businessman and politician.

The four-door 300, 300b, 300c (chassis code 186), and successor 300d (chassis code 189) models are all often identified in sources as the Adenauer Mercedes 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. Among the custom features in these "parade cars" were writing desks, sirens, curtains, dividing partitions, sunroofs, and half-roof configurations.

The two-door 300s (chassis code 188) and its successor 300Sc were the pinnacles of the Mercedes line of their era. Each were available in 2+2 coupe, cabriolet, and roadster versions.


300 (W186 II)[edit]

Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in April 1951, the four door "W186" Type 300 entered series production in November 1951.[1]

Available as both a saloon and cabriolet, 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 M186 straight-6 was coupled to a 4-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox. Twin downdraft Solex carburetors and an innovative diagonal head-to-block joint that allowed for oversized intake and exhaust valves produced 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) at a 6.4:1 compression ratio.

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.[3]

The combination of a rigid X-shaped ovoid steel tube frame and four-wheel independent suspension, providing surprisingly nimble handling. Double wishbones, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar were used up front and Mercedes' typical double coil spring swing axle in rear. An innovative dashboard-operated rear load-leveling suspension engaged a torsion bar to increase stiffness by one-third when needed, and a pedal-operated central lubrication system kept friction points silent.[2] Brakes were hydraulic drum all around, steering worm-and-sector, replaced in 1952 by recirculating ball.

A total of 6,214 saloons and 591 cabriolets (officially called Cabriolet Ds) were produced through September, 1955, including a brief 300b run incorporating elements of the 300c's comprehensive facelift prior to its debut.

300b (W186 III)[edit]

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 carburetors and an increased compression ratio of 7.5:1.

300c (W186 IV)[edit]

The Type 300c made its debut in September, 1955, adding a larger rear window and optional 3-speed automatic transmission. It was priced at $10,864 in the United States (DM 22,000 on the home market), with the convertible almost a third more at $14,231 (DM 24,700).

A special Innenlenker limousine (also called the Type 300 Lang) with on a 20 cm (7.9 in) longer wheelbase became available from July, 1956, priced at DM 25,000.

A total of 1,432 300c saloons were produced through July, 1957. Only 51 300c series Cabriolet D's were built through June 1956, when the model was dropped.



A 1952 W186 (left) and 1962 W189 (right)
Mercedes-Benz 300d limousine
1959 300d rear

Introduced in August 1957, the 300d featured a longer wheelbase, fuel injection, and unique hardtop configuration transforming it into a pillarless phaeton.

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 a "parade car".

Sharing the pioneering 300SL sports car's Bosch mechanical direct injection with 300Sc, the 300d's M189 engine produced 180 PS (130 kW; 180 hp) at 5500 rpm.[4] Automatic transmission was standard. Power brakes, power steering, and Artic-Kar air-conditioning were added as options.[4]

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 company flagship by the 600 pullman "Grand Mercedes".


1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S roadster

W188 I[edit]

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-seat roadster, 2+2 coupé, and cabriolet (with landau bars, officially Cabriolet A). 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.

7.8:1 compression and triple Solex carburettors raised maximum engine output to 150 PS (110 kW; 150 hp) at 5000 rpm.

From July, 1952 to August, 1955, a total of 216 Coupés, 203 Cabriolet As and 141 Roadsters were produced.

W188 II[edit]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc coupe

Following the 300SL Gullwing's lead a year earlier, the fuel injected Type 300 Sc appeared in 1955. Slightly detuned, its inline-six delivered 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp) at 5400 rpm. 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[edit]

  1. ^ a b Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4 (1st ed.). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. ^ a b Classic and Sportscar Magazine, February 1994, Pp. 52-55
  3. ^ "300 300b 300c 300d Convertible Sedan 1951-1962". Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  4. ^ a b Jeff Miller (2002-03-02). "Mercedes-Benz Type 300 "Adenauer" limousine ©". Retrieved 2010-10-01.