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Exceptional Motor Cars, Christies (3 June 2006)

Black with tan canvas top and red leather interior

Engine: six cylinder, in-line, single overhead camshaft, 2,195cc, 104bhp at 5,200rpm; Suspension: front independent with coil springs and anti-roll bar, rear independent with swing axle and coil springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.

The end of World War II found the Mercedes-Benz factories in ruins and the prospects grim. In spite of this, car production was resumed in June 1946 with the humble 170V sedan which was a far cry from the imposing pre-War 540K grand tourers. In a remarkable comeback, Mercedes was once again producing luxury cars with the 300 series by 1951. The new models which would carry their volume sales for most of the decade were introduced in 1953. These cars, called the 'ponton' were more 'modern' looking, finally doing away with the separate fender look of the earlier post-War cars. Constructed with a unitized body with a front sub-frame, they were available in a range from the 52 horsepower 180 example to the ultimate 115hp fuel-injected 220SE. Production ended in 1960, with over 400,000 units manufactured. The diesel versions became almost ubiquitous at taxi stands throughout northern Europe. The top of the range was the hand-finished coupé together with the convertible 220S and 220SE coupés and convertibles. These models combined the best of modern construction and performance with the traditional wood, leather and chrome of the most luxurious Mercedes cars. Built in much smaller numbers, they brought Teutonic style to the upper middle class. They offered 100mph performance and excellent road holding for the 1950s. Only 2,178 of the 220S cabriolets were built in the production run from 1956 to 1959 and they have long been recognized as the most reasonable way to experience true first class German luxury. The carefully matched wood veneers on the dash and door caps, deep pleated leather armchairs and substantial chrome plated brass trim are links to an earlier time.

This car, in as-found unrestored condition, represents what Sergio Franchi found most attractive and challenging about collecting. He aimed to find a largely original car, one which has not been molested by a half-hearted or incorrect 'restoration' and to bring it back to pristine glory and driving enjoyment. That task now awaits the buyer. Finished in the attractive combination of black with a tan cloth top and red leather interior, it will make a lovely touring car when redone. There is some easily repaired damage to the front left fender of the car, but all of the chrome trim is present and the interior wood is in very good condition as are the seats and door panels.

What attracted Franchi to the 220S Cabriolet? Eva Franchi gives us an idea, 'Sergio loved the lines of the car. It's very chic, but still masculine. He thought it was a car you'd expect Robert Mitchum to step out of in a 1950s movie. It has the great classic look, lines and details of the great Mercedes-Benzs, but you're not afraid to actually use it.'

This Mercedes-Benz 220S Cabriolet offers a great opportunity for a stunning restoration on a car for which the values for the best examples have been steadily increasing.

Lot Details
Auction Exceptional Motor Cars
Christies, Greenwich , CT. U.S.A.
Lot Number2
Hammer Price$24675
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration number
Chassis numbertba
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors