Crusty Cabriolet: 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE

Crusty-Cabriolet

From Avi K – I found this car in my mechanic’s lot in 2007. He was commissioned to restore it for a fellow who bought it from Mercedes in 1961 as a pre-owned vehicle and drove it up until 2007. My mechanic pulled the engine from the car and gave the owner a few options. When I noticed that nothing was happening with the car in 2009 I asked what the plans were. I was told that the owner changed his mind and didn’t want to restore it, so I asked for his number.

red-interior

I bought the car from the owner in 2009 and put it in my garage until the summer of 2014 when I sent the car to another mechanic to re-install the engine and get it running again – which he did. The car is very original apart from being repainted many years ago and the top being replaced. As the pictures show, the car is in need of a complete restoration but it is an excellent candidate.

crusty-trunk

This one will be sold at auction with no reserve on October 9th. The sale will be conducted by RM Auctions in Hershey, Pennsylvania and you can find more information here on their website. Thanks for sharing your find with us Avi! We hope it goes to a good home. Personally, I would be tempted to just make it safe and then drive it as-is. There are restored Mercedes all over the place, but how often do you see something like this sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store? I have a feeling it would generate quite a stir!

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Comments

  1. John E.

    I wish I had the money to make this purchase and do a complete body-off restoration. These older Mercedes (dependong on engine size), may not be worth all that much to over spend for a complete stock restoration, but well worth it to those of us who just love these older cars. It will make someone a happy camper for sure.

    • Phil L

      This is a Hydrac equipped car.

  2. jim s

    the list of vehicles that are being sold at hershey ,the estimates and # without reserve are very interesting. if this brings the 30000 to 45000 the auction house thinks it will i do not think it will become a driver, but it is a no reserve auction! great find and thanks for sharing.

  3. DT

    one of my favorite cars of all time!looks like a Hydrak??

  4. Billy

    My father had this same year 220SE in the same color combination when I was perhaps 5 years old – about 1970. Something went bad with the motor and it ended up sitting behind the mechanic’s garage north of Baltimore for a couple of years. Meanwhile my Dad had acquired another one (1959, white/red interior) which ran, but had a rough body to source a replacement motor and other parts. My mother drove that one a few times and then it sat in our driveway for a couple of years with no cover on it. I remember opening the door once to be met by the stench of mildew – I guess the top leaked! Finally both cars were towed from their respective resting spots to a shop up on Rt 40 in Harford County where the original car was going to be restored. I’m guessing it needed more work than expected, and my Dad didn’t have the money so the job was never done. Years later in the mid 80s I saw both cars still there, trunks poking out of the woods behind the shop. There’s still a rough walnut dashboard hanging in the basement of my parents’ house. Dad would cry if he knew what those cars are worth now, even in rough shape!

  5. Leo

    Count me out from purchasing at any of the auction house sales. I think the buyers premium is a crock. Why should “i” have to pay to purchase a car. Charge the seller for selling it ( their job) and let it go at that. End of rant and cool car but i think they are off their mark on the estimate….

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Leo. I sure agree with you on the buyer’s premium. I’ve been around all kinds of auctions all my life and it seems like the only place you have to pay a buyer’s premium is at higher end car auctions. Where/when did that start anyways? I might add that I agree with you on the car too.

      • fred

        Unfortunately the buyers premium has also invaded the antiques auction world. Probably 90% charge it .

      • rapple

        As a licensed dealer, I attend wholesale auto auctions frequently and at all of them the standard operating procedure is to charge a fee to both buyer and seller.

        Regarding this car, since it’s only been sitting for about seven years, it would be tempting to clean it up and fix what’s needed to drive it in the “preservation” mode. However, as Jim S mentions, the purchase price may be too high too high to justify that and with the potential value of well over $100k, a restoration will probably be in its future.

  6. Dolphin Member

    A lovely cabriolet to own, but…..it obviously has needs. The question is, how needy is it?

    If it was enjoyed for 45 years in Toronto, and if that included during their typically brutal, salty winters as the body suggests, the underside could be very needy indeed. No underside pics, as usual with the major auction houses, so you’ll need to get down and dirty to check it out.

  7. Eli

    I had this very car probably over 20 years ago. I had it for close to 4 years and had it restored. I removed the fenders, rebuilt the engine, refinished the wood, seats, brakes, exhaust, etc. The top although not original was not replaced. The car was black with red interior and was a manual on the column. I paid $6,000 for a super solid original car with no rust. It had around 60,000 miles. I purchased it from whom I believed to be the 2nd owner. When the injection pump started acting up after the restoration, I had enough and ended up selling it to a classic car dealer for $14,000. I believe he had a customer lined up for in the $20,000+ range at the time. They only made a little over 600 of the 220SE (fuel injected convertibles). I’ve seen these cars bringing close to $200,000 at auction for a body off restoration car. Although it would have been unrealistic for me to keep that car all those years (even if I would have known it’s future value) I do miss it. It was a very solid riding car and relatively exclusive. There are many more 220S Converts, but the fuel injection makes it unique. A total restoration on this car (the right way) will most likely not make sense although these cars are valuable if done correctly. I still have the original grill displayed in my garage. I had a parts car (57 220S sedan) which had a nicer one that I used.

    • DT

      “this very car”???

      • Eli

        I did not have the yellow car listed. I had a black with red interior version of the same model.

  8. horse radish

    This is just my taste.
    I love old Mercedes and own a few of them.
    I had an opportunity to buy a convertible years ago’ but missed out.
    I have however a couple of Coupes and they are even more rare.
    One of these days I’ll get around to fixing them…..
    They are wonderful cars !
    This one will get the estimate and then some…..just because they’re getting
    really hard to find…..

    • fred

      My first car was a 1959 180A, purchased in 1971 at the ripe old age of 14 for $95. It had sat under pine trees for a while and was covered with sap drops. I got them off one by one without scratching the paint, then buffed it out to a mirror shine. The red leather upholstery was still nice with some typical checking. The motor had a knock, and my dad (a former Ford mechanic) pulled it apart, rebuilt it and it still had the knock. Tore it down again, checked everything, reassembled, still knocked. Turned out to be a OHV rocker interference issue and could have been fixed in 5 minutes had we known.

  9. Adam

    Drove it from 1961-2007. I hope that’s not as a daily driver. Did you mean fairly regularly or everyday.

  10. Chuck Foster Chuck F

    Sometime in the 80 or early 90s I saw a 220S convertible for $2500 in a local Indiana sale paper, went and looked and it was pretty solid, but I couldn’t afford it. I got a Hemmings and called one of the ads looking for cars, the guy came from Califonia and purchesed the car, gave me a $200 finder’s fee, the easiest time I ever made money on a car.

  11. lionel

    The wood dash alone is worth 10% of the car!

    • Billy

      In good shape maybe…the last time I was saw it a bunch of the veneer was pealing off. Maybe I should try and sell it on Hemmings or eBay though. There’s a some manuals and other stuff (speaker grill and some pitted chrome parts) as well. Who knows – might be worth something.

  12. Arne

    Just preserve it as it is. It’s in pretty good shape and it shows it’s age nicely.
    I’d rather have a kind of “worn-out” car that shows it’s been used than one that looks like it
    came right out of the shop.

  13. Avi Katz

    My Friend took a couple of videos of my Mercedes 220se that he’s posted to YouTube.
    Here are the links:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJFpDCxNxg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lcXZerDQIk

    It will be sold without reserve on October 9th by RM Auctions in Hershey Pennsylvania.

    http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1070551

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      This isn’t a “body-off ” car. It’s a Ponton which is MB-speak for unibody.

      Normally I don’t make comments about ads but………….NO one has ever said I’d prefer my Mercedes-Benz with the Hydrak, NO ONE! That comment makes me doubt his base of knowledge and his truthfulness regarding this car for sale.

  14. Dan D.

    I had one just like this (same color) back in the mid seventies. It belonged to a girl who had taken off for California and had asked her dad to sell it for whatever he could get for it. I offered $500. He said he had no idea what it was worth so he accepted my offer. I felt like I was stealing it. Drove it for a couple years but didn’t have enough $ to restore it. I sold it to a friend and he restored it beautifully, painted it red. He lives in Cape Cod and still has it! It’s up on blocks in storage where it has been for many years. He is a painter so I guess since the car continues to appreciate, it will basically be his retirement someday. I have regretted selling this vehicle ever since, even have had dreams where I’ve woke up deliriously happy because in the dream it’s somehow my car again. Sigh.

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