Conceived by Hans Nibel, chief engineer of Mercedes Benz, the 130H was inspired by Edmund Rumpler's Tropfen-Auto. It followed on the Rumpler-chassis Tropfenwagen racers, which ran between 1923 and 1926.
Created in 1931 by Nibel, it had the 1.3 liter sidevalve four-cylinder engine mounted at the back, hence the "H", from German heck (rear), With the fan between the rear coil springs, it drove a transmission with three forward speeds, plus a semi-automatic overdrive which did not require the use of a clutch. (A similar idea was adopted by Cord for the abortive 810 in 1935.) The backbone chassis owed something to Hans Ledwinka, and suspension was independent at all four corners. Daimler-Benz put the 130H in production in 1934. Due to its suspension, handling proved poor, although perfectly adequate on German roads at the time, while its ride quality was superior to anything in Germany.