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1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Convertible. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Chassis no. 128030 10 9502076. Engine no. 12961. Estimate: US$190,000 - 220,000 - Unsold

Introduced in 1956, the 220S saloon was one of a trio of new models featuring unitary construction bodyshells employing large, box-section side-members - hence the term 'Ponton' - the others being the 190 and 219. All-round coil-sprung independent suspension had long been a fixture of the Mercedes-Benz range, and that of the newcomers benefited from the newly developed single-pivot rear swing axle. Short-wheelbase Coupé and Cabriolet versions of the 220S soon followed. Luxuriously equipped in the best Daimler-Benz tradition, these superbly constructed Granturismos were priced some 70% above the 220S saloon.

In 1958 the 220 range was updated with a fuel-injected version of the 2.2-liter overhead-camshaft six, becoming the 220SE. Maximum power increased from 106 to 115bhp, and while top speed remained unchanged at around 100mph, there was a useful improvement in acceleration, the 0-60mph time reducing by two seconds. By the time production ceased in November 1960, fewer than 2,000 220SE Coupé and Cabriolet models had been manufactured, and today these stylish and luxuriously equipped Grand Tourers are highly prized.

An original California Black plate car, this attractive example of the model, was delivered new to Los Angeles Mercedes dealers R.G. Lewis & Co. Inc. of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood as confirmed by the original sale sticker with the car. This notes its original purchase price to have been $8,668, a considerable sum of money, which included its fuel-injection motor, a Becker Mexico radio, white wall tires, and two reclining seats – one with head rest. The buyer was a Doctor, who retained the car for much of its life and fortunately, he also retained all of the period books and literature which were supplied with the car, which make for a strong file of documentation.

In recent times, the car has undergone a cosmetic refurbishment at the hands of noted marque specialists Classic Showcase in Southern California. This work comprised a bare metal respray to its original color of Silver Gray Metallic, refurbishment of the trim pieces, the brightwork replated to a high standard, the wood trim cappings re-finished and all rubbers replaced. Alongside the cosmetics, the mechanical aspects were checked and overhauled where necessary, this is understood to have included servicing of the fuel-injection and cold start systems.

The 220SE presents extremely well and balances fresh aesthetics with a good eye for originality in its details.
 
Bonhams. Quail Lodge Sale, 18 Aug 2011 to 20 Aug 2011. California, Carmel www.bonhams.com