1957 Mercedes-Benz Type 190 Ponton sedan

owner (June 17, 1989 – June 24, 2016): Jeff Miller / editor@mbzponton.org

brief farewell video / June 24, 2016


Year Model Body Style Fahrgestell
(Chassis - Plate A)
(Body - Plate B)
(Engine - Plate D)
Carburetor Kraftfahrzeugbrief
1957 190 sedan 121.011-10-75-12770 A121.011- 75-02817 121.923-11-012900 Solex 34 PICB 8964092

The chassis number found on Plate A (121.011-10-75-12770) shows it was the 12,770th Type 190 since the beginning of production (3/56). Plate B (on the door) says, "Mercedes-Benz Karosserie A121011 7502817". This indicates a W121 (Type 190), and the 011 means it has a sunroof. The 75 means 1957, and the value of "02817" may indicate it was the 2,817th Type W121 sunroof sedan produced in 1957 alone — the Data Card shows it was delivered new on July 17, 1957.

There were 61,345 Type 190 sedans produced by Daimler-Benz between March 1956 and August 1959. For members of the U.S. armed forces as of September 4, 1956 - a Type 190 Ponton sedan with sliding sunroof cost $2,275.25 (USD) in Stuttgart.

All new cars registered in Germany between 1936 and 2004 were issued an official (legal) booklet called a Kraftfahrzeugbrief. It was a log that contained the names, addresses, and occupations of the people who registered the vehicle. According to the original Kraftfahrzeugbrief of this 190 sedan, it has endured 10 owners.

Mercedes-Benz chassis 121.011-7512770 was delivered new in Berlin on July 30, 1957. It was shipped to the USA in 1980 from a US military base in Ansbach. In 1986, it received a restoration that included paint (original DB40 black), headliner, windlace, upholstery and sunroof. Today, it only sees light duty around town and in classic motoring events during the spring, summer, and fall of the year.

The Spartan interior of the Type 190 Ponton sedan features a modest wood strip at the top of the fascia. The main dash, with its unlabeled switches and controls are set in dark brown Bakelite. The section between the Bakelite and the wood is trimmed with vinyl. Note the column-change gear shift lever, and the eight day wind-up clock.

On this European specification 1957 Type 190 sedan the turn signals are not self-canceling. They are operated by pivoting the center chrome horn ring to the left or right. The stalk, which is visible to the left of the steering column, is the high beam flasher. If the stalk is held down (or up) for two or three seconds, the high beams begin to pulsate automatically—in the unlikely event the driver would have an opportunity to contemplate overtaking a slower vehicle. In 1957 this vehicle was among the fastest on many European roads.

Blaupunkt Werke GmbH (Germany) "Frankfurt" (K Series) / Serial Number: K150607
View the Ponton Radio Page

Took kit with reproduction canvas pouch

Updated photo / July 31, 2015 / camera: iPhone 6

Data Card (factory build-specification sheet)

The vehicle's Data Card is the original build specification sheet (written in German) that lists the date of manufacture, as well as all standard and optional equipment installed at the factory. The data includes the interior and exterior colors, tire manufacturer, engine number, radio, and much more.

Data Card Translation

This particular Data Card specifies the Kraftfahrzeugbrief number (Kraftfahrzeug-Brief Nr. 8 964 092), which was also issued with the car when new.

Kraftfahrzeugbrief Nr. 8964092 (official registration booklet)

mb_kbrief1.jpg (90329 bytes) mb_kbrief2.jpg (179133 bytes)

This is the cover, and first two pages of the Kraftfahrzeugbrief issued with this Type 190 sedan in Germany when it was new. All new cars registered in Germany between 1936 and 2004 were issued this official (legal) booklet. It was common practice by the German registration authorities to cut the bottom corner of the Kraftfahrzeugbrief when the car was exported. The Kraftfahrzeugbrief was then no longer valid. If the car had been imported to Germany again (before 2004), a new Kraftfahrzeugbrief would have been issued. Behind the booklet in these photos is a vehicle safety inspection document printed on the back of a German road map.

Beginning June 1, 2004 a different log book that conforms to European Union (EU) standards was issued with each new car in Germany. The former "K-brief" held enough spaces for six owners. The new EU document only contains enough space for two owners, making it more challenging to chronicle the vehicle's history as time passes.

Registration Chronology

Fa. Heliowatt Werke Elektrizitäts AG
Wilmersdorfer Str. 39

As of December 2001, the company (Fa. Heliowatt Werke Elektrizitäts AG) [1] still existed in the same location. [2]

At this point, all of the original Kraftfahrzeugbrief pages were filled.  Some of the detail about the owners Uwe Medla and Larry Atkins, as well as the subsequent history was learned by meeting the man who shipped the car from Bremen, Germany to Rochester, New York in 1980.


These modifications were made before it was shipped to the USA in 1980.



view "before and after" tail light comparison

May 30, 2016: Replaced the "b" style tail lights with the smaller, correct, red-clear-amber lenses. Since the car was originally registered in Berlin, and stayed in Germany until 1980, the amber color turn signal lenses made sense. This photo documents the first time in 27 years of ownership that it did not wear the later "b" style lenses.

Original Equipment and Options


[1] The Heliowatt-Werke were founded as ARON-Werke by Dr. H. Aron to build power meters for houses that gauge electrical consumption. The name changed to Heliowatt-Werke in 1933. They were taken over by a company called "Schlumberger" in 1995, most of the personnel had to go. For some time in the past, they also seem to have built radios under the trade name "NORA" (reverse for "ARON", the former company name).

[2] Thanks to Stefan Knappe (Germany) of the Mercedes Veterans mailing list for deciphering the handwriting in the Kraftfahrzeugbrief and providing the Heliowatt-Werke history. December 30, 2001

[3] Wallenius Lines has since the 1950s been a leader in the ocean transportation of vehicles and other rolling cargo

[4] Hartwig Mueller / December 2001 / German Mercedes-Benz salesman (1956-1964)

[5] Photos: June 16, 2001 / 2035 hrs. (UTC +4) / Black Sparrow Photography ™

[5a] Photo: May 30, 2016 / iPhone 6 / Black Sparrow Photography ™

[6] Mercedes-Benz Technical Data / December 1957 edition

[7] The Solex model "34 PICB" carburetor was original to the 121.923 engines of the Type 180b sedans

Created: December 23, 2001 / Jeff Miller
Last Update: December 10, 2020
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