Mercedes-Benz 230 W143

Mercedes-Benz 230
Mercedes-Benz 230

Total Production: 2,036 1937 - 1941
The fourth in the series of Nibel designs that would evolve into the Mercedes-Benz line during the tough mid-1930 years, the Mercedes-Benz 230 was a very handsome pre-war vehicle often used by German officials during the Second World War, some of which were even confiscated and brought to the U.S.A. The Mercedes-Benz 170, the first of the Nibel designs was introduced in 1931 and though quite staid in appearance, underneath the hood was the Nibel's revolutionary chassis design that set a new standard of comfort and safety. The designs featured a box-section frame with all round independent suspension and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. The economical 170 was priced competitively for the market while keeping to Mercedes-Benz's exceptional quality standards.

Proving to be quite a success with the public, natural progression of the Mercedes-Benz 170 led to the larger-engined, more-powerful models that included the 200, and the 230 (W21). The following year the short-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz 230 (W143) replaced the 200 and 230 (W21). Powered by a 2.3-liter straight-six engine that pumped out 55 horsepower, the short-chassis cars used an oval-tube backbone. Later that year the marque switched the car to a long-wheelbase chassis and called the car the 230 that used a box-section frame. Production of the 230 continued on until 1941.

Special off-road sports models were created from the basis of popular 170 V and 230 to be used in cross-country rallies, but with higher output 2-liter and 2.3 liter engines.

Riding on a 120-inch wheelbase, the 2,289 cc inline L-head engine had a four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The vehicle featured blackwall Continental tires and dual side-mount spare tires.

During the 1930s and '40s, the most common saloon body type used for Mercedes-Benz vehicles was the limousine, with comfortable room for up to four passengers. These spacious vehicles generally came with an schiebedach, or a sunroof that could open up the entire roof with a sliding fabric configuration so both front and rear passengers could enjoy the view.

Three models of the 230 were created and designed by Mercedes-Benz by code letters. In 1939 production ended with more than 24,500 230s of all types built. Only 38 of the Cabriolet B 4-four seater with 2 doors models were produced, which made it incredibly rare. One sold in April of 2013 for $158,500. The Classic Car Club of Americans recognizes the rare Mercedes-Benz 230 as a 'Full Classic'.


By Jessica Donaldson