This was car- or truck-driving in its original form. After all, the engine was shifted a bit further towards the front, indeed, it still shared the same space as the passengers, actually producing more noise than performance. Those were the days, when the idling of the Diesel engine was adjusted according to how much the open door shook.
At least the gearbox was synchronised, an advantage because there was a lot of gear-changing to be done. One never had a real choice, how high the individual gear-speeds were revved. This became more and more difficult with each half-ton of load, particularly in mountainous terrain. In fact, one had to be satisfied if one could keep up with the normal traffic-flow when unloaded, by diligently working the gears.
In 1955 the vehicle was introduced at the IAA in Frankfurt. It was criticised for having the front axle shifted more to the front. This didn't seem to disturb the sales at all. Presumably the thus relatively comfortable boarding was highly estimated. It even had sliding doors. Together with its further developed successor the enormous number of 100.000 units sold in ten years can be assumed.
From 1957 onwards, it was given more power in the shape of the petrol engine, also taken from the 180 saloon. Then, 48 kW (65 HP) at 4500 RPM were possible, however, 50% more fuel also ran through the carburettor. Even before the 319 was renamed, in 1961 it was given the larger two-litre Diesel engine from the 190 D with 37 kW (50 HP) of performance.
It could also be had as a bus, with seating for up to 17 (!) passengers. Despite the so-called economic miracle, by no means could everyone afford a car. The optional, longer chassis versions were welcomed by the bus companies. After all, the closed versions were manufactured as self-supporting constructions. Indeed, this also makes it more difficult for today's restorers (see videos). 06/15