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.
First registered in May 1960, this exceedingly rare matching numbers fuel-injected W128 model is one of only 17 produced in Right Hand Drive format. The 220SE has been with its current owner for in the region of 30 years after he purchased the car from a the previous long term owner, a retired Army officer in West London. During the current ownership the Mercedes-Benz has benefited from restoration and repair works by leading marque specialists such as John Haynes. Notably the bodywork has been restored and refinished in its original shade of Mittelblau (blue), the wood and chrome refinished, and the interior retrimmed. Offered for the first time in many years, and one of only a handful remaining, this is a unique opportunity for the serious Mercedes-Benz collector.