Alongside Mercedes Benz Land Speed Record, Grand Prix and Sports Car programmes during the 1930’s the company also built a small number of Gelände Sportwagen of three types to compete in Rallies such as the Brandenburg Rally and Deutsche Alpenfahrt for the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
The most numerous was the 170VS with a 60hp 4 cylinder motor fitted to a modified W136 tubular cross braced frame of which 30 examples were built between 1938 and 1939.
The 230S was powered by a 58hp six cylinder motor which offered more torque than the 170VS that was fitted to a pressed-steel ladder-structure W153 frame of which 19 examples were built in the same time frame as the 170VS.
The Gelände Sportwagen programme concluded in 1939 with the 230SV which was an improved version of the 230S but with a short stroke engine that still only produced 58hp, but was more reliable than the 1938 model.
The spartan light weight bodies were of elektron with aluminium wings / fenders, the boot / trunk of these cars carried the fuel tank, a spare front tyre with normal tread pattern and rear knobbly treaded tyre plus a selection of spares and tools that might be required on route by competitors who were required to carry out any repairs without any outside assistance.
The frame on today’s featured W153 230S, was found after a two year search by the Mercedes Benz Classic Centre in 2002 and restored with many new fabricated parts in time for Mercedes Benz 125th anniversary in 2011.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took these photographs at Dana Point Concours d’Elegance in 2014.
Thanks for joining me on this “Gelände Sportwagen” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another French Concept car. Don’t forget to come back now !