a Hybrid, technically a Swabian
International Motor Show in Berlin 1939 – from February 17 until March 15 –
marked the public birth of the Mercedes Benz Type 230-W 153. Due to the
outbreak of World War II in September 1939 the potential success of the new
Mercedes in convincing the customers was limited in time. Nevertheless some car
enthusiasts saw the potential of the Mercedes, with a modified car body, to be
a real luxury car from the beginning.
Swiss industrialist Ernst Rufener, owner of a textile company based in
Langenthal, also held this opinion. He had the wish for a special design
according to his ideas and employed the renowned Swiss company Carrosserie
Graber. Rufener envisioned a two-door convertible with four seats. The rear was
supposed to resemble the Bugatti Type 57, which was designed by Graber in 1937.
Distinctive feature of the French car was its long and pointed rear that also
completely covered the rear wheels. The Swiss engineers adopted this design for
the rear end of their new car body, whereas the whole front end was designed
matching the look of the Stuttgart original. Contrary to the rear-hinged front
doors of the standard Mercedes it was decided to mount two large front-hinged
doors, which was quite uncommon in 1939. The pointed rear end did not only elongate
the car visually, but also gave the car the flair of a large sedan. It remained
a matter of taste whether an open or a closed top additionally strengthened the
long-drawn-out silhouette of the car. The feature to countersink the soft top
completely into the car body was also a quite an uncommon at that time.