Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
When the 180 was introduced in 1953
, its main feature was the new chassis design - one that used sectional steel side members tied into the floorpan - resulting in improved rigidity and noise reduction. The subframe carried the entire power unit and transmission
, as well as the steering
and front wheel assembly, anchored to the front part of the main chassis on rubber blocks on the three point suspension
The double joint swing axle of the previous model was retained, as was the 52 bhp engine - however to help sell the car improvements had to made, and indeed they were, particularly in interior dimensions - now some 20% larger. Increasing window area over the Mercedes 170S by some 40% also helped with safety.
Other features that distinguish it from its predecessor include larger brakes, a wider radiator
and the lack of vertical bars on the bumpers. The external lines made the 180 look a little more stubby than other more upmarket models in the Mercedes lineup. But despite the car filling the base model role, it was blessed with typical Mercedes quality and road holding ability.
In fact, many road testers failed to realise they had reached the cars maximum of 125 km/h as the engine and mechanicals were all so quiet. The 180 was manufactured from September 1953
to August 1957
, then the 180a from September 1957
to July 1959
. The 180b followed, it being produced until August 1961
. The last evolution was the 180c, it being built from June 1961
to October 1962
Although not built in prolific numbers, particularly when compared to other marques, the 180 remains a great entry into the world of classic car collecting, however it will never realise the increase in value reserved for the likes of the SL's and 300S models.
Mercedes 180 Is Hard To Fault
By L. W. Whitehead - as published in the Melbourne Herald, 12/7/1954
Motoring little short of magnificent was experienced in road testing the Mercedes-Benz 180 Saloon - the first mono-construction car from the world famous German maker ... plenty of refinement, a high quality finish, and a road performance the harshest critic would find difficulty in faulting.
The Mercedes-Benz "180" proved a "Car of Many Surprises". Behind the wheel, on rough roads and smooth, it felt like a two ton car - yet a check of its weight showed it tared at only 22.5 cwt. It showed the pace of a six, was just as flexible in top, and delivered power with the satin-smoothness and silence of an eight. Yet under the bonnet it is a mere four cylinder, side-valve engine rated at 13 h.p. Just where 52 brake horse-power comes from in a side valve engine of this capacity is still something of a mystery.
Handling qualities were those of a high performance sports car - not surprising in view of the number of record-breakers produced by Mercedes, such as Grand Prix racing cars and the 300 SL
sports coupes. The steering
was a delight. Not a tremor of road-shock was transmitted back through the wheel over cobble-stones, potholes and corrugations. Yet it gave needle-eye accuracy and directness of control. Suspension
of the Mercedes
is independent on coils on all wheels. The system gave a boulevard ride over the roughest of roads, provided superb stability of highway curves and operated without any thumps, rattles or other under-floor noises not uncommon with some mono-construction units.
Acceleration qualities were excellent for a car of its horsepower rating and weight. It could be dropped back into top to 10 m.p.h. and accelerated away without judder. It picked up smoothly to a maximum of 36 m.p.h. on a 1 in 13 gradient approached in top at 20 m.p.h. and through the lower ratios showed plenty of punch in getting away from traffic lights. Cruising at 65 to 70 m.p.h. was effortless for the Mercedes. Wind noise was at a minimum at high cruising rates. All controls were beautifully light, direct and efficient. And it has a fuel consumption of around 30 m.p.g. under normal driving conditions.