1955 Mercedes-Benz Type W120 180 Sedan Restoration

Rúnar Sigurjónsson / runar@doktorinn.is / Reykjavík, Iceland

visit Rúnar's original Type 180 page

History of the 1955 Type 180 Sedan

This car was originally imported to Iceland by Rćsir hf, who is still the Icelandic Mercedes-Benz dealer today. It was for a handicapped woman named Olga Magnúsdóttir. Olga was born in 1921. At the age of fourteen, she got polio (poliomyelitis) and was from that day paralytic in her feet, especially the left one. She soon wanted to buy herself a car to be able to travel around.

The first and only person to drive this 1955 Mercedes-Benz (thus far) was Olga Magnúsdóttir.

She found work at a doctor's office in Reykjavik and with that job she was able to save herself some money to purchase a car. She did not want anyone to help her buy an automobile. She wanted to own it by herself.

Olga outside the doctor's office.

In was in 1954 that Rćsir hf started a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Iceland. They celebrated by having an exhibition of their new cars. It was during that exhibition that Olga decided that this was the kind of car she wanted. She needed a little bit more money, so the car was not ordered until the spring of 1955.

This is Olga's new Type 180 sedan in 1955.

When the car came from Germany, it was equipped with special handles for her to drive it. She learned to drive after she got the car because she could not drive other vehicles.

Olga visiting with some relatives.

Olga used this car a lot. She drove it to work and often visited her relatives in northern Iceland.

Olga's Type 180 sedan at her home in the winter.

A memory of Olga at her sister's home in September, 2002.

When Olga died in 1977, her sister took the car, but she did not know what to do with it. She did not have a driving license and therefore the car stood outside her home with no use for one year. Then she decided to take it to the junkyard, but at the latest minute it was saved in an attempt to use it for spare parts. This car was never driven by anyone other than Olga except someone from the service department of Rćsir hf Mercedes-Benz.

Restoration Work Begins

On September 19, 2002, Rúnar wrote: This car is a 1955 Mercedes-Benz Type 180 sedan and it has not been running since 1978. It has only been driven around 140,000 kilometers (87,500 miles). But in 1978 it was so bad looking that the owner decided to take it to a junk yard. Just before it got there, another man took the car to his home and was planning to keep it for spare parts for his 1956 Type 190 (owned by Mr. Örn Sigurdsson today). He never needed anything from it (of course, it is a Mercedes) so a few years after he sold the 190 he started to restore this car. He restored the engine, brakes, steering system and some other parts and sold it in that condition. My friend bought this car then and also repaired some parts and also gave up. I am not going to give up. I am going to finish this project no later than on its 50th birthday in 2005.

August 31, 2002: The 180 sitting in Rúnar's driveway and in need of expert assistance.

September 11, 2002: This is the 1955 Type 180 just before the restoration started.

September 15, 2002: Pushing the 180 in to the garage.

September 15, 2002: Parking the 180 in to Rúnar's garage. It will spend the next 3 years here until it becomes ready for the road for the first time in 27 years.

September 18, 2002: The first step was to prepare the car for sandblasting.

September 18, 2002: Cleaning before the sandblasting started.

September 24, 2002: Paint stripping is the most annoying job on earth, but it is necessary before sandblasting to prevent the metal from being heated to much by blasting the paint off.

October 4, 2002: Ready outside my home to be transferred to be sandblasted.

October 4, 2002: Outside the sandblasting company in Mosfellsbćr

October 5, 2002: Sandblasting half done.

October 5, 2002: Sandblasting the bottom. We laid the car into the soft sand without damage.

October 7, 2002: After sandblasting and priming, this beauty had all the same rust holes as before. They where only a little bit larger and more visible.

November 28, 2002: Old rust fixing. In this case it had to be re-repaired.

November 28, 2002: After hard work in the rear, I took a little break and concentrated on the right side of the car. This photo shows the trunk area.

December 1, 2002: I like it better this way. Correct shape in correct places.

December 1, 2002: WHO! This is difficult. Or is it not? I decided to try to
repair this part. It was far too expensive to by it, or about $590 with transport and taxes.

December 1, 2002: No problem for the Viking. Three hours of work and still one to go plus sandblasting and installing.

January 31, 2003: Right side with whole lot of holes and old "mix fix."

February 7, 2003: Right front foot well. This looks bad. Almost too bad.

February 25, 2003: A large "cut out" in the right front foot well.

Jack stand which was hand made by me.

March 8, 2003: Right front foot well. Getting back to original shape. Note my hand made jack stand.

March 8, 2003: Rebuilt framework on the right front of the Ponton.

March 23, 2003: As you can see there is not much left to do in the trunk area.

March 23, 2003: Primer in the right front of the chassis shell.

March 23, 2003: Right front foot well. A little bit of difference from earlier on, would you agree?

Update: May 29, 2006

It has been a long time since I have sent any photos of my progress. My 1955 Type 180 is now in the Iceland traffic again. See the photos which tell the story, below.

Best regards
Runar Sigurjonsson
Midtun 11
105 Reykjavik
Tel +354 561-8597
Mobile +354 897-859

Created: September 22, 2002 / Jeff Miller
© www.mbzponton.org

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