The N 1300 is an absolute rarity among small vans. Initially, it was manufactured at a plant in Vitoria in the Spanish Basque region exclusively for the southern European and Northern African markets. Later, the van was also manufactured in Argentina for the South American market. Because the 43 hp OM 636 engine used in its smaller brother, the N 1000, was not quite powerful enough for many jobs, the N1300 entered production in 1975 with the more powerful OM 615 engine that provided 59 hp. The naming scheme of both vehicles reflected their possible payload and was drawn from the DKW Schnelllaster. This was the van originally produced in Vitoria before Daimler AG took over the plant. Along with the non-self-supporting chassis on a twin tube frame, the vans also inherited the longitudinally mounted front-wheel drive from the DKW F 1000. This was an unusual feature for Mercedes-Benz at the time.
In 1987, the N 1300 was finally replaced on Vitoria’s production lines by the Mercedes-Benz MB 100. This was later followed by the Vito. Yet the era of the van is by no means over. The N 1300 was only sold in a few countries and has since become a rarity on the roads today. Yet this is precisely its appeal for many of its fans. Its striking and angular design further emphasizes the van’s uniqueness. The Spanish van served as a passenger transport, police vehicle and towing vehicle in the past. Today, it has many fans, especially on the Iberian Peninsula. It is still used in many different ways: Combi Coffee from Porto roasts and sells high quality coffee in the N 1300. La Rika in Barcelona serves fresh sandwiches directly from the converted cargo compartment.
MEVOSA (1975-1980), Mercedes-Benz Spain (1980-1986)
DKW F 1000
Mercedes-Benz MB 100
OM615 (2.0 l, four-cylinder, diesel, 43.5 kW (59 hp)
Compact van, flatbed, combi, minibus
1.2t – 1.45t
Photos: Damaris Riedinger