Mercedes-Benz 170 H
A Mercedes which is not immediately recognisable as a Mercedes; the characteristic radiator grille is missing and even the famous star is not encircled.
The car looks like the Volkswagen Beetle, which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and dates back to the same period. Although Dr. Porsche was chief designer at Mercedes-Benz until the end of the 1920s, his influence on the development of this Mercedes cannot well be proved.
Streamlining in general was on the rise around this time. Cars were now developed with a rear engine and direct rear-wheel drive, which meant that the front could be shaped more aerodynamically. Mercedes-Benz then introduced the new H-models (‘Heckmotor’ – rear engine). The first models, the 130 H and 150 H, generated poor sales due to their mediocre performance, and so the larger 170 H was introduced.
This was not a success either. The handling was not perfect, the car was noisy, and it was more expensive than the conventionally styled and front-engined 170 V, which on top of that was also available in different versions. Only 1,500 examples of the 170 H were produced.