1964 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Coupe
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 2195cc|
Mercedes-Benz replaced the hand-built two-door Pontons with a new line of luxury coupes and cabriolets, based on a modified version of the new Finnie floorpan. Carrying the internal designation W111, the 220SE debuted at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show and featured elegant, transatlantic styling by talented Frenchman Paul Bracq, in either pillarless coupe or open-topped configuration, foreshadowing the corporate look of Mercedes-Benz for decades to come. The pressed steel coachwork of the cabriolet was built at Sindelfingen alongside the saloons but finished by hand to a much higher standard than their four-door siblings. The 220SE coupes and cabriolets also benefited from more luxuriously appointed interiors, with unique door trims, carpeting throughout and the option of a polished walnut dash and full leather upholstery. A new padded-type steering wheel and more comprehensive instrument panel were also found in the W111 two-door range, along with a floor-mounted transmission lever and standard seating for five adults, although front and rear bucket seats could be specified. Under the stylish new skin, the 220SE was powered by Daimler-Benz’s excellent M127 fuel-injected six-cylinder engine, coupled with either a four-speed manual or optional four-speed fluid-coupled automatic transmission and the upmarket specification included front disc brakes as standard, plus the option of power steering. Remaining in production until October 1965, the two-door 220SE models were produced in relatively small numbers, with 14,173 coupes built. Surviving examples are now keenly sought out by collectors, combining classic looks with reliable mechanicals and many are still in regular use on Australian roads, testimony to the quality of a design now over half a decade old.