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Mercedes Benz 500K : Classic Cars

The Mercedes-Benz 500K (W 29, 100/160 hp) was one of the greatest performance automobiles of the Thirties. 13 months after the debut of the 380, Mercedes-Benz introduced the 500K at the Berlin Auto Show. Both were built in parallel in 1934, but by the close of the year the 500 K stood along at the top of the Mercedes-Benz catalog.

The Mercedes-Benz 500 K employed a generously-braced chassis frame boxed with the axle centerlines with fully independent suspension with coil springs using dual A-arms at the front and swing axles at the rear, both fitted with hydraulic lever shock absorbers. Concentric coil springs were added to the rear suspension to pick up higher loads, and later in the 500 K series, horizontal camber compensator springs added another level of control to the swing axles.

The engine had overhead valves operated by pushrods and rocker arms from a camshaft mounted above the crankshaft on the left side of the cylinder block. The Rootes-style positive displacement supercharger mounted at the front of the engine was activated by the driver when the accelerator pedal was pressed fully to the floor, engaging a multi-disc clutch pack on the engine and forcing air through the carburetor into the cylinders. The unit cylinder block and crankcase were cast in steel with a cast iron cylinder head and an 8-10 liter capacity aluminum oil sump. With the normal-aspirated version of the engine, it produced 100 horsepower. When the supercharger was engaged, that figure rose to 160 hp at 3400 RPM.

Later, the 500 K engines were given a rotary-type 'Jumo' fuel pump built by aircraft engine manufactures Junkers, and ensured adequate fuel flow when the blower cut in and fuel requirements soared.

The 500K had a four-speed gearbox with direct (1:1) third-speed and a pre-selector type overdrive fourth with a 0.6:1 ratio engaged without using the clutch. The top three speeds were synchronized. The standard rear axle ratio of 5.11:1 of the 380 was raised to 4.9:1 or greater for the 500 K.

In standard guise, the 500K had two spare wheels and tires, safety glass, electric windshield wipers, hydraulic brakes with vacuum booster and 370mm diameter drums, central lubrication, 12-volt electrical system and a centrally mounted fog light.

Production of the 500K continued for three years, through 1936. In total, there were 342 examples built. 29 were bodied with Roadster and Special Roadster coachwork.


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Sources : Mercedes Benz 500K Photo | Mercedes Benz 500K Article 

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