True to its slogan “the best or nothing”, Mercedes-Benz has produced exemplary models over the years. Today, classics from the 1900s dominate vintage automobile markets and fetch hefty prices. In particular, models from the 1950s stand out from the rest and deliver unmatched driving experiences. If you have a thing for classic Mercedes-Benz models, then you will love this list of our picks for the top ten Mercedes models of the 1950s.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe
One of the pioneers of the SL-Class, the 300 SL Gull-Wing Coupe made several records. For starters, it was the fastest production car of the 1950s. Additionally, it was the first model to feature a fuel-injecting mechanism which supplied a 3.0-liter overhead cam. Although it was not the fastest, it nevertheless hit top speeds of up to 260km/h and a force of 215hp, which was quite remarkable at the time. The 300 SL stands out for its classic appearance. It features gull-wing doors that give it a unique and luxurious appearance. The inner designs are also classic yet comfortable, making it a gem for collectors.
1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S (W188)
Dubbed as the Piece de Resistance, the W188 stood out for its look, power, speed, and price. Considered one of the greatest Mercedes-Benz models, the car was produced in very limited numbers and was sold for incredibly high prices. It was initially introduced as a two-door version of the Roadster or Coupe. Going for almost double the price of the elegant top-of-the-range Cadillac and even more costly than the 300SL, the 300S was one of the most exclusive cars on the planet. Its arrival reestablished Mercedes-Benz as one of the leading prestige car manufacturers, marking a return to the brand’s tradition of producing high- performance luxury cars.
1951 Mercedes-Benz W187 220
The W187 220 was first produced in 1951, making it one of the earliest Mercedes-Benz 1950s models. The main focus of this model was luxury; it featured a classic appearance as well as a comfortable interior fitted with modern technology accessories. The only quandary is that it came up short on speed and power as it featured a modest 2,195cc engine powered by a 2.2-liter fuel tank.
*Mercedes-Benz 540 K
While produced in the 1930s until 1940 the Mercedes-Benz 540K was still one of the few super cars on the road up until 1958 when a private collection was sold off at auction. The Mercedes-Benz 540K delivered a modest power of 180hp and was powered by a 5.4-liter fuel tank. Like most other Mercedes classics, the 540K also features a sleek body that gives it a unique look good enough to fetch $11 million at auction.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet
The Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet boasts the title of the first post-war model that qualified the title for “the best car in the world”. This legendary model featured a four-speed manual transmission system, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, and a four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension. Consequently, it packed a lot of power under the hood as it was also powered by a 2,996cc inline six-cylinder engine. It was capable of delivering up to 115bhp.
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300D (W189) Landaulet
The car of choice for leaders, businessmen, and even the pope, the Mercedes-Benz 300D (W189) Landaulet was built for prestige. Its classic design gave it an elegant look, and it rivaled the then Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud to become the Maybach of its time. Inside, the model was fitted with convenient accessories such as a VHF phone and glass partitioning to deliver a truly comfortable and luxurious experience. As you may imagine, the 300D was just as expensive as it was popular with the upper classes.
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Roadster
The 300SC Roadster model was so exclusive that only 53 models were produced. This model holds the honor of being the last Mercedes Coupe model to be coach-built, and every unit was hand-made with just as much precision as the legendary 540K model. It was powered by a six-cylinder engine and was capable of producing up to 175hp. It also incorporated the latest technology at the time, and there was a wide range of colors, design, and materials to choose for the interior. The 300SC was basically a better version of the W188 as the only differences between the two models were an independent rear suspension, fuel injection, and minor design changes.
1955 Mercedes-Benz W196
Produced specifically for the 1954 and 1955 F1 racing seasons, the W196 boasted of an elegant body and impressive speeds having won 9 of the 12 races. It featured a 1,493cc engine powered by a 2.5-liter fuel tank. The model’s looks and speed were further complemented by a power range of 250bhp to 300bhp, which is still impressive compared to modern Mercedes-Benz models. In 2013, a rare W196 driven by the legendary Formula 1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio was sold for a jaw dropping £17.5m (about $22.7 million) in what is said to be a record for an automobile sold at auction.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W196S)
Designed for speed, the 300 SLR (W196S) took the car racing industry by storm in the late 1950s. It was designed from the W196 Formula One race car and was optimized for speed and looks. It was capable of delivering an awesome 157km/h at the time, and it took the honor of the winner of the World Sportscar Championship in 1955. The 300 SLR was powered by a 2,981cc fuel-injected engine that gave out up to 310bhp in power. Unfortunately, it was the victim of a catastrophic crash that saw it get recalled, but it is still one of the best Mercedes-Benz models of the 1950s.
1954-1959 Mercedes-Benz W105
The Mercedes-Benz W105 was a more powerful and slightly bigger version of the W120. It featured a six- cylinder engine powered by a 2.2-liter fuel tank. Its exterior was just as elegant as other classic Mercedes- Benz models, but it came up short on speed and power as it managed a maximum speed of about 150km/h and maximum power of 85hp.
Mercedes-Benz is and always has been one of the best car manufacturers in the world, and its classic models still send ripples throughout the industry and bag millions of dollars at auction sites. Out of the numerous models produced in the 1900s, the above models stand out as the top ten Mercedes-Benz models of the 1950s thanks to their captivating looks, great speeds, and powerful engines. These models are without a doubt the definition of classic vintage cars of the 1950s.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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