Mercedes-Benz and diesel engines go way-way back to the late 1930s. One of the first diesel Mercs to sport the classic look that came to define the brand is the W120 model, which in oil-burning trim was called the 180D.
It at first had a 55 hp 1.8-liter non-turbo diesel engine and was manufactured between 1953 to 1962; out of the over 442,000-strong production run, more than half were actually diesels – the 180D and later 190D.
The video below features an original and unrestored 180D which is given the full walk-around, then taken for a spin. This is a kind of Jay Leno-esque style of video, but the host really knows his Mercs and the onboard bit of the video is pretty unique too.
Moreover, you’d never think a diesel Merc as old as this would not smoke horribly and be incredibly clattery. This one isn’t, and once it’s warmed up and you can crank down the idle speed, it’s actually a great cruiser – just remember it has 55 hp and don’t push your luck when overtaking or merging onto the freeway.