1957 Mercedes-Benz Type W180 220S Ponton cabriolet

owners: Terry and Bob Gunthorp / badwrench7@cox.net

Chula Vista, California


Our History with the 220S

We purchased it in 1980 from a Mercedes-Benz dealer (Hoehn Motors) about 40 miles from us.


A good description of the car when we got it is:  The floor from the front seats back including the trunk floor was completely rusted away.  One of the rear thrust arms was rusted off and jammed into the pavement.  The front fenders must have been replaced in the past as they were absolutely rust free.  The upholstery was shot.  The top was shot.  It had the wrong engine in it, (a W111 220Sb M180 IV engine) with a running problem.  The transmission was in poor condition.  The wood was in poor condition with the veneer separating.  Several chrome pieces were missing and several others were damaged beyond repair.  All the other chrome pieces had been poorly redone in the past.  Some time in the past, when the rear fenders were redone, the radiuses for the rear wheel openings were done incorrectly and the chrome trim around the openings were reversed from left to right.  So the radiuses of the openings were also reversed.  It had a later rear bumper on it.


I bought it for use as a parts car.  My wife looked at it and said, "It is a pretty car, we should keep it."  So, we did.  We started rebuilding it in 1980 and finally completed the work in 1992.  I was able to use a rust free floor pan from a sedan for the floor replacement.  I found the last NOS right rear fender available in the US.  By using this fender we now had the correct radiuses for the wheel openings.  The same supplier also had the last NOS panel for under the trunk lid.  We used part of the original trunk lid and 2 sedan trunk lids to make a good trunk lid.  I also found a 1957 M180 engine to rebuild for it.  The car was a cream color when we bought it.  We repainted it the original "Medium Red" (DB 516).

Note on Restoration Quality

This it not a Concours car as there was simply too much wrong with it to even try to restore it to that condition.  The original veneer was a very plain wood.  So the wood was done in burled maple.  Because this was not a restoration project, we used the late factory vinyl material for the upholstery instead of leather.  We rebuilt it just for use as a driver, and what a driver it turned out to be.


Everywhere we go, it is always a crowd pleaser.  We used it in eight parades in 2002.  The fold down rear seat was an option available only in Europe.  I equipped it with the optional headrests.  I also added the short wave adapter and a power antenna.  My wife calls this car "The Money Pit."  However, we still have less money in it than we would have paid for a new Mercedes-Benz cabriolet.

Bob and Terry Gunthorp
January 5, 2003

Created: January 5, 2003 / Jeff Miller

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