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1960 mercedes benz 220se cabriolet


The 220S Mercedes-Benz was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in April 1956 and was the first model from this famous manufacturer to have a unitary construction body shell. It succeeded the 220 model of 1951 with its traditional tubular chassis frame, and it shared some of its mechanical specifications. After two years in production, a Bosch fuel-injection system was added to the basic 220S engine to create the 220SE. This not only added 15hp but also increased engine reliability and thus value. The range was marketed as a comfortable family car that also provided the performance of a lively sports model. In July 1959 the production of the saloon ended, but the coupe and cabriolet models continued until October of the same year. This 1960 example is described as being in good overall condition; the car has been repainted and is attractively presented in strawberry red with a complementary red leather interior. The mechanical condition and running gear are described as in good excellent order. The convertible top needs work. These handsome cabriolets are relatively rare and are practical classic cars suitable for the summer months.

{analysis}{auto}443{/auto} This pretty strawberry red M-B sold for $33,250 at Christie's Lyndhurst auction in Tarrytown, New York, on April 24, 1999, at a price a bit below the estimated range of $35,000 to $45,000. The 220SE car slots in between the large, limited-production 300 series (1951-1962), and the smaller, two-seater SLs (1954-present) produced in large volumes. The medium-sized series began post-war with the pontoon-fendered 170S (1949-1955) and the updated but similar 220 (1951-1955). The 220S and 220SE were the first cars of this series to have a full envelope body, although there is a distinct Fifties or even Forties feel about them because of their heavy and somewhat dowdy styling.

While production numbers for the fuel-injected 220SE Cabs are low at 1,112 units, the visually identical carburated 220S models numbered 2,178 from 1956 to 1959. The mechanical fuel injection makes a worthwhile improvement in performance, but this car comes from the era where Mercedes ads proudly proclaimed the chassis was made to go faster than the engine. Period road tests show a 0-60 time of 15 seconds and a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour. Better than a Beetle but still bog slow.

The car shares mechanical components with the sedans of the day, making most engine and transmission pieces easy to source. However, the special trim and extensive wooden dash pieces are expensive to refurbish. Rust also is a common problem in the fenders, trunk, floors and rear suspension mounting points.

These early cars are sought after for their unique period style but tend to appeal to a smaller audience than the later four-place open cars with more modern performance. Although purchased at a market-correct price, in my opinion this car will not outpace the market in general.-Jim Schrager
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