Mercedes-Benz Kit from MiniArt for Epoch III

by Friedhelm Weidelich

Who actually invented the Beetle?

The new kit from MiniArt features a new 1:35 scale version of the Mercedes-Benz 170 V, which has been in the range for some time. MiniArt offers the van as a vehicle of a brewery.

I did some research in the Daimler archive and found a photo of the prototype, which is called the Mercedes-Benz Type 170 Da box van. It has the bodywork "Sindelfingen" and was built from 1951 to 1953 as W 136 VI D with a 1.7 litre diesel engine. At that time in Germany petrol was in short supply. The Mercedes-Benz 170 Va was only built in 1952 with a petrol engine. Both are already revised versions of the vehicles presented for the first time in May 1949, whereby the technical improvements did not affect the exterior. The MiniArt models can therefore be used from 1949 onwards. They could probably still be seen on the roads in the 1960s.

The kit 38035 costs 30 to 40 Euro and combines injection-moulded polystyrene parts and etched brass sheets. There are also four beer crates with green and brown bottles.

On the search for photos I came across a huge number of limousines of this type that have survived.

But then came the surprise: a version of the 170 V, which looks like a VW Beetle, the Mercedes-Benz 170 H differs only slightly from the Beetle, which has been invented by Ferdinand Porsche.

No way! It wasn't Mr Porsche who had developed this limousine shape and concept, but another Austrian. Béla Barényi had already invented the round basic shape of the later Beetle in 1925 and had explained his concept to Ferdinand Porsche in detail, but he had not sufficiently protected himself by patents. In 1952 Barényi defended himself against disparagement by Porsche and in 1953 he gained the legally certified authorship of the VW Type 1 of 1938, for which Ferdinand Porsche had applied for patents.

The Beetle shape was already used in 1934 for the Mercedes-Benz Type 130 H, which was the first small car of this brand to be launched on the market with a rear engine. The 150 H and 170 H also had a round front and rear engine.

Barényi had been working for Daimler-Benz AG since 1939 and was primarily concerned with the active and passive safety of passenger cars. His principles of body construction still apply today.


Probably the most popular German car of all time, the Beetle, is therefore not a VW invention. Volkswagen has always been strong in creating legends and has successfully pushed the true inventors of the new car design out of the collective memory.

MiniArt is also going to launch a Mercedes-Benz 170 V with folding top as a convertible.

Mercedes-Benz 170 V Convertible (Illustration: MiniArt)

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