Despite the limited " media buzz" in truth, there was little in the way of technical advances difference between the two.

The 180's W120 (41 kW; 55 hp ) engine was slightly bigger but still used the old cylinder-heating, although with its performance considerably enhanced after being fitted with side valves.

The 180, the first Mercedes based on a monocoque-bodied design, was initially available only with a petrol engine, although the ever-popular option of diesel was soon to follow.

With feedback flying into Mercedes-Benz that the 180 was still underpowered, the company wasted little time in introducing a more powerful engine, the inline-four cylinder W136.

The W136 engine provided sufficient power to make the 180 a more attractive proposition, with the car remaining in production well into the early Sixties.

The 180's stablemate, the 190, made its tentative debut at the 1954 New York Auto Show.

In prototype format only, the 190 enjoyed such a positive reception that Mercedes wasted little time in putting the model into production during the 1955 production season.

The Mercedes-Benz 190 was the first model from the Stuttgart auto giant to have its four-cylinder engine fitted to have overhead valves with an overhead camshaft.

The 190 version was also available as a three-seater convertible.

Often referred to as "Pontoons" because of their boat like shape. the 180-190 pair were the mainstay of Mercedes' lineup during their production runs. Between 1953 and 1959, the Pontoons made up for well over half of the company's production output.

One of the driving forces of the 190's success was their entry into the US market. Much of the credit for Mercedes gaining a toehold on the unlimited US market of the needs to go leading distributor Max Hoffman.

Born in Austria, Hoffman had moved to the United States where he established a succesful business as a major importer of European cars .

Los Angeles-based Hoffman, who had extensive knowledge of the US market, suggested to Mercedes that if they came up with a 1.9-litre version of the 300 Sports Lightweight (SL) could appeal to a broader market.

In other words, first time buyers with a limited budget.

Hoffman's intuition proved to be spot on, and the 190 SL turned out to be the car that would put Mercedes on the map in the United States.

With a much smaller engine than the 300 SL, the 190SL was hardly sluggish, with good acceleration and first-class fuel economy.

The primary factor was that the 300SL cost almost double than the 190 SL. Thanks to that advantage, among many others, the Mercedes Benz 190 SL convertible roadster sold nearly 26,000 models during its eight-year production run.

Together the " Pontoons " played a significant part in helping Mercedes-Benz to float their way through the Fifties as well as easing the company's entry into the Sixties at a much higher rate of knots.

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