History of Mercedes Benz: The 170S

The Mercedes 170 S (1949 – 1955)

Today in 2012 very few people have an idea what a Mercedes 170 S is all about. Most of them have never even seen one. If asked they might consider it as part of the modern A-Class series and when confronted with the fact that a 1.7 l powered car with a top speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) was once regarded as the ultimate in German luxury engineering, they have understandable difficulties to believe that.

So, let us dive a bit into the history of Mercedes after the war and have a look at what made this strange car so special. In the late 1940s, when this car was launched in Germany, times were very different. And not only in Germany. It was a similar situation all over Europe. Human resources were available in abundance, but there was an acute shortage in raw materials, machinery tools and most of all money. So most automobile manufacturers in Europe tried to launch cars that were either already available before World War II or were mildly upgraded to make them look at least from the outside somewhat more modern. Technically they were all just copies of what was already available ten years earlier.

The first Mercedes after the war was no different. Launched in 1947 the first “new” Mercedes was called the 170 V. It was a direct copy of what Daimler-Benz had introduced already in 1936. Towards the end of the 1940s people had grown a bit tired of prewar cars and wanted something different. But as money was still in short supply, Daimler-Benz used a body that was slightly bigger than the one of the 170V, but was also very similar to cars launched before the war.

The engine was upgraded from 38 hp to 52 hp and the car was launched as the Mercedes 170 S, “S” standing for “super”. Prices started in 1949 at 10,100.- DM ($2,400.- at contemporary exchange rates). It meant that very few could afford the car. As a first in the history of Mercedes: a four-cylinder car for the rich and famous. In the US that kind of money bought you an eight-cylinder Packard. None of 170 V or S cars would have found a buyer in North America. But if Daimler-Benz would have made an attempt to sell the Mercedes 170 S to potential American customers, there would have been no dealership yet to shoulder such a task. That came a few years later only.

But at least in Germany the car played its role surprisingly well. One of the reasons was of course that competition didn’t have anything better to offer. The General Motors subsidiary Opel had the prestigious and well received six-cylinder Kapit, which was priced at around the same level. But that was the end of it, no other manufacturer at least in Germany had a car that could rival the four-cylinder Mercedes 170 S. In typical Mercedes tradition its built quality, its road holding manners and its image were second to none and those three factors were the very foundation on which Daimler-Benz slowly started to re-build its road to recovery.

The icing on the (image-) cake was the introduction of two elegant convertibles, the two-seater Cabriolet A and the four-seater Cabriolet B. Both cabriolet interiors were trimmed more elaborately than the sedan’s. In typical Mercedes fashion, they also had a price tag that made them the most expensive German cars money could buy. Although very few could afford them, and even if Daimler-Benz was most probably not able to make money with these hand built beauties, image wise they were unbeatable.

When production of the Mercedes 170 S was finally halted in 1955, the car looked with its 1930s style fenders like an ancient pelican compared with the more modern ponton limousines, and very few still wanted to buy the car. But together with its predecessor the 170 V this car was in the history of Mercedes an instrumental first step in the company’s later dominance of the luxury car market.

Halloween Edition: What Car the Reaper Ordered

You always see the strangest cars that are associated with the Reaper in the entertainment industry. Often they are old cars, rare cars and, in some instances, sports cars that the general population cannot afford. So what are some examples that could fit the profile of a Reaper?

Talbot Lago – 1937

The Talbot Lago has so many smooth sides that it looks like the kind of car that can just glide through the streets. People will make a path on the road just to let this car pass by. With such a long front, who wouldn’t mistake this car for something that belongs to a strange entity?

Rolls Royce Phantom – 1925

The body of the car looks like it’s shaped to pass through any condition. With a shark fin on the back of the car it truly does seem like the mean machine the Reaper would want to drive. Classic cars always get chosen for the strangest of tasks.

Morgan Aero 8 – 2000

It’s strange to think that this specific car is from this era. The original styles of the popular Morgans were from the Post War era. It’s known as a sports car in some regions because of the power it has. Now a collectors’ car with a rich vibe to it, it can definitely pass off as the car of the Reaper.

Rolls Royce Ghost – 2010

This may be a modern, high status car but it can make for a great version of transportation for the strange Halloween figure. Make this a black car with silver trimmings and you have an idea for what the Reaper may drive.

To decorate any of these cars to make for a sophisticated character you could use trimmings along the edges and the tyres should be silver for a bit of a glimmer on the roads. The body of the car should be black. Matte black is also a good option as it gives the impression of wealth and elegance. The wheels should have many spokes to give a noticeable effect so that a person knows when the Reaper approaches.

In the entertainment and costume world, these cars could really complete the whole profile of the Reaper character and it could give him a distinctive personality. Although, they may seem old and worthy of being stored in a collection garage, they could definitely rock the streets on the night of a Halloween party.

Choose the Wedding Car That Suits Your Own Style

People are different and they express their differences in many ways, as is evident in their choice of wedding cars, for example.

Some like something traditional from the times of the vintage and classic car periods while others prefer a themed car from, say, the James Bond movies, or a very modern car that spells ”today”.

It depends on a few factors. Personality is often a good indicator of the type of car a bride, her groom and family may favour. Another is budget since not everybody can hire an expensive car for the wedding day. Whatever one’s motivation, the vehicle is most likely as important to most couples as the venue for the wedding or even the honeymoon destination.

And therefore the wedding car is important. Most people will only marry once and will therefore want to remember a lot of the detail. If your budget is very limited you may simply wash and clean your own car, or that of a friend, and use it on the big day. However, most people make sure they include a rented car in their wedding budget.

This allows them a few choices in terms of the car they want for the day, such as the rate at which it is hired, as well as the model of the car. Depending on one’s tastes and own ideas there will always be a choice of wedding cars.

Some may make it a fun experience and try and find a Kombi with hippie flowers painted all over, or an old Beetle from yesteryear, even a bus that seats many guests. The bus idea is popular for those who do not want to drive to and from the reception and rather enjoy the party while on the bus itself.

Then you get those who feel they want a real smart, classy and stylish car such as a vintage Ford, Rolls Royce or other car from the 1920’s or 1930’s. Others, still, may want a car from the 50’s or 60’s when movie stars made the coupe and sports cars popular.

Wedding cars will always have their own following depending on who the couple is. To find the car of one’s choice may not be that easy. That is why many people start looking the moment they are putting together ideas for the wedding itself. They know there are issues to deal with such as availability and budget.

They also understand that wedding cars may be more difficult to come by during summer months and weekends. To find one, the answer – if you don’t know someone who owns the car of your choice – is to contact a firm that specialises in finding and letting these wedding cars. There are a number of companies that make it their business to find couples the car of their choice.

They normally don’t own these cars but they rent them out on behalf of their owners. If you deal with a well-established firm with a good, widely respected name, you are very likely to find the car you want on your wedding day. Make sure you ask around to find out who to deal with, since no-one wants to be disappointed on their wedding day if they find that their car is not available.

Good companies know how to ensure that all arrangements surrounding hired wedding cars go smoothly, from finding the car, arranging payment and delivering it clean and beautiful to the client on the wedding day.

Some companies have been in business for many years and offer a great variety, whereas others may be smaller because they prefer to specialise in specific cars for people’s big day. Whatever your preference, make sure you never leave looking for the ideal car too late. You may not find the one that you are looking for.