The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

Previous Next

Lot 129

1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Coupe

  • Chassis no.

Sold for $77,000

106 hp, 2,195 cc OHC six-cylinder engine with twin Solex carburetors, four-speed manual transmission with Hydrax hydraulic clutch, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing-axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106.3 in.

  • Mercedes-Benz’s luxury coupe of the 1950s
  • Documented professional restoration to exacting standards
  • Quite possibly the finest example in existence

Launched in 1954, the 220A represented Mercedes-Benz’s new generation of cars with unit-body construction. Built on a slightly longer wheelbase than the predecessor 180, it provided more legroom for rear seat passengers, as well as more room under the hood for a 2.2-liter six-cylinder engine. Servo-assisted brakes became standard in September 1955, followed by the introduction of the 220S in August 1957, which had 106 horsepower, courtesy of dual Solex downdraft carburetors, providing increased performance to match the fleet styling.

The most desirable of the 220S variants were the two-door models, which were produced in very limited numbers. While mass-produced, the cars were hand-finished at Sindelfingen by craftsmen skilled in the art of coachbuilding, and the result was jewel-like fit and finish, at a cost nearly 75% more than the sedan. As a result, fewer than 2,000 of the coupe and cabriolet 220S were sold between 1957 and 1959. Like most cars that were prohibitively expensive when new, they have remained desirable ever since, and they are viewed by many Mercedes-Benz aficionados, compared to the legendary 300 series that preceded them, as the company’s ultimate “grand tourer” models. The 220S has taken its rightful place in the hierarchy of Stuttgart’s most famous and beloved creations.

Don Davis’ splendid 220S Coupe is a United States-specification example, equipped with a column-shift manual transmission, a Hydrax hydraulic clutch, a Becker Europa AM/FM radio, a driver’s side mirror, windshield washers, whitewall tires, an ivory steering wheel, reclining seats, and classically European driving lights. It was beautifully and professionally restored by Precision Restoration Service, of Bucker, Missouri, for the previous owner, whose obvious passion for the project shows in the written documentation of the restoration that accompanies the car, as well as a letter written when he advertised it for sale, advising “59 reasons one should consider buying this car,” and its Mercedes-Benz factory build card. The car is finished in Ivory over a matching leather interior, providing a crisp counterpoint to the warmth of the Brazilian rosewood trim lavished throughout, as well as a lovely alternative to the numerous dark-colored Mercedes of this era.

Driven only 1,000 miles since completion, the car is an outstanding example of the 220S Coupe, and while they may well have looked this good the day they left Sindelfingen, few look as good now.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more