1960 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet (Type W128.030)


Details

Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!

Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.

In 1951 Mercedes-Benz introduced the Type W187 220 Series cars, which was the first model to be powered by a six-cylinder engine post World War II. This model was a great success and built in relatively big numbers. It was succeeded by the Type W180 series car in 1954, which like its predecessor was available as a sedan, coupe and convertible.

In the 1950’s Mercedes-Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300SL Gullwing and 300SL Roadster. Whilst fabulous sporting cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. The Type W186 and Type W189 300 series four door luxury tourers were built alongside the Type W198 300SL Gullwing and Roadster and they were indeed fabulous cars in their own right, though still very expensive.

Mercedes-Benz wanted to build full sized luxury cars that were ‘more affordable’ than the Type W186 and Type W189 300 series cars, so the Ponton range of cars (Type W120/W121/W105/W180/W128) filled that void nicely. The W128 was the top of the range in the Ponton series. It was built from 1958 till 1960 as a sedan, coupe and convertible. During that period 1,974 sedans, 830 coupes and 1,112 cabriolets were built, making the W128 one of the rarer models in the Ponton range. The coupes and cabriolets have become highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a stunning and incredibly rare factory right hand drive 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet (Type W128.030).

The data card on file confirms this is an Australian delivered, matching numbers car. It also confirms that this car was delivered in its current colour scheme of ‘hellblau’ (light blue, colour code 334) over ‘elfenbein’ (ivory, colour code 608) with a grey leather interior (colour code 955) and a dark blue soft top (colour code 895).

Little is known about the early history of the car in Australia, though it was at some stage painted red. We have tracked its ownership back to the late 1980’s / early 1990’s and at that time the car was owned by Sydney based businessman, dual Olympian and 1968 Sydney to Hobart yacht race winner, Denis O’Neil. It is understood that O’Neil sold this car, along with a number of others, at a Pickles Auction held at Sydney’s Horden Pavillion in the mid 1990’s.

Since then, the car has passed through two owners before being acquired by the current owner in November 2007. When he acquired the car it was red in colour and in his words “ . . . it was a bit tired”. A decision was quickly made that the car deserved to be restored to its former glory. That task was given to classic Mercedes-Benz specialist Russell Ebeling on the Gold Coast. The brief was to restore the car to a high standard but not concours. The owner wanted a nice reliable car he could use.

Ebeling completely stripped the car. All the mechanicals were removed and the body was stripped back to bare metal. Ebeling had a good relationship with Harvey Smash Repairs on the Gold Coast and the car was given to them for a complete repaint in its original colour scheme. The engine and gearbox were completely rebuilt and worn parts were replaced with OEM new ones where ever necessary. The cylinder head was rebuilt and made suitable for unleaded fuel. The entire braking system was completely overhauled. The chrome strips on the side of the car weren’t in great condition and have been replaced. This job proved to be quite a challenge as these trim pieces had to be remade. They had to be shaped by hand to match the lines on the car. The restoration was completed approximately 10 years ago.

Since its restoration, the car has been used sparingly. The owner has used it for Sunday drives, family outings and occasionally took it to Mercedes-Benz club events

Today this car still presents very well. The colour scheme, which interestingly is the same as that used in period literature, is unique and absolutely stunning. We think it even looks better in the flesh than in the photos! The paint work presents beautifully. It retains a strong depth of colour and a very deep gloss finish. Walking around the car it’s hard to find any imperfections, but we did notice some small defects at the bottom of the fuel door and on the driver side B-pillar.  The condition of the external trim is consistent with the paint work and its age, it is still very good though some pitting is evident in some of the chrome work. The chrome on this car is a real feature and provides a striking contrast with the blue over ivory paint colours. The bumpers, the light fittings and all the other brightwork all present very well. The lights, lenses and the glass on the car are also in excellent condition with only some very light delamination showing in the lower left corner of the front windscreen.  The wheels on the car are not the original ones. During the restoration the owner choose to have 14 inch wheels fitted instead of the standard 13 inch wheels. They are, however, the correct style and they are fitted with the correct hubcaps painted in the correct colour. The car is fitted with Michelin Energy XM1 tyres all around.

Open the door and you feel like you’re being thrown back in time. The interior is very simple, yet functional.  It is very German. The instruments are clear, in excellent condition and positioned in exactly the right spot. All the important information is right in front of you. The upholstery, carpets and timber are all in excellent condition. The ivory steering wheel and the timber (which there is plenty of!) are a real feature. The soft top on the car is like new. There are no marks, not even on the rear window.

After taking the time to admire and familiarise yourself with the car it is time to take it out for a drive. Insert the key into the ignition, turn the ignition on by turning the key anticlockwise (yes, that is correct!), press the starter button and the engine fires up relatively easy. Once the engine has warmed up It settles into a smooth idle and the car is ready to go. The 4 speed (plus reverse) column gearshift is easy to operate and totally suits the car. This is not a sports car that should have a floor shift, it is a very sophisticated car that is easy to drive and it just goes about its business in that typical Germanic way.  The 6 cylinder fuel injected engine feels strong and it provides more than enough power for the car to effortlessly cruise the streets.

With most cabriolets you will get some rattles and squeaks when you drive the car. But with this Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet there is none of that. The car is incredibly quiet on the road and it drives every bit as good as it looks. Equally importantly, the brakes perform well and stop the car efficiently.  Driving this car is such a pleasure that on our test drive we were so tempted to just keep driving it!

The Mercedes-Benz 220SE (Type W128.030) Cabriolet is a rare car with only 1,112 examples built and far less surviving today.  It’s not known exactly how many factory right hand drive examples were built, some sources state perhaps 29 or 30 other sources state only 12. Either way, this Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example is a real unicorn.

Highlights:

  • Australian delivered, matching numbers car, finished in its original colour scheme as confirmed by the factory data card.
  • Very rare right hand drive example.
  • Restored approximately 10 years ago.
  • Presents and drives very well.

This car is Mercedes-Benz class and elegance personified. It would not be out of place parked outside the Casino de Monte-Carlo. We love it and you can now own it!

Price $259,950


Specification

  • $259,950
  • Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet
  • 1960
  • Convertible
  • Manual
  • 97,002 miles
  • 2195cc

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