BF Auction: 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190b W121 “Ponton”

Asking: $15,500Make Offer

There are two ways an owner can choose to tackle restoring a beloved classic. The first is to proceed cautiously to ensure the restoration costs don’t exceed the car’s potential value. The other is to throw caution to the wind so that the finished product is as good, if not better than it was when it left the showroom floor. The seller and previous owner of this 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190b Ponton chose the second path, and the result is a lovely classic that needs very little to be a near-perfect example. However, the winning bidder will benefit from their approach, with the owner including many invoices confirming the work performed that has brought this 190b to its current state. The owner has decided that the time is suitable for the Mercedes to head to new pastures, electing to list it exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

If you are going to choose a candidate for restoration, selecting one from a dry climate is a wise move. This means that the chances of the vehicle having developed significant rust are low. That sums up a vital part of this car’s history. It spent much of its life in sunny California, only finding its way to its current location in 2019. The decision paid dividends because this classic is as solid throughout and has no history of rust problems. The White paint gracing its panels isn’t original, with the Tag confirming it rolled off the line resplendent in Code DB-140 Light Gray. What I find particularly attractive is that the person applying the paint hasn’t aimed for a mirror finish, instead opting for the more subtle shine that was the hallmark of Mercedes models from this era. The panels look to be straight, with the gaps tight and consistent. The Black steel wheels and color-coded hubcaps add a classy touch, while the chrome, trim, and glass present nicely. This car’s creators haven’t focused on total originality with their build, adding a few well-considered and practical upgrades. The lights on the rear of the front fenders started life as low-watt clearance lights, but these have been converted into turning signals to improve visibility and safety. A set of period-look Michelin radial tires rounds out the exterior presentation.

Powering this Mercedes is the 1.9-liter M121 OHC four-cylinder engine producing 90hp and 111 ft/lbs of torque. The power feeds the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission with a column shift. Front suspension is independent via coil springs and double wishbones, while the back features coils and a swing axle. The power and torque figures might not set pulses racing, but with a curb weight of only 2,645 lbs, the 190b is an energetic performer that will cruise effortlessly on the open road. The owner states that the car’s odometer currently shows 109,850 miles, and there’s a note in the owner’s manual that states that the engine was rebuilt at 96,736 miles (unfortunately, there are no receipts to prove that it was rebuilt). With Mercedes’ reputation for longevity, this classic will likely offer its new owner years of reliable motoring pleasure. Work that can be confirmed, includes the Petronix ignition and Weber carburetor which should increase power and improve the car’s manners. Items like the heater pipes and box, steering box, rear axle boot, and electrical system have been rebuilt or replaced to maximize reliability. The seller believes there is a flat spot on cylinder #3’s intake cam, which causes some rough idle when cold, but smooths out once the car is warmed up. Be sure to watch the included video of the cold startup and of the car on the road.

If this Mercedes has a genuine highlight, I would happily bestow that honor on its interior. I always hesitate to use the word “perfect” to describe any aspect of a vehicle with over six decades under its belt, but this car doesn’t miss the mark by much. The invoices confirm it received a new headliner, seat cushions, and carpet set. The carpets have yet to be installed but are included with the car. The Brown upholstered surfaces look excellent, with no wear or stains. The dash is immaculate, there is no wheel wear, and the gauges feature clear lenses and crisp markings. Extra sound-deadening material should make life on the road whisper-quite, and there are a couple of upgrades to relieve boredom on long journeys. The current owner retrofitted the Blaupunkt radio with Sirius/XM and iPod functions and ensured it is AM/FM compatible. The sound feeds through a pair of 6×9 speakers mounted in the rear parcel tray.

This 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190b W121 “Ponton” has much to offer a new owner. Its presentation is superb, and considerable work has gone into making this a wonderful driver. It isn’t 100% original, but it should offer years of reliable and comfortable service. The invoices confirm the amount spent on this vehicle, so if you’d like a classic Mercedes that someone else has already done the work to make a nice driver, this might just be the car for you!

  • Location: Caldwell, Idaho
  • Mileage: 109,850 Miles
  • Engine: 1.9-Liter 4-Cylinder
  • Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
  • VIN: 1210101003209
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $8,200 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Aug 23, 2023 10:02am MDT
High Bidder: CharlieB
  • CharlieB bid $8,200.00  2023-08-23 09:59:55
  • Bruceb
    bid $8,000.00  2023-08-23 05:42:30
  • 2manyvettes bid $7,500.00  2023-08-22 13:58:58
  • Bruce bid $7,200.00  2023-08-22 10:20:22
  • 2manyvettes
    bid $6,600.00  2023-08-21 07:07:27
  • Alt Deutschlander bid $6,100.00  2023-08-21 05:15:25
  • 2manyvettes bid $5,600.00  2023-08-20 19:01:29
  • Alt Deutschlander
    bid $5,100.00  2023-08-20 17:36:16
  • 2manyvettes bid $4,600.00  2023-08-17 04:17:21
  • Ray Strange bid $4,050.00  2023-08-15 15:47:32
  • karoom
    bid $3,050.00  2023-08-15 11:02:58
  • 2manyvettes bid $2,550.00  2023-08-15 09:19:44
  • Summerov bid $2,000.00  2023-08-15 09:14:41


  1. Britcars4me

    Wow, what an excellent job on a classic Benz. As a kid my Dad had two of these and these were the first cars n my life. I can still smell the interior and love that steering wheel and horn ring. If I could afford it I’d go after this one.

    Like 4
  2. mike Lowrey

    looks like rusty coolant might be leaking from head gasket?

    Like 1
    • KaferDave Member

      From seller, a couple of things: I never paid much attention to these marks, not sure what they are from other than some residue from the refurbishment. I went back to the sale photos when I bought the car in 2019 and although the photos are small, I see the same marks. The coolant has never needed topping up, there are never any leak marks on the floor, the oil is clean, and there has never been any visible emissions whatsoever (like steam). There is some general accumulated oil at the bottom of the block that is over the yellow marks which indicates to me that the marks are old. I took a drive in the heat yesterday at freeway speeds and upon return checked closely all around the head. No indication of any leaks or seeps. The car ran smooth, good power for what it is, no other issues. I know this does not clarify the derivation of the marks, but maybe helps to confirm the current condition of the engine. Thank you for your comment.

      Like 0
  3. Jimbosidecar

    As a kid my neighbor had one of these, but I’m thinking it was a diesel. I remember him saying don’t ever let it roll backwards because the engine would run in reverse rotation.

    Like 1
    • JustPassinThru

      That would only be true in a two-stroke (gas or diesel). Unless I’m completely off, only Detroit Diesel and Electro-Motive Diesel (two GM divisions) made two-stroke diesels.

      Four-stroke engines, any fuel, would suck in from the exhaust if spun backwards.

      Like 1
  4. Denny N. Member

    I love these Pontons. They are built like tanks. The 180/190s were commonly used as taxis in Germany for many years.

    Like 5
  5. Bub

    That’s a lot of car for under 2,700lbs.

    Like 1
  6. Gary Cross

    Wondering about the suspension? In the driving segment there seemed to be a little clunking. Thanks.

    Like 0
    • KaferDave Member

      Gary, thanks for the question. I have no idea what that knocking noise was. It does not exist in the car. Just got back from another drive and the only noises are the engine, some wind noise, some squeaking of the rubber in the doors at lower speeds when the wind noise does not overpower. The photographer was in the right passenger seat and had a powered gimble framework attached to his camera used for the walk-around video. All I can think of was that some part of the apparatus was next to, and periodically hitting the window frame or window as he was trying to get the wide shot. To answer your question more directly, the suspension does not generate any noise, has had many parts replaced and professionally adjusted.

      Like 4
      • Gary Cross

        Thank you. Might take the plunge.

        Like 0
  7. Gary Cross

    Could the car be driven back East? Or would you suggest trailering it.

    Like 0
    • KaferDave Member

      Yes, I personally think it could be driven back east. If it were me however, I would want to preserve it as much as possible and ship it. It is obviously an older car with older comforts – no air conditioning, no cruise control, a different “feel” than a modern car, etc. I had it shipped from California wanting to keep the mileage down and just drive it locally. I know the person I bought the car from would drive it on occasion from Mountain View, California to Lake Tahoe. He also stated he had taken the car on several long distance trips without any problems. Although I have confidence in the car, I am hesitant to send someone off on a 2,500 mile trip in a 63 year old car with implied guarantees of no problem. Thanks, Gary.

      Like 3

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.