1937 Mercedes-Benz 230 A Cabriolet



On June 28th, 1926 Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. became Daimler-Benz AG. Motor sport had been a strong tradition and was now pursued with increased vigor. Rudi Caracciola was the Mercedes-Benz racing star and he was winning races with the new Type K which evolved into the 500 and 540K. Less well known was the smaller version which was the 230.

In 1936, the Mercedes-Benz 230 was the fourth in the series of Nibel designs that would form the mainstay of Mercedes-Benz production in the difficult years of the mid-1930s. The first of this line – the Mercedes-Benz 170 – had appeared in 1931. Although outwardly of conservative appearance, the revolutionary Mercedes-Benz 170 embodied Nibel’s advanced ideas on chassis design, featuring a box-section frame with independent suspension all round and four-wheel hydraulic brakes that set new standards of ride comfort and safety. It was also competitively priced for a six-cylinder car and suited the prevailing market conditions, being compact and economical yet constructed to Mercedes-Benz’s traditionally high standard.


The Mercedes-Benz 170 was a huge success and spawned a family of larger-engined, more-powerful models, including the Mercedes-Benz 200 (1932) and Mercedes-Benz 230 (1936), the latter being a modernized and re-styled version powered by a 2.3-litre, 55bhp, side valve six. In 1937, the Mercedes-Benz 200 and Mercedes-Benz 230 (W21) were replaced by the Mercedes-Benz 230 (W143) whose engine had already been used in the predecessor model. Two different chassis designs were employed; long-wheelbase tourers and limousines using a box-section frame while the short-chassis cars employed an oval-tube backbone. Production ceased in 1939 after 24,500 230s of all types had been built.

The Mercedes-Benz 230 was frequently used by German officials during the Second World War, after which some were confiscated and taken to the USA, which may be the case with this example. This most handsome left-hand drive Mercedes-Benz 230 Cabriolet A was restored several years ago to a high standard and has been properly maintained ever since. Described as in good working condition, the vehicle has been fully finished for the auction. This is a most stylish pre-war Mercedes-Benz.


It is powered by a water-cooled, side valve 6-cylinder engine that has a a displacement 2,229 cc and a top speed of 72 mph. It has a 4-speed manual transmission and the chassis is cruciform oval tubing with front independent suspension with transverse leaf springs. It has an independent rear suspension by swing axle and 4-wheel drum brakes. This Mercedes-Benz 230A weights 3,234 pounds.

Mercedes-Benz created three models of the 230 and designated each model by code letters. The automobile offered here is a beautiful example of the Cabriolet A and is a racy and relatively expensive sports model that is definitely a junior 540 K in appearance. It is fitted with dual spares and fitted luggage. The interior is in excellent condition and is luxurious as only a Mercedes-Benz of the thirties can be. It has been properly maintained and is mechanically sound. The Mercedes-Benz 230 is recognized by the Classic Car Club of American as a “Full Classic” and as such is eligible to participate in their CARavans and Grand Classics.


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Text by Russo and Steele