The Cessna 170 is a light, general aviation, single-engine aircraft produced by the Cessna Aircraft Company between 1948 and 1956. When the used airplane market was swamped with surplus aircraft of practically all sizes, shapes and abilities, the Cessna 170 was a very credible endeavor by Cessna Aircraft to market a plane after the Second World War. One thing lacking on the surplus market was an economical, four seat aircraft, and therefore the Cessna 170 was born. Early versions of the Cessna 170 had fabric covered wings, but soon came an all metal, aluminum aircraft which was a relatively new idea in light, private aircraft. Later it became the 172, which has become the most produced aircraft ever. After the war, light plane manufacturers were very conscious to market the metal aircraft aspect of their designs, so 170s, 172s, 180s, 190s, 195s, Navions and Bonanzas were frequently seen with polished aluminum exteriors. Numerous contemporary aircraft have been restored to this finish.

170

Cessna began sales of the 170 with metal fuselage and tail and fabric covered wings in late 1948. With a more powerful 145 hp (108 kW) Continental O-300 and larger fuel tanks, these earliest 170s were four-seat versions of the popular 140 . Like the 140, they were constructed of metal with fabric-covered wings supported by a “V” strut.

170A

In 1949, Cessna began marketing the 170A an all-metal 170 with zero-dihedral wings, and a single strut replacing the “V” strut of the 170. This and succeeding versions of the 170 shared the fin/rudder shape of the larger Cessna 190 and 195 models.
305
In 1950, the United States Army, Air Force and Marines began using the military variant of the 170, the Model 305, designated the L-19 and later O-1 Bird Dog by the military. Model 305 was used as a forward air control and reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft was extensively re-designed from the basic 170 and included a revised fuselage and wing with large modified-Fowler flaps that deploy up to 60°.

170B

The Cessna 170B was introduced featuring a new wing incorporating dihedral in 1952. The B model was equipped with very effective modified-Fowler (slotted, rearward-traveling) wing flaps which deflect up to 40. and a wing design that we still see in the Cessna light singles of today (constant NACA 2412 section with a chord of 64 inches (1,600 mm) from centerline to 100 inches (2,500 mm) out, then tapering to 44-inch (1,100 mm) NACA 2412 section chord at 208 inches from centerline, with three-degree washout across the tapered section). The 170B model also incorporated a new tailplane, a revised tailwheel, bigger rear windows and other refinements over the 170 and 170A.
In 1955, they changed the previously elliptical rear side windows to a more square design.

Cessna 170,-A,-B – Performance Data

Horsepower: 145 Gross Weight: 2200 lbs
Top Speed: 122 kts Empty Weight: 1205 lbs
Cruise Speed: 104 kts Fuel Capacity: 42 gal
Stall Speed (dirty): 50 kts Range: 410 nm
Takeoff Landing
Over 50 ft obstacle: 1820 ft Over 50 ft obstacle: 1145 ft
Rate Of Climb: 690 fpm
Ceiling: 15500 ft

Sources:
http://www.bush-planes.com/Cessna-170-172.html
http://www.airliners.net/aircraft-data/stats.main?id=139
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_170