Mercedes 170v Staff Car

A little bit of history………………..




Historically, the 170V was first displayed by Mercedes Benz at the 1936 Berlin Motor Show and enjoyed a production run from 1935 to 1941. As with most of early Mercedes Benz models, the 170V was a wheeled display of luxury and class. Reminiscent of W15 body lines, the V170 carried on to becoming a best-selling car.

The Second World War

Its versatility was unsurpassed as due to a WWII fuel crisis, many models were converted to run on gas produced by burning wood and coal in specially designed canisters mounted on both ends. The resulting gas was used to power the engine while the heat was diverted to the car’s interior, a much welcomed solution in wintertime.


Production of the Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136 I series) was resumed in May 1946. Even though just 214 units were produced until the end of that year, this was enough to raise hopes of a return to normal car production. Initially, however, it was not sedans but pickups, panel vans and ambulances which came off the assembly line because the Allied Control Council had prohibited the manufacture of passenger cars for the time being. It was not before July 1947 that production of four-door sedans was resumed which were, however, supplied almost exclusively to authorities.

What had happened at the time was this: Just twelve days after Germany’s capitulation, the Untertürkheim plant – or what had been left of it – was provisionally re-opened on May 20, 1945. Some 1,240 wage-earners and salaried employees reported back. Initially, the occupying powers only permitted the clearing away of rubble and – in their own interests – the repair of their military vehicles in makeshift workshops.

Production of motor vehicles was prohibited – and wouldn’t have been possible anyway for lack of machinery andmaterials. And yet, modest manufacturing activities were resumed soon with a rather mixed range, including a first vehicle again: a bicycle trailer.

A ray of hope was made out at the Sindelfingen plant press-shop: it had survived the air raids with relatively little damage – and this facility accommodated the tools for the successful 170 V passenger car model which had been produced from 1935. If anything, this was the key to the company’s return to the automotive business. In November 1945, the allied powers issued a permit to Daimler-Benz AG for the production of pickup, panel van and ambulance versions of the 170 V. The company engaged in the preparations for production energetically, despite severe shortage of skilled workers, machinery, raw materials, coal and electricity. The first 170 V engine was completed in Untertürkheim in February 1946; the first complete vehicles, finally, came off the assembly line in May 1946, as outlined above.

In engineering terms, the “new” 170 V was a pre-war model – surely a good one but, in its design, clearly more than ten years old. Its side-valve engine corresponded to the state of the art of a bygone age; the trunk was not accessible from outside, and the bodywork, completely separated from its X-shaped tubular frame, was still some way away from the first attempts at self-supporting bodywork design.

Our Staff Car

Over the past couple of years the Merc has had a complete wiring and brake overhaul. We are now undertaking an engine rebuild.

Engine and fuel tank out - chassis exposed so it can be cleaned up

Steering box out for refurbishment