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1937 MERCEDES 170H

A LESSER-KNOWN PEOPLE’S CAR

Production Years: 1935-1939
Country: Germany
Number Produced: 1,507

Engineered by Hans Nibel

This Mercedes-Benz is a car without clear paternity. Daimler Benz was pursuing, as were many other manufacturers of the time, the concept of a “people’s car.” In 1933, the 130H (the H for ‘Heck’ or rear, also in our collection) was the company’s first approach. The 130 was small, lacked power and, according to witnesses, handled poorly. It was also no beauty queen. In 1935, Daimler Benz moved on from the 130H and created a nice central engine roadster. For reasons unknown, production was limited to five cars. The only surviving car stands proudly in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. ​ Obviously, the 170H physically resembles a Volkswagen Type 1 but with a rear mounted water cooled engine known as the type 170, which was still alive after the war in conventional Mercedes cars such as the 170V. In 1937, Hitler lost his patience with Porsche’s prototypes and commanded DBAG to make 30 KDF cars. In 1937, our 170 H was imported to the United States with instruments in English units. The leather seats, overdrive, and radio were definitely not the staples of the Volkswagen Class and coil springs replaced the torque-bar suspension. The cabriolet limousine body, with its open top, was trendy in pre-war Germany.

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