Mercedes introduces 260D, new for 1936

By Paul Riegler on 23 November 2009
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In 1936, after years of engine development work, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 260D, the world’s first diesel passenger car, at the Berlin Automobile Show.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 260D

1936 Mercedes-Benz 260D

The Hanomag Rekord Diesel Typ D 19A was also introduced at the show but it wasn’t immediately available for delivery.

Based on the 200/230 model, the 260 used a 2.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 45 hp  (33 kW) at 3200 rpm.  It initially had a three-speed manual transmission and  was capable of speeds of up to 90 km/h.

1939 Mercedes-Benz 260D

1939 Mercedes-Benz 260D

Approximately 2000 of the 260D were built through 1940.  The 260D’s fuel economy was impressive: it burned 9 l/100 km (26 mpg U.S.) compared to its gasoline counterpart with 13 l/ 100 km (18 mpg U.S.). At the time, diesel fuel was half the price of gasoline.

The 1939 260D was updated with a four-speed transmission and offered in four body styles including six-seat Pullman sedan and Landaulet, four- or five-seat sedan, and four-or five-seat Cabriolet.  It was capable of speeds of up to 94 km/h.  Production was halted in 1940.