Regretfully, Ray Ilich passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on August 13, 2002 at age 48. On behalf of the many visitors to this website, the International Ponton Owners Group (IPOG) and myself, I hereby offer sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Ray Ilich (circa 1997) with a rebuilt M180.924 engine from Josef Hinkofer's 1958 Type 220S sedan
Many of the regular, long-time visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Ponton website are aware that it was created by Ray Ilich in 1995. It was the first site dedicated to Mercedes-Benz Ponton models, and served to unite Ponton owners from around the world. His inspiration was his 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S sedan. Many of the maintenance and repair jobs he performed were documented to help guide fellow Ponton owners perform their own maintenance. He also published contributions from other Ponton owners around the world.
Ray and I were "internet e-mail friends" since before he launched the website. Our common interest in these cars drew us together (along with several other, by now "well known" internet Ponton personalities) who originally (circa 1993) became acquainted online through Alex Gabard's "Mercedes Veterans" majordomo mailing list. In May 1998, I had the pleasure of meeting Ray in person (he was traveling with his brother, and Len Sokoloff) at the "import car" swap meet in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Ray ended up selling his Ponton in the autumn of 1999, and continued to support the site until some time in 2000. We exchanged a few messages in March 2001 about how his interest and enthusiasm for the site was dwindling. He asked who (from within our circle of Ponton internet friends) would be a good candidate to take it over. If there was no interest, he was planning to shut it down. I immediately expressed interest in taking on the duties of maintaining the world famous Ponton website! In addition to owning a Ponton, he knew I supported my own website, and so we moved forward with the transfer. On several occasions, Ray was kind enough to send positive and encouraging messages about the appearance and development of the site. It was always gratifying to know I had his continued support.
- Jeff Miller / August 22, 2002