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1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S

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Year:  1957
Miles:  96,035 miles (recorded)
Model:  W180 220S 
Exterior Colour:  Graphite Grey
Interior colour:  Grey Leather


A super-rare, right-hand drive 220S Ponton project car with an interesting history.


The ponton was Mercedes’ second all new post-war model and the first to have unitary construction. Of the saloons, there are three distinct variants; the four-cylinder petrol or diesel W120 with a short bonnet and short cabin. These were the workaday models. Then in 1954 came the 220a, internally called the W180, featuring a stretched nose and stretched cabin, replaced by the 220S in 1956. This was the top of the range Ponton until 1958 when the fuel injected 220SE was launched. Finally, a cut-price 6-cylinder model, known as the 219, featured the longer nose to house a detuned version of the six but with the shorter passenger cabin.


This 220S was built in October 1957. It was supplied new to Kenya, then still part of the British Empire. The story in the history file is that it was order by a Greek shipping magnate for his Kenyan hunting lodge, possibly Aristotle Onassis, but further research would be required.

We do know for sure, from the build sheet we acquired from Mercedes for the car, that it was supplied new to Kenya and was very highly specified.

The data card notes special paint, special upholstery and headliner, white-wall tyres, Becker Mexico radio, underbody guards, two spare wheels, compass and altimeter, fire extinguisher and a fanfare horn. The body was finished in Graphite Grey (190) with grey leather upholstery.


In February 1972 the 220S was imported to the UK and remained around London until it was purchased by the last owner in 1986. He was a garage owner and the car was his pride and joy. The car was recently discovered following the owner’s death having not been used since around 2005.


The car is a restoration project but a very worthy one. The body has never been welded underneath and is extremely solid and totally original. The paintwork is poor having had a sub-standard repaint in the past that is micro-blistered.

The interior is in amazingly good condition for its 67 years as the photos show. The leather seats, headliner and wooden dashboard are in very good order and it’s all there.

We have got the car running after its 20 year rest. The engine runs really sweetly with excellent oil pressure and keeps its temperature just fine. There is reference in the history file to a fully rebuilt engine so perhaps that is a reason why it runs so well.

The clutch and the gears all operate as they should and the car drives, but there are no brakes at all.


Comes with an original handbook, a dating certificate from Mercedes and a copy of its build sheet from the Mercedes archive. There’s also an old newspaper article on the car, old photographs and MoT certificates.


All in all, a very exciting project and a worthy candidate to restore. Or, if you prefer, we can schedule the car to be restored by ourselves for you.

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