Mercedes-Benz reintroduced six-cylinder models to its range in 1951 with the 220 and 300 types, both of which were shown at the Frankfurt Show in the spring of that year. Both featured single overhead camshaft engines with the valves set across the head, rather than in line, and actuated by rockers. The 220 was powered by a 2,195cc six-cylinder engine producing 80bhp at 4,600rpm, good enough for a top speed of 100mph with acceleration to match, while the gearbox was an all-synchromesh four-speeder with column change. A separate chassis was retained for these models, which were replaced in 1956 by a new range featuring unitary construction bodyshells employing large, box-section side-members – hence the term ‘Ponton’ – the others being the 190 and 219.
All-round coil-sprung independent suspension had long been a fixture of the Mercedes-Benz range, and that of the newcomers benefited from the newly developed single-pivot rear swing axle.
A shorter wheelbase was adopted for the cabriolet model that appeared in May 1956 and also for the coupé introduced the following year when the Hydrak semi-automatic transmission become available as an option. Luxuriously equipped in the best Daimler-Benz tradition, these superbly constructed Gran Turismos were priced some 70% above the 220S saloon.
In 1958 the 220 range was updated with a fuel-injected version of the 2.2-litre overhead-camshaft six, becoming the 220SE, though manufacture of the carburettor-equipped models continued into 1959, the saloons bowing out in July and the coupé and cabriolet in October of that year. By the time production ceased, only 3,429 220S coupé and cabriolet models had been manufactured and today these elegant and exclusive limited edition Grand Tourers are highly prized.
One of only 1,251 Mercedes-Benz 220S Cabriolets produced, this left-hand drive example was exported to the USA’s East Coast and first came to the UK in early 1990.
The car then underwent a very high quality restoration, which was completed in 1992. In 1993 it was offered for sale at auction and purchased by its penultimate owner, having previously belonged to one Christopher Brown of Sevenoaks, Kent. Works carried out since acquisition include a carburettor strip down (2008), fitting new tyres (2008) and a minor service by CCS (February 2009).
There are bills on file totalling in excess of £2,500, most of which is accounted for by a new exhaust system. Additional documentation consists of a quantity of expired MoT certificates dating back to 2008. Acquired in 2012 by the present vendor the car has been cared for and maintained within his private collection, having been flown abroad for a variety of events in the Middle East before returning to his UK country estate in 2014. A wonderful opportunity to acquire a rare and much sought-after soft-top Mercedes-Benz, only a handful of which is believed to be in the UK.