1956 Mercedes-Benz 220S Sedan “Zippo”

In 1953, Mercedes-Benz introduced the line of mid-sized automobiles that would be its mainstay for nearly a decade. Built using unit-body principles, they were lightweight yet strong and utilized a front sub-frame for mounting the engine. These “ponton” or “roundie” models received a number of motors, from 48-hp diesels in the 180D taxi models to 130-hp six-
cylinders in the final fuel-injected 220SE.

“Zippo,” the car on sale at Monterey, is considered to be the highest-mileage gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz in the world, with over one million miles on the clock. It is offered with full provenance, including a 300-page manuscript titled “Roadstar” detailing its remarkable one-owner history.

Ordered in 1955 as one of the first 220S models, “Zippo” was delivered to its owner in Japan in 1956-the first Mercedes there not to belong to the Emperor. It has been driven in five continents and the mileage is verified by Mercedes-Benz factory officials. “Zippo” was first restored by the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart in 1964 and then by Ron Marker of European Motors in Hutchison, Kansas, from 1997-2002. It has been repainted six times, reupholstered in red leather, had deluxe body trim added, its bumpers reinforced, and steel plates added underneath. It’s quite possible it could travel anothermillion miles in the next 50 years.

Paul Duchene

Paul Duchene - SCM Contributor

Paul grew up in England and has been riding, driving (and mostly writing about) cars and motorcycles since 1958, when he bought a 1939 James Autocycle for $5. He’s written for daily newspapers and magazines for 40 years, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, and has owned upwards of 200 cars and 30 motorcycles, most of which survived to be sold. His daily driver is a 1984 Cadillac Seville in Palomino Firemist, but on sunny days you’ll find him grinning over the windshield of a 1968 Siata Spring.

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