1960 Mercedes-Benz L319

Mercedes-Benz says that when the L319 was first launched, the rest of the industry didn’t think much of its value as a commercial vehicle. Of course, history has proved those early doubters wrong; the van formula might not have been totally invented by Mercedes, but the L319′s relative sales success proved the mettle of the design among consumers. Between 1956 and 1967, Mercedes produced 123,234 L319s; the automaker says another 19,000 L319 kits were sent to Spain for assembly. Today, the Sprinter continues to follow the L319′s basic recipe, right down to its rear-drive chassis and single-box shape. However, instead of facing doubts about its viability, the 2014 Sprinter only faces renewed competition here in the U.S. from Ford’s upcoming Transit, which hews closely to the L319′s formula,¬†and Ram’s front-drive-based ProMaster. It’s a good time to be into vans.

By Alexander Stoklosa