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The Mercedez-Benz 380 is a model designation of an automobile designed and built by German manufacturer Mercedez-Benz in 1933.

In 1933, the Mercedes-Benz 380 sports tourer was one of the most advanced cars on the market. The W22 series had a synchronised four-speed gearbox and a straight-eight, 3.8-litre engine, supercharged to give 140 hp (104 kW) and a top speed between 135 and 145 km/h (84 and 90 mph). It was also the first Mercedes-Benz with a swing-axle and independent wheel suspension. The headlights were manufactured by Carl Zeiss and sit each side of the radiator grille, set behind the chrome Rudge Whitworth wire wheels.

After only two years, production of the 380 ceased, with between 154 and 157 examples built. Just seven were lightweight, open, two-seat sporting roadsters bodied by Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen coachworks.

Engines

The engines started out as the 3,820cc straight-eight from the car's predecessor, but the side-valves in the earlier car were now replaced by overhead valves. A new "Mercedes-Benz twin carburetor" was also fitted. More newsworthy was the availability of a "Kompressor" (Supercharger) which instantly established the car's credentials as technologically advanced and which with the benefit of hindsight applied an approach which became mainstream in the auto-industry only half a century later.

The least powerful version carried the engine code "M22". It came without a compressor and provided a listed maximum output of 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) at 3,200 rpm. This supported a claimed top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

Adding a "Kompressor" raised the maximum output to 120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp) at 3,400 rpm. The listed top speed with this engine was 130 km/h (81 mph).

The car was also available with an "Integrated Kompressor" (mit integriertem Kompressor) which changed the engine code to "M22K" and further raised the maximum power to 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp), now at at 3,600 rpm. Top speed was 135 km/h (84 mph) or 145 km/h (90 mph) according to the final drive ratio fitted.

There is also mention of a version with total cylinder capacity bored out to 4019cc and maximum output raised, using an "integrated Kompressor", to 144 PS (106 kW; 142 hp), with performance further enhanced.

Running gear

This was the first Mercedes-Benz to use an independent suspension setup, with a double wishbone front axle, double-joint swing axle at the rear, and separate wheel location, coil springs and damping.

The W22 series had a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the top two ratios. The headlights were manufactured by Carl Zeiss and sit each side of the radiator grille, set behind the chrome Rudge Whitworth wire wheels.

Bodies

In bare chassis form the listed price of the W22 was 13,000 Marks and many buyers will have chosen to buy a car body separately from a bespoke coach builder. Cars using any one of the six standard Mercedes-Benz bodies were all listed at 19,500 Marks. A four door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) body was offered along with a traditional Torpedo bodied 2 door “Tourenwagen”. There was a "Sport-Roadster" and three different cabriolet bodied cars, designated the "Cabriolet A", the "Cabriolet B" and the "Cabriolet C". The principal differences involved the number of seats (2 or 4) and the number of side windows (2 or 4).

Commercial

The Mercedes-Benz W22 was widely admired for its advanced high performance engine, for its sophisticated independent suspension and for the stylish elegance of the bodies. Its handling characteristics were infinitely superior to those of high powered cars from competitor manufacturers who were still using rigid axle based suspension configurations. However, this led to calls for still more raw speed, and in 1934 the Typ 380/W22 was replaced by the Typ 500K/W29 a slightly larger car with a significantly larger engine and, where a "Kompressor" was specified, 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) of power. After less than two years, production of the Typ 380 ceased, with 154 built. Just seven were lightweight, open, two-seat sporting roadsters bodied by Mercedes-Benz’s own Sindelfingen coachworks.

Models

  • 380
  • 380S
  • 380SS
  • 380SSK
  • 380SSKL
  • 380K "Kompressor"
  • 380 Roadster

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