1960 Mercedes-Benz 220SE 'Ponton' Cabriolet
|Engine||2195cc in-line six-cylinder|
|Wheels||Steel with hubcaps|
During the latter half of the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz offered a myriad of Ponton derivatives, ranging from trusty diesel-powered cars used by taxi drivers through to upmarket six-cylinder models driven by wealthy executives. The most luxurious version of all was announced at the 1955 Frankfurt Show, with the unitary construction 220S saloon adapted into a two-door cabriolet by Sindelfingen, Mercedes-Benz's coach building arm. The 220S coupe and cabriolet models were incredibly expensive, costing almost 75 percent more than the equivalent four-door saloon, and priced the same in the US as a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, the exclusive hand-crafted nature of their construction accounting for much of the price hike. Each panel was individually hand-fitted to the car and the general styling, although similar to the saloon, was actually quite different in almost every panel. The folding top of the cabriolet was a typically thorough Germanic piece of design, beautifully constructed and finished, while there was a choice of either a folding rear seat (for extra luggage space) or full size fixed rear seat. In 1958 the 220SE was introduced, with the well-proven six-cylinder engine now updated with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, classified as the M127 the engine displaced 2195cc and developed 115 bhp at 4800 rpm cutting the 0-60 MPH time by two seconds. Most were equipped with a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox although a Hydrak automatic clutch was optional and the four-wheel drum brakes came with servo-assist. In late 1960 further changes were made with revised camshaft lubrication, a later Bosch injection system and some interior safety improvements. Always made in limited numbers, the 220SE cabriolet remained in production from 1959-60 and just 1112 were made, of which only 36 were built in right-hand drive form.