For the casual enthusiast, Mercedes-Benz models of the immediate pre-war period can seem rather confusing, with many of the same model designations being utilized on different chassis and bodies. The Mercedes-Benz W153 was a mid-range luxury car that, typically for Mercedes at the time, was offered in a variety of factory body configurations, and one of several vehicles known simply as the “230”. It was sold in conjunction with the older W143 beginning in 1938, with production ceasing in 1941, though it was reborn after the war as the 170S. Body styles included a sedan, two-seat Cabriolet A, four-seat/two-door Cabriolet B and four-door/four-seat Cabriolet D.
When compared to the W143, the W153 had more full-bodied and modern styling complete with an integrated trunk. The chassis of the W153 was derived from the earlier car, an oval-tube affair with independent front and rear suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The six-cylinder engine displaced 2.3 liters (hence the “230” moniker) and breathed through a pair of Solex carburetors, making just 55 horsepower; thanks in part to the low 6.6:1 compression ratio. Power output was about the same as the W143, albeit with a bit more refinement and torque while power was fed to the rear wheels via a four-speed fully synchronized transmission. Performance is understandably relaxed, but the refinement and quality make the car feel much younger than its pre-war roots suggest. Germany’s government policies effected production as Mercedes was left little choice but to support the war effort, and as such, just 4,264 cars were produced through 1943.
This W153 230B Cabriolet B hails from 1940, and is a very attractive example of this rare and desirable pre-war Mercedes-Benz. Originally delivered to a Swiss customer, its history has been well documented through to present day. It has been treated to a comprehensive, photo-documented body-off restoration which was completed in 2009. It presents very handsomely with its aqua-green fenders and hood, with cream body sides and interior. The color-keyed green and cream wheels add a nice touch, and the exterior is very well detailed with period accessories such as a cowl lamp, semaphores, and a wonderful, large amber fog lamp mounted in the center of the grille on a unique arched bracket. The paint presents beautifully, with flawless reflections and good panel fit on the body. The chrome is likewise in beautiful order, with a gorgeous grille and fully chromed headlight pods forming the centerpiece of the front end. The lamps all wear correct fluted Bosch lenses, including the large and rare fog light. A Swiss identification plate is mounted to the chrome rear bumper, reminding us of this car’s origins.
In its day, the 230 was a car for the financially comfortable client. This fact is reflected in the luxurious interior, which features extensive wood trim and leather upholstery. The two-tone paint theme carries over into the cabin, with the green dash and cream-beige leather mirroring the colors of the bodywork. The upholstery is beautiful and shows very little in the way of use since the restoration was completed. Proper German square weave carpet lines the floor and the large rear seat features a fold down center arm rest. The signature of the Cabriolet B is the large folding top, which allows for plenty of room for four passengers whether in the up or down position. This example is properly upholstered in Sonnendeck canvas, and a large boot finishes off the looks when folded.
Motivation comes via the 2.3 liter inline six which looks good and runs strong. The engine bay is tidy and pleasingly detailed. This example features a floor-shift four-speed manual, and the full-synchromesh makes it a breeze to drive in all conditions. A particular highlight of our 230 Cab B is the full set of original fitted luggage found in the boot. Along with the fabulously well-preserved luggage, the requisite spare wheel shares space with a period jerry can and tool set. It is a wonderful collection of period accessories that only serve to enhance the charm of this handsome touring car.
With known history dating back to 1940, a full complement of wonderful period accessories and a very high quality restoration, this 230 Cabriolet B is a very desirable and rare Pre-War Mercedes Benz that would be very well suited to show or touring. It is our pleasure to offer it for sale.
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