In the years following World War II, Mercedes-Benz, in spite of being ravaged by allied bombing raids, was quick to resume automobile production. The first cars off the lines were mainly the W136 170V sedans which traced their roots back to the late 1930’s. These bread-and-butter sedans served as solid, reliable transportation in the austere post-war years and became popular with taxi and delivery drivers. But as Eurpe recovered and production of the 170V increased, so too did demand for more luxurious and special models. To meet this demand, the 170 S launched. This was the first such special-class car to be built by Mercedes-Benz after the War. The 170S had a more powerful engine than the 170V, as well as improved front suspension and more luxurious and spacious cabin. The 170S range consisted of a handsome saloon, the full four-seat Cabriolet B and the two-plus-two Cabriolet A which topped the range. While Mercedes was still many years away from officially designating an “S-Class”, many feel this car was its spiritual predecessor. Power came from a 1.7 liter inline four-cylinder engine that produced 53 horsepower and 82 ft-lbs or torque. With the 170S, Mercedes Benz had finally marked a return to building the high-quality, yet attainable luxury cars that it was so famous for prior to the dark wartime years.
The 1951 170S offered here wears the very desirable Cabriolet A body style. It was most recently part of the famous Mercedes-Benz collection of the late Fred Kemp of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Kemp kept an extensive collection of significant Mercedes-Benz automobiles which was subsequently turned into a museum to be shared with the public following his passing. This example is an honest, pretty car that has had a great deal of restoration work done, and now presents in a very solid, above-average driver condition. It is an attractive car, finished in the classic shade of Feuerrot (fire red, #534) with a tan canvas top and tan leather interior. The paint is in very nice order, well presented but with a few minor flaws evident. Matching painted steel wheels and color-keyed wheel covers are correct for the car and help round out the classic styling. The chrome trim is complete and in good order, an important factor to consider on any Mercedes of this era. The leather cabin is also in very good order, with a slight patina that welcomes regular use. Tan German carpets are bound in tan leather and the wood interior trim is in very good order with a nice finish and no signs of delamination. Much like other cars from the vast Kemp collection, this handsome little 170S was well cared for but not made too fussy or over-restored. The engine bay is tidy and nicely detailed, while the temptation to overdo it was wisely avoided.
This is by far the most desirable of the 170S range. It is an attractive and well-presented classic that is still approachable for the average enthusiast looking to experience the joys of a proper 1950’s Mercedes-Benz. It carries the pedigree of being part of the famous Kemp Collection where it was cherished and properly cared for, and is now ready for another passionate enthusiast to take over its care and enjoyment.
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