Van profile: A Spanish all-rounder – the MB 100

Durable, reliable and a platform for numerous special bodies such as the first fuel cell vehicle: the MB 100 was ahead of its time in many respects.


Daimler-Benz AG

Production period


Original model

MB N 1000

Successor model

MB W 638


Diesel engines: 2.0-2.4 liters


Flatbed, panel van, minibus

Power output

43-53 kW (58-72 hp)


4,652-5,066 mm


1,845 mm


2,050-2,367 mm


1.0-1.8 t

Permitted total weight

2.65-3.50 t

Popular platform

Daimler-Benz manufactured the MB 100 small van between 1988 and 1995. The predecessor of the Mercedes-Benz Vito was equipped with a front engine and front wheel drive. This made it ideal for a diverse range of bodies. It was available as a flatbed and panel van and also as a minibus. Its large chassis also made the model a popular choice among camper van manufacturers. The lower frame height and the broad sliding doors simplified entering and exiting the driver’s cabin. The MB 100 was also popular because of its spacious interior. Deciding to forgo a few comforts created enough space for up to nine people in the van. That was why the MB 100 actually had a larger cargo area and a higher payload than the next larger 207.

The van received an upgrade and a facelift in 1991: the headlights and the entire radiator section now featured an angled design. In addition, the engine was modified to match the emission regulations of the time. With front disc brakes and the automatic load breaking system, the MB 100 also featured two new and important safety systems.


The Mercedes-Benz O 319 entered into mass production with the L 319 in 1956 and became a symbol of the economic miracle.

> Read more about the Mercedes-Benz O 319

As of 1956, the O 319 was used as a line bus for commuter traffic and also as a tour bus.

In 1994, Daimler-Benz presented the “NECAR 1” (New Electric Car). The van based on the MB 100 was also the world’s first fuel cell vehicle. The fuel cell integrated into the vehicle transforms hydrogen and oxygen into water, creating electricity in the process. As such, the MB 100 also served as the basis for the first electric vehicle in the world. However, the electric version only had room to the driver and front passenger in the otherwise spacious van. The 800 kg fuel cell filled the entire cargo area. However, the electric motor provided impressive performance: its 41 hp accelerated the vehicle to up to 90 km/h. One charge was enough for approximately 100 kilometers. Throughout its entire production life, this Mercedes-Benz van was regarded as especially tough and durable.