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Mercedes 220 SE 

Marketed as the Mercedes 220SE, the Mercedes W128 is a six-cylinder luxury vehicle produced between 1958 and 1960. 

Three styles were made available to consumers: 

  • Sedan
  • Coupe 
  • Cabriolet 

220 SE models were the last of the “Ponton” range that had design and styling roots that started in 1953 with the Mercedes 180 Sedan. Except for having petrol injection, the 220 SE was very identical to the 220 S. 

Fully independent suspension and unitized frame construction made up the 220 SE. All models consisted of an M127 2.2 L straight-six gasoline engine that contained an aluminum head, overhead camshaft, as well as Bosch mechanical fuel injection. 

Intermittent inlet manifold fuel injection supported the 2.2 L engine sporting 115 HP. An automatic clutch was added as an option with the column-mounted 4-speed manual transmission. 

Most of the interior surface of the coupe and cabriolet was covered in wood or leather with matching luggage made available as an additional purchase. 

What the 220 SE lacked was: 

  • Power steering
  • Air conditioning 
  • Windows
  • Automatic transmission

Total sales of 220 SE models between 1958 and 1960 were recorded at: 

  • 1,974 sedans 
  • 830 coupes
  • 1,112 cabriolets 

W111: The 220 SE Family 

On a broader scale, W111 was a chassis code administered to a range of Mercedes cars produced between 1959-1971 that included four-door sedans, two-door coupes, and cabriolets, all within the 220 production line. Bodywork for W111 models contained American-style tailfins that gave models the Heckflosse nickname, which translates to fintail. 

Introduced with a 2.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, W111’s spawned a pair of variant lines that bracketed the car in 1961. Both the W111 and the W112 lines contained vehicles with variant Paul Bracq-designed bodywork, the two-door coupe, and the cabriolet. 

W111 Design 

W111’s served to build upon Mercedes’ successful Ponton models with an increased focus on passenger safety and comfort. Driver visibility was enhanced with a large glass greenhouse while the cabin was widened and squared off. 

Mercedes reached a milestone in car design with the W111 when they included front and rear crumple zones that absorbed kinetic energy upon impact. Following the development of crumple zones was the patent of retractable seat belts. 

Sedan Production History

Series production of the 220 4-door sedans began in August 1959 and debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in the fall. 

Models shared the same 2195 cc M127 straight-six engine carried over from the previous generation that produced 95 horsepower. 

In May of 1965, the 220Sb and 220SEb models were replaced by the 230S that was similar to the 220S. 

220 SE Specifications

Standard 1960 220 SE models had four doors and were designed by Friedrich Geiger. The engines were naturally aspirated petrol with straight-six cylinders and positioned on the front of the car. 

Rear-wheel drive with a four-speed manual gearbox made the 220 SE a fairly standard ride for its time in terms of layout. 

220 SE Conclusion 

220 SE’s served as a significant step forward for Mercedes from the successful Ponton series models. 

Ponton’s were a great everyday luxury car for drivers during the early 50s, and 220 SE models were even better as they featured increased cabin space, more advanced safety features, and a larger windshield. 

Makes & Models We Buy

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