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As the ultimate expressions of the longlived W128 “Ponton” series of the 1950s, the Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Coupe and Cabriolet debuted in 1958 and 1959, respectively. Produced in limited numbers through October 1960, they exuded distinctive yet tasteful elegance, and featured clean styling with attractively restrained bright accents and exquisitely designed handbuilt interiors trimmed with fine, burled-wood veneer, leather hides, and Wilton wool carpeting. Instrument panels were fully equipped and attractive in layout, providing an object lesson for all other marques.
Just 1,942 220 SE Ponton style Coupes and Cabriolets were produced, including 1,112 Cabriolets. The lofty price of $8,091 was nearly double the sticker price of some of Cadillac’s offerings in 1960; for American buyers, exclusivity was guaranteed. The glamorous 220 SE Cabriolet was, and remains, appreciated among Mercedes-Benz marque enthusiasts for its sophisticated mechanical specifications, including a 134 hp, fuel-injected inline six; four-speed synchronized gearbox; and highly refined independent suspension. Impeccable build quality and particularly handsome body lines, boasting a roadster-like sportiness with the top down, remain other key 220 SE virtues.
This beautifully and freshly restored 220 SE Cabriolet from 1960 is a late-production example that was acquired in March 2000 by the current owner as a complete and solid original car that had resided in California from new. The owner, with 35 years of classic Mercedes-Benz restoration experience to his credit, commenced the correct, show-level restoration as a personal project five years ago sparing no expense in the process. Particularly striking in its fresh Light Blue Metallic (DB 353) exterior finish, a factory-correct color choice from 1958 through 1960, the 220 SE is handsomely complemented by a navy blue convertible top with a light gray wool headliner, new navy blue leather upholstery, and dark navy blue Wilton wool carpeting, with all new upholstery sourced from GAHH in North Hollywood, California. Equipped with a Becker Mexico radio, the Cabriolet is further graced by gleaming, properly restored brightwork and restored wood-veneer interior accents.
In keeping with the rest of the car, the 2.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine was completely rebuilt, as was the Bosch mechanical fuelinjection system, with impeccable detailing and emphasis on correctness that is clearly evident throughout. A new wiring harness was installed as well. The original tool kit, owner’s manual, and a workshop manual accompany this classic Mercedes-Benz. Since the restoration of this 220 SE Cabriolet has only recently been completed, it has not yet been shown, providing a myriad of wonderful opportunities for its extremely fortunate new owner.