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Desert Find: 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S

The Mercedes-Benz W180 chassis was the basis for the W180, 220A, and 220S, collectively built from 1954-59. These vehicles were powered by an inline-six engine and available as saloons (sedans), coupes, and convertibles. This ’59 220S has spent the last several years parked outdoors and accumulated some rust along the way. The seller hasn’t tried to get it running, so what you see is what you get. Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this German-born car is available here on eBay where the bidding rests at $930, but there is a reserve yet to be met.

These cars gained the nickname of “Ponton,” which referred to the unibody-type, pontoon-shaped exterior styling that would also be featured on the later W128 line. The 220S came on the scene in 1956 with a 2.2-liter engine, an upgrade from before, that produced 100 hp due to its use of twin-carburetors. These cars had a column-shifted, 4-speed manual transmission. Over four model years, the 220S saw a production of more than 55,000 sedans, plus another 3,500 convertibles and coupes. How many of these cars made it to the U.S. isn’t known.

After 63 years, many of them neglected, this ’59 220S has damage from the Sun from an extended outdoor stay. We’re told the car may have been started from time to time, but the seller has made no attempt to get it running. Corrosion is noted in a few places, such as the floor footwells, the trunk, and the battery tray. The seller has an extra trunk floor that the buyer can weld in place of the current one. The seller did attempt to clean this Ponton up and found a few cosmetic parts unaccounted for.

Besides attending to the body and paint, the interior will need a complete makeover. The dashboard is made partially of wood and there appears to be a hole on the passenger side. The operating condition of the brakes is unknown, and the tires are ancient. One of the unique items that have survived is the original Becker Brescia radio that was available between 1958-61. You don’t see many of these cars around anymore and this one would be a gem when restored. If it was a coupe or convertible it might be worth high five figures when restored, while the sedans are just a fraction of that ($18,000 according to NADA).


  1. Evan

    Fun fact: before Mercedes set up their US distribution business, Mercedes cars were sold and serviced at select Studebaker dealers.

    Like 10
  2. Dave

    Has some rusted floors to fix, no biggie, but its not dented or bent up, major win. Personally IDC if it runs or not, it would get a swap.

    Like 1
  3. charlie Member

    These were great cars compared to US cars of the same day, drove one frequently in the early ’60’s, owned by a friend who did not like to drive into let alone around, New York City, so when we went into the city, I drove. He had a favorite parking garage in Midtown where it was safe to leave it. It was quiet, solid, and did fine on the CT and NY parkways where the speed limit was 55 and traffic moved between 55 and 65, nimble on the streets of Manhattan, and it looked brand new so the taxis were respectful.

    Like 4
  4. Denny N. Member

    I owned a ’58 220S for many years and they are a pleasure to drive when in good mechanical shape. This one is too far gone, in my opinion, and is suitable for parts only.

  5. Mark in Atlanta

    Seeing this car reminds me of a girl from high school. Her dad had a thing for old M-Bs, and she drove a 220 to school. Both she and the car were lovely.

    Like 1
  6. Raymond E Thomas Member

    My first street car was a 57 220S, dad said “you can afford to buy it but you can’t afford to drive it!” That was 1971, I was 16. Dad was right.
    Loved it anyway.

    Like 1

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