Barrie Taylor / email@example.com
/ Great Britain
1958 Mercedes- Benz Type 220S Ponton cabriolet
Following a lifelong association with the Morgan Motor Car, in particular the Plus Four sports model of 1958-1962, which I have raced and rallied throughout the UK and Europe, I became enraptured by the fabulous lines of the Mercedes-Benz "Pagoda" SL roadster, also officially known as the Type W113 SL roadster. I just had to have one! Especially so, following a particularly wet rally in Wales in the Morgan, and watching the comfort of the competitors in a Pagoda! A 280SL soon joined the stable and we enjoyed many spirited events in the car. See the photos below.
Sarah Taylor with the Type W113 280SL and a Scottish Highland bull in serious need of a haircut
Barrie and Sarah Taylor with the 280SL roadster at Castle Combe motor racing circuit
The 280SL twice competed in "The Grand Tour", a run from Cape Cornwall in the far South West of England to Cape Wrath, next door to John 'o Groats in the North of Scotland. A classic car rally on behalf of The Macmillan Cancer Relief Trust, a very important organization who receive no government funding, yet provide immense care for those living with cancer. Twenty six competitors raised some £ 55,000 in aid of the charity.
1958 Mercedes-Benz Type 220S Ponton cabriolet owned by Barrie Taylor
However, in the spring of 2005, I spotted an ad for the Ponton cabriolet. I was immediately wooed by the fabulous lines and graceful beauty of the model. I just had to have one!
We had already entered the Pagoda in The Mercedes-Benz Classic Days Rally in Salzburg, Austria, but now the Ponton was to take its place. A couple of thousand miles across Europe in a unknown car is not for the faint hearted, but that is what these cars were designed and built for.
In August, Sarah and I got married, and so this rally was to be our "Honeymoon" Well, make or break! At the end of the month we set off to join the other participants in Salzburg.
Mercedes-Benz Classic Days / Salzburg, Austria / September 4-11, 2005
What a fabulous collection of Classic Mercedes-Benz motor cars greeted us. From the 1929 SSKs, four of them. Several 1929 630Ks, and our own club (Mercedes-Benz Club, GB) technical expert Jeremy Stevens in his Type 170Vb sedan, and so many 300SL Gullwings and 300SL roadsters, I think all the factory ever made were there! Several Type W111 220SEb Fintails, and an exact replica of the Eugen Böhringer's W113 230SL roadster which won the Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally in 1963. Also present was our own club chairman Ian Keers and his wife Pat, in their 1965 220SEb coupé. There were of course, myriad Pagodas, resplendent in every possible colour scheme.
Sensory overload! Even the coach (at the back of the photo) seems to be a Mercedes-Benz! Note the factory prepared 1955 Type 220a Ponton sedan with Webasto sliding sunroof. Richard Simonds, current National President of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, drove this car.
Barrie Taylor's 220S cabriolet with Sarah Taylor, Laura and Richard Simonds
A veritable smorgasbord of Mercedes-Benz wheels. Barrie Taylor's silver 220S Ponton cabrio is in the center with Sarah Taylor at the boot (trunk).
Pontons were well represented, and four of our 220S and SE cabriolets were present, but we were the only ones with Right Hand Drive! I believe about 2,178 units of the 220S cabriolet were built, and I think only about 100 or so of these were right hand drive. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?
Type 280SE cabrio driven by Robert and Christine Reid, president of Mercedes-Benz Club Queensland, Australia. Paul Braq's original design sketches for this model date back to 1957. Built as the Type W111 220SEb, 250SEb, and the W112 300SEb between 1960-1967. In later years, there were further derivatives of these cars: 280SE (1967-1971), 280SE 3.5 (1969-1971). Also note two tone Ponton coupé to the right.
Type 300Sc cabriolet parked next to Barrie Taylor's 220S Ponton cabriolet
Classic Days comprises what they call "Regularity" runs on the Salzburg Ring (also: "Salzburgring") race circuit. This amounts to you doing your own thing, speed wise, on the first lap, and then having to match it to the 1/10th of a second on each subsequent lap. Then to spice things up a bit, they have you reduce your lap times by 2 seconds a lap. It all gets faster and faster and more fun!
There is also a timed run up the famous Gaisberg Hill Climb course, first made famous by Manfred von Brauchitsch in 1929. Terrific fun, but you need to keep pressing on at the bottom, the cars tend to run out of puff as they approach the summit some 3,000 meters above sea level.
Following three days of intense competitive sporting activity, the whole rally then proceeds around a fabulous tour of the lakes and mountains of this most beautiful part of Austria. See the photos at the end of this page.
The grand Finale is a gathering of all the cars, driven over a red carpet into The Residence Platz square in Salzburg, where a concors d'elegance is held for all the entrants cars on display for the thousands of local people who came to see "the Mercedes-Benz"!
The whole event was of course, exquisitely organized by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Team from Stuttgart, led by Mr. Dieter Ritter. His whole team were just unbelievably helpful, and they even brought with them a team of traveling technicians from The Classic Centre to take care of any little mishaps.
There were entrants from all over the world, including the President of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Mr. Richard Simonds, and his lovely wife Laura. They were using a Classic Centre 1955 Type 220a Ponton sedan with a Webasto sliding sunroof. Other entrants came from Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and of course Austria.
They really made us welcome. The newlyweds, Barrie and Sarah Taylor on a real oldie!
You rode in the best, now ride with the rest!
1930 Mercedes-Benz Type 710 SS cabriolet with a 6 cylinder, 7065 cc engine. Driven by Jochen Maas at the Salzburgring. He also drove a McClaren SLR.
Type 300 SL roadster and a McClaren SLR. There appears to be no integrated space for the license plate on the SLR.
Two tone paint job on a 220S Ponton cabriolet. Note extra fender trim to delineate the two colors.
Type 220S Ponton cabriolet with what appears to be a Type 170S cabriolet "A" (convertible coupé, 2 passenger) in the background
Type 220S Ponton cabriolet wearing what appears to be DB335 "Mercedes Blue"
Type 170S cabriolet "A" (convertible coupé, 2 passenger)
Sarah Taylor with a 1937 Mercedes-Benz Type 540K cabriolet
Richard and Laura Simonds with their 1955 factory-prepared Type 220a Ponton sedan with a Webasto sliding sunroof, but minus the bumpers
Richard and Laura Simonds at the start of the Salzburgring
Barrie and Sarah Taylor await the start at the Salzburgring. Note the Right Hand Drive
The W187 Type 220 was built from 7/51-5/54. It was available in four body styles: 4 door sedan, cabriolet "A" (convertible coupé, 2 passenger), cabriolet "B" (convertible coupé, 5 passenger), and coupé. It had an overhead cam 6 cylinder gasoline engine of 2,195 cc. It could develop 80 bhp and weighed 2,970 lbs. The wheelbase was 112 inches. Daimler-Benz produced 16,154 sedans and 2,360 of the other body styles. The W187 Type 220 should not be confused with the Mercedes-Benz Ponton Type W180 220a sedans built from 3/54-4/56. Note Type W121 190SL roadster in close pursuit of the 220!
Factory built exact replica of Eugen Böhringer's W113 230SL roadster which won the 1963 Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally against more powerful Austin-Healeys. Following the 230SL is a W114/W115 "/8" sedan (slash 8, also, "new generation" sedans were first introduced in 1968, hence, "/8") and finally another Type W113 SL.
Barrie and Sarah Taylor in the curves!
As for our un-tried 220S, well she "done good", as they say, no problems apart from a little over-heating in the high mountains, and some brake fade coming down. The whole experience of driving the Ponton after the sportiness of the Pagoda, is rather like caressing a lovely old lady. You sort of coax her along at her own speed, rather than the hustle of the 280SL. But we love her, and my new wife Sarah said on first acquaintance, "a real boot (trunk) loads of room for luggage!"
She is now off to our local garage for a jolly good "service", a new fuel tank has been proposed to get rid of all the rubbish in the old one, re-core the radiator which I hope will assist with cooling next year, and a thorough overhaul of the electrics, starter motor etc., etc. The brakes will need re-lining, and a jolly good check over of all the flex lines and wheel cylinders. There is always something to do to these 45 year old cars, but that's all part of the fun!
"Get out and drive them", is my motto, and that's just what we do!
1937 Mercedes-Benz Type 540K cabriolet
Type W111 280SE cabriolet driven by Robert and Christine Reid
1965 Type W111 220SEb coupé owned by Ian and Pat Keers — chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Club, GB
Ian and Pat Keers in their 1965 Type W111 220SEb coupé
Another 220S Ponton cabrio in the mix!
Richard and Laura Simonds in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre's 1955 Type 220a Ponton sedan
Jochen Maas between Sarah and Barrie Taylor
The start of the Gaisberg circuit. What's that, a BMW 328 behind the Type 710 SS cabriolet? The BMW 328 was introduced in 1936 and was a very popular pre-War sports car. Also note the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van off to the side on the grassy verge. In the United States, these utility vehicles are marketed under the Dodge or Freightliner (both owned by Daimler AG) brand names with only a small label affixed to the door which reads, "Powered by Mercedes-Benz." No grille star on the USA specification vans either.
The Gaisburg Hill Climb!
Salzburgring: Type W111 Fintail ("Heckflosse") model with fog lights, ivory steering wheel, and steel sunroof
Salzburgring: 1965 Type W111 220SEb coupé owned by Ian and Pat Keers. Note the pursuit of the W113 SL roadsters, W107 (R107) roadster and what appears to be a Heckflosse (Fintail) sedan of some type. Jolly good fun!
Sarah Taylor in the 220S Ponton cabriolet. Note the Type W189 300d "Adenauer" limousine in the background.
1930 Mercedes-Benz Type 710 SS cabriolet with a 6 cylinder, 7065 cc engine. Also, a 1962 Type W111 220SEb Fintail sedan prepared by the factory.
1930 Mercedes-Benz Type 710 SS cabriolet with a 6 cylinder, 7065 cc engine
These appear to be model S (supercharged) Mercedes from the 1920s. The merger of Daimler and Benz was in 1926, so the cars were called Mercedes, (or Benz) not Mercedes-Benz until after the merge. Note the Type W189 300d "Adenauer" limousine in the background.
Type 220S Ponton cabriolet
This next set of photos was taken during one of the scenic drives in the hills and mountains of the Salzburg area near the village known as Wolfgangsee.
Type 220S Ponton cabriolet
1939 Type 170V owned by Rudolf and Christine Em
1941 Type 540 cabrio. Walter and Gabriele Lecher
1965 220SEb coupé. Ian and Pat Keers
1952 Type 170Vb with Webasto sliding sunroof. This is Jeremy Stevens, technical expert of Mercedes-Benz Club, GB with his mother, Helga Stevens.
1936 Type 200 cabriolet. John and Marianne Gunter
1935 Type 290D cabrio. Hans and Lothar Pollok. The identity of this vehicle has been called into question but the official program has it listed as a 1935 290D. It may be a 1937 Type 170V cabrio driven by Klaus and Renate Paulsen. If anyone can verify the model, and identify who is driving it, contact the editor or Barrie Taylor (address at top of page).
Manfred von Brauchitsch Memorial run. Factory prepared 1962 Type W111 220SEb sedan ready to rally! In addition to racing the Type W113 230SL roadster, the famous driver Eugen Böhringer successfully raced and rallied numerous Type W111 220SEb and W112 300SE Heckflosse (Fintail) sedans during the 1963-1964 period.
1955 Type 300SL "Gullwing" coupé owned by Stephan Ganter / Austria
1960 Type W128 220SE coupé. Gerd Rombold, Germany
The 6 cylinder, 2-seater 300SL "Gullwing" coupé (8/1954-5/1957) owned by Stephan Gantner
There were three "sports cars" produced by Daimler-Benz during the 1953-1962 Ponton era. The 6 cylinder, 2-seater 300SL "Gullwing" coupé (8/1954-5/1957), the 4 cylinder, 2-seater 190SL roadster-cabriolet (5/1955-2/1963), and the 6 cylinder, 2-seater 300SL roadster-cabriolet (8/1957-2/1963). The chassis of the 190SL roadster was of unitary construction like that of the sedans, coupés and cabriolets while the 300SL (both the "Gullwing" and later, the roadster) had a unique light-weight tubular "space frame" on which the body panels were supported. The outward appearance of all the SL (Sports Leicht) roadsters was similar and they remain very popular today. The next three photos are an excellent visual comparison of the different SL models.
Type W121 190SL 4 cylinder, 2 seater roadster-cabriolet (5/1955-2/1963) owned by Jesus Bagues Perez
6 cylinder Type 300SL roadster-cabriolet (8/1957-2/1963)
Carl Kellner and Wolfgang Zwicker
1962 Type W111 220SEb sedan
John and Jamie Pronker
Type W189 300d "Adenauer" limousine
Type W108 sedan and a W107 (R107) roadster
Klaus and Dunja Tomasi
More To Come...
Update: June 7, 2006
Slightly out of sequence, this photo dates from June, 2006 and illustrates the new narrow white walls on the 220S. The tires are BF Goodrich P185 / 80 R13. Marketed in England by a firm called "Gillette" and marked "Silver Bear" on the side walls.
June 2-4, 2006: Here we are at the weekend Laon show in France. Note the International Ponton Owners Group (IPOG) badge (top row, far right). The 14th Circuit Historique of Laon is a very popular Concours of classic, performance and vintage cars which took us on a leisurely journey through the beautiful L'Aisne countryside.