27 April 2013
1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Coupe
- Chassis no. 180.037.11.9509647
Sold for $77,000
- 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.
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