Thursday, March 12, 2015

1957 Mercedes 180 D

"The longing of untold Mercedes-Benz admirers for a car of low operating costs, high driving comfort, and interior spaciousness is ideally met by the thrifty Diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 180 D. In this elegant all-purpose Sedan you will miss neither speed nor comfort, and only in refueling you become aware that the '180 D' is powered by a Diesel engine, for its unmatched miles-per-gallon economy reveals savings which actually help you to cut down traveling expenses."

Long before the oil crisis of 1973 made the Diesel engine an accepted option in passenger cars, Mercedes Benz already had explored the unthinkable. It was a strange mixture that Europe's biggest manufacturer of expensive fine cars presented with the 180 D in 1954: outside it was a representative modern middle class Mercedes, but underneath the bonnet worked an engine that would normally power trucks or tractors. This loud, vibrating and asthmatic engine was a far cry from the refinement of modern Diesel engines, but it offered very economic transportation. Unsurprisingly, Germany's taxi drivers instantly embraced the economic mixture, and soon many future Mercedes drivers should make their first contact with the amenities of these luxurious automobiles via a paid taxi ride.

The current owner bought our pictured car in 1970. "I have a second Mercedes that my son is driving. They look the same, but the other one has a Lada engine installed. It goes faster, but I prefer the Diesel Mercedes. It offers much more economía, and that is what counts today."

Judged by the number of cars still circulating on Cuban roads, Studebaker dealers on the island apparently have been pretty active to promote Mercedes models. Availability of the German cars in the whole of Northern America is mentioned in this 1957 advertisement: "Every Mercedes-Benz inherits a tradition of excellence unrivaled by any other motor car. It is a tradition extending back through 70 years of craftsmanship, knowledge and experience. Mercedes-Benz dealers are conveniently located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Cuba. Write: Mercedes-Benz Sales and Service, Studebaker-Packard Corporation, South Bend 27, Indiana."

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