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1936 Mercedes 260D - Click on image for full high-resolution gallery

Rudolf Diesel filed the patent for his signature engine in 1893. However, its installation in a passenger car didn't occur until 1933, when Citroën installed a diesel engine into a Rosalie bay, although this car was never authorized to run on roads. Not until 1936, when Mercedes showed off the 260D, can we talk about the first successful diesel car on the road. Based on the 200 model, the 260 used a 2.4-liter I-4 engine named OM 138 mated to a Bosch mechanical injection pump. The ensemble allowed the car to produce 45hp of power at 3,200 rpm. Almost 2,000 units were built through 1940. The car initially has a 3-speed gearbox; and was upgraded with electric coil ignitors in 1938.

One of the diesel powerplant's main benefits – then as now – was reduced fuel consumption. The 260D burned 9 l/100 km (26 mpg U.S.) compared to 13 l/ 100 km (18 mpg U.S.) in the gasoline counterpart. Another bonus: at the time, diesel was half the price of gasoline, so the motorists saved a lot of cash at the pump.



[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Diariomotor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The amount of CO2 diesel engines have reduced thanks to their high thermal efficiency is huge!
      • 3 Years Ago
      YOU ARE CORRECT ABOUT THE WEALTHY NAZI'S BUYING THESE VEHICLES . WHEN I WAS YOUNG I HELPED MY FATHER DO A FULL RESTORATION ON A 36 MERCEDES BENZ DEISEL . CONVERTABLE WITH A DOUBLE COWL . THIS CAR HAD A ACTUAL SWAZSTIKA FOR A HOOD ORNAMENT . IT WAS AT ONE TIME OWNED BY ADOLF IKEMAN AND THEN PURCHASED FOR AVA BRAUHM . LAST MY FAMILY HEARD OF THE CAR IT WAS IN A WAR CRIMES ATRACTION . DAD CLAIMED IT WAS CURSED AND STATED HE NEVER WANTED TO SEE IT AGAIN ! HE HAD SEEN THIS CAR ON FILM BEING USED TO GAS JEWS THREW THE USE OF THE DEISEL FUMES BEING ADMITED FROM THE EXHAUST PIPE ! JUST A YEAR AGO I FOUND THAT SOME OF MY FAMILY WAS KILLED IN THAT SAME CAMP .
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting piece of history, thanks for that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This mentions 1938/1940 numbers and motorist saving on fuel prices. Given the political conditions at the time, I'm just guessing that not too many of these were being exported or available to ordinary customers throughout Europe. Those who were buying them were probably Nazis, Nazi sympathizers and wealthy Nazi industrialists or politicians, who wouldn't be too concerned about fuel costs at any price. The late 30's and early 40's not being exactly ordinary times in Europe.

        • 5 Years Ago
        you'll like this even better Sparky.... Panzer tanks, powered by diesel engines, when hit by shell fire tended to burn rather slowly...the Sherman powered by a gasoline engine tended to explode violently. obviously + one for diesel crews.

        the authors comment on fuel mileage and cost seems to me to irrelevant in context to the time and place.

        as to your comment about me...meh! like I care lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        Someone is stumbling blindly into Godwin's Law and Reductio ad Hitlerum. Sad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @pauln, Fiat was the one who pioneered diesel direct injection:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_Croma
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nasty Nazi politics aside, does that look like a direct-injection design from the schematic?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, its the classic pre-combustion chamber design all pretty much all passenger cars used until Audi/VW pioneered the direct injection TDI.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Father! Forgive them!

      For they knew not better
      in those days.



      We do now.

      So PLEASE give politicians, and people in power, the
      Wisdom and the Urge to Change the direction we've chosen!!

      Amen.

      • 5 Years Ago
      26mpg, huh? Not bad for a large heavy car with really crappy aerodynamics!

      Neil