One Of Only 830! 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Coupe

Talk about rare! The automobile pictured here is one of only 830 produced in model years 1959 and 1960. I am pretty certain that I have never seen one, and besides its obvious condition, it’s that “not recognized before” aspect that caught my attention. This is a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE coupe, located in Memphis, Tennessee, and available here on eBay for a current bid of $11,100, reserve not yet met.

The seller states that he found this “beautiful” 220 SE in a garage where it had been sitting for 45 years. I’d say his definition of beautiful and mine have some distance between them. Beautiful at one time? No doubt, but this Benz looks like it got itself into an “I didn’t see the brake lights in time” situation before it sojourned off for its big sleep. Nevertheless, this Mercedes has some nice features besides the fact that it, according to the owner, has only seen 30K miles of operation. Its most significant feature, besides its complete originality, is its sunroof, an option few 220 SEs possess.

The elephant in the room is the grille, hood, valance and left fender, it has suffered a bit of a wack and will take some doing to repair – the assumption is that the grille may need to be replaced. The original finish is intact but mostly finished off with lots of evidence of surface rust. The seller does indicate that “The car is very dry the bottom of the doors, fenders, and rear quarter panels are in great shape. The floors are also very solid just a bit dirty and dusty and need cleaning up.” There is an image included of the underside and it does, in fact, appear sound. The seller claims that chrome and stainless are in good driver shape but I would strongly disagree seeing that the driver’s side beltline molding is attached with sheet metal screws – not even driver quality. Hopefully, the trim is repairable because replacement is probably close to out of the question on a car of this rarity. Of final note is the missing windshield, third car in a row that I have reviewed with glass so clean it looks like there’s none there.

The interior, original as it may be, needs a total redo. The red leather upholstery, contrasting with the while exterior, was probably quite sharp in its day but it’s just sad now. The door cards are missing as is the steering wheel centerpiece and there is no word if these missing components are available. These items, along with the grille, are concerning. A Benz this rare is hardly like an Impala or a Galaxie where finding missing components is a few keystrokes away. The instrument panel gauges and the dash/instrument panel in general, don’t look hopeless but they are going to require a lot of work to return to presentable, and probably useful, condition.

Not surprising, this Mercedes’ 2.2 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine is non-running but it does turn over. The seller states that “it will need to be gone through”. There’s that blasted “gone through” term again. Translation: The motor will need to be pulled and completely rebuilt. When running, this 2.2 is good for 115 HP and drives through a four-speed manual transmission. Mercedes was known for its “Four on the tree” shift assemblies. The seller also mentions that he has pulled the radiator due to its rotted condition; I guess the new owner will be on their own to find another.

The seller, in conclusion, states that “its a complete car that will need a simple straight forward restoration.” It’s hard to imagine that there will be anything simple or inexpensive about restoring this 220 SE. I’d hedge on the straight-forward part too. I’m not suggesting for a second that it’s not worth it, this is a rare and collectible Mercedes and needs to survive but the fact that it is a Mercedes and as rare as it is, will present a challenge to whoever decides to take on this project. I’m no Benz expert but it would be great to hear from those in our Barn Finds readership who have familiarity and/or ownership experience with a mid-century Mercedes. What do you think about restoration, is the seller spot on or maybe a little over-enthusiastic?

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  1. PETE W.

    From what I understand, Mercedes has a restoration parts inventory second to none. Regardless, of the year, or model, parts will be available, even if they have to make them for you.

    Pricey as hell, of course, but available.

    Like 12
  2. Rob

    Thankfully, it’s a Mercedes. The Mercedes Benz classic center will be able to supply or repair most any part (for a fee). Some pieces will be readily available, a few may not. If I could afford it, I’d happily tackle this one.

    Like 6
  3. Paolo

    Doesn’t do a thing for me. Totally meh. Your opinion may vary.

    Like 1
  4. Allan W

    WOW. These are beautiful when restored – have a look:

    Like 6
    • Mountainwoodie

      All I can think of when I look at these is the Chancellor of Germany at the time, Konrad Adenauer. Hows that for weird. I think it would take a mite more than 40 grand to make this right but hey…..if you have the money to spend there are many less worthwhile enterprises to spend it on.

      • Paolo

        Weird? I thought the same thing too. There must be something to it. Maybe it’s from memories of black and white newsreel footage from the cold war days.

  5. Fred W

    I may be the only guy who ever bought a “Ponton” Mercedes in the 70’s at age 14 – for all of $95. It looked a lot like the “Bring a Trailer car” mentioned above, but was a ’59 and a four door with red leather. My dad, a WWII vet, was unimpressed with the “Kraut car”, especially since it had a heater duct made of fiberboard.

    Like 2

    Chopping the top off to make it a perfectly proportioned roadster. Saving that top to have the hard option…like the SL. Custom rims that mimic the current hubcaps…only wider. New modestly aggressive suspension.Saving the gorgeous dash at all costs.Custom LED back-lit billet three point grill.Diamond stitch leather upholstery. Tesla model 3 drivetrain.Not sorry.

    Like 3
  7. Bultaco

    When I was a kid in 1973 my dad had one is these coupes only it was a 220S with carburetors. It’s was a pale green with red leather. A beautiful car, but despite careful maintenance and being garaged, it broke constantly. When the Hydrax automatic clutch needed expensive repairs, dad had it fixed, sold it, and bought a Plymouth Barracuda that was stone reliable. The Mercedes was the envy of the neighborhood though.

    Like 4
  8. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    In the mid 70’s I had a 220SE Sedan , a lady’s car that had 13k miles on it. Like this one, a 4 speed manual car that shifted like ‘thru butter’. Great highway Tourer with lots of torque, making passing easy.

    This really is a straight forward restoration, no serious rust to deal with, and damage is primarily to hood grill and front fender, all of which are the same on the220 and 219 Sedans, and not ‘rare’ like a rear quarter is.

    Much in demand, and short in supply, buyer should not end up upside down when it’s finished, like many of the projects on BF.

    Like 5
  9. dave brennan

    I saw one of these last fall at the truck stop where I work. It was a really pretty car

    Like 1
  10. Maestro1 Member

    Yes, Mercedes Benz Classische in Whittier California, believe it or not they have parts for this car and I mean everything. They do this work for a living and it will be a large number. When they are through with it, they will deliver to you a new car. Then you will have something rare,stunning and desireable among Mercedes Collectors. I’d have to see the car obviously, and I think the price is too high but not by much. I have no room or I’d do it.

    Like 1
  11. WR Hall

    A 220 Merc isn’t such a bad car. At our service station our next door neighbor had one and kept braging how many zillion mile were on it. He finally had to rebuild the motor when the crankshaft bearings became so worn it wouldn’t go into gear. He ended up helping a cousin who got a rust bucket junker from a frend, When the rear end dropped out he found us help and a better body to dump the motor into. They are not real complex and has been stated above front Sheetmetal intercahnges with other 220s.This could be a neat car in proper hands.

  12. Rodney - GSM

    This girl took a punch. No reason not to restore this rare beauty. Soon she will be back on the dance floor making all the boys wonder why they didn’t pay more attention.

  13. robbert

    I agree a classic worth restoring to its original specs. Parts plenty with a big wallet and solid figures when restored right.

  14. David Van Duzer

    I currently own one of these. Great cars! ‘happy to discuss with anyone interested in knowing more. Mine was featured in the MB Club’s STAR Magazine July/August 2019

  15. Bernhard OERTER

    Hello – my name is Bernhard Oerter, living in North Bavaria, Germany.

    I am owner from the same car – also a white Mercedes Ponton 220 SE Coupe.

    Yes very rare cars – but it is wrong to think that you can order all parts for this model.

    The front fenders are not the same as from the 220 sedan – there are after-market fenders which are expensive and need still a very good body-man to bring them on your car.

    Parts for the injected engine are nearly impossible to find! You cannot take them from the injected engines from the 111!

    The interior is very exclusiv with much leather and veneered wood parts – the wood alone takes around minimum 6000 US $ to veneer, paint and polish – the leather i think around 7 – to 9000 US $ – has original leather vegetable tanned with special perforation.
    Every chrome-part by this car is special numbered on this car (without the front bumper). So – if there is missing one chrome-part – hopefully you will find this.

    And the idea that Mercedes classic can restore this one – so it will be very, very expensive that you can buy 3 of them in good running condition.

    I just have finnished my restoration Mercedes 220 S sedan, and also work on my 220 SE Coupe – my 220 S convertible is still waiting – i have many experience on this Pontons – they are lovely cars, but will never reach highest prices, so the invest – if you have to sell one – is not the same as the selling-price!!

    And the idea to make a roadster or convertible is crazy, because the coupe has not the same frame – the convertible frame under rear seats are much stronger than the frame parts from the coupe, also the entrance panels are reinforced

    Like 1
    • Bernhard OERTER

      Also the engine hood is not useable from the 220 S sedan!!

  16. Jeff

    I have a 57 220 s sedan for sale now here in CT,on CL. . They are pretty cool cars. the engineering on these things amazes me.

  17. Bob Vlasic

    Beautiful cars !! I was lucky enough to own a 1960 220 SE convertible. It was such a pleasure to drive and I loved the 4 speed column shift. The injection system was problematic for me. Some were also carbureted. I still have lots of parts for this car if anyone needs things. Thanks for the great memory and keep up the great work !!

    • Bernhard OERTER

      Hello – could need some parts for my 220 SE Ponton Coupe.
      Please could you contact me.
      Thanks Bernhard

      • Bob Vlasic

        Hello Bernhard. I think I would have to go through Barnfinds and would be happy to pay their fees. I know they edit this so let’s see how we can do this. I would like to know what you need also. Thanks, Bob.

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