Thursday, August 18, 2016

Beater Benz: 1958 Mercedes Benz 220

The 50’s were an exciting time for car design and with the end war ending, the Marshall plan firmly taking hold in Europe, and Germany’s economy on the upswing Mercedes Benz was making classy cruisers while Chevy was throwing fins. While priced low, but not low enough, the seller admits he’s motivated and this could yield a bottom priced fun mobile. Worry about getting the engine running well, keep the body as is, and roll through the posher parts of town like you just don’t care. Can you even use the words Mercedes and beater in the same sentence with our being banished from the Fatherland? Figure it out jetzt! Find this Mercedes Benz 220s in Los Angeles for $2,999 via craigslist.


This 220s (W180 II) was one of the vehicles which informally received the “Ponton” nickname and part of the first series of passenger cars produced after World War II which started Mercedes legacy of quality and beauty. Named for the pontoon fenders this is traditional Mercedes styling is all about. Heck with the Heckeflosse models which came after this design is grace on wheels. Well not this particular example, but the design itself is more Grace Kelly with flowing curves and classic beauty rather than reality television fifteen minutes of fame. Wavy body work in the pictures and the obligatory missing Mercedes Benz standing star emblem, missing drivers side signal lens are to be expected in a car this old, not to mention this cheap. Expect missing parts always. If fact if a car is posted with all parts intact there is something wrong as there should always be at least one screw loose.

With a four speed column shifted manual motivated by a 2.2 liter six cylinder the engine was rated for between 99 to 105 horsepower. Do the kids even know that shifters were column mounted? Do the even understand what a manual shifter is or are gear selector and paddle shifter now the only term kids understand? We need to teach them. With enough power to keep up with modern traffic with planning but slow enough to be exciting if you fear death by SUV and people honking and cursing your presence this car can provide entertainment with every mle. Call this car a life altering state. The photo of the engine bay shows plenty of “patina” and “character” to drive a compulsive person manic. Let it go. Enjoy this for what it is which is an experience and nothing more.

The interior in this car is not full of MB-Tex and is devoid of any/all luxury materials. Early dorm room or post apocalypse is more the condition. Most vacuum out their car but wouldn’t it be liberating to open the doors, grab a leaf blower, and just blow everything out? No muss, no fuss with detailing a perfect interior when this interior is trashed and it’s just going to get dirty again. The photo of the seats reminds you to check your tetanus booster is up to date. Nothing neoprene seat covers won’t fix since the included Webasto sun roof appears to have no roof. Aquatic festivities are sure to follow. A mask and snorkel may be the best accessory. With a missing title you might score a deal from this seller and have fun at the DMV.

Many cars are more than the sum of their parts, this one is worth more as a sum of parts, parted out, and that gives it a unique quality. Learn to be one with the Benz. Anyone crazy enough to purchase a car listed needs to let us know in the comments.See a better beater? email us here:

A refugee from the frozen north who loves running and water sports, Adam can be found looking for the next slow car to drive fast when he has access to electronics he hasn't immersed in liquids. He is an analog kid not a digital man.  


  1. This goodly frame seems to me a can o' worms; this most excellent canopy, look you, this brave o'er hanging, this majestical roof, fretted with rusty fire: why, it appeareth no other thing to me, than foul and pestilent. What a piece of work is a beat up old Benz! How noble, how infinite! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of automobiles! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of rust? Bondo delights not me; no, nor patina neither; though by your smiling you seem to say so.

  2. Bravo good sir, bravo.

    Dedication to indifference is the only way for a Benz to reach such a state.
    While not as eloquently put "It's better to burn out than to fade away" says the Leopard which is Def.
    Go out it a blaze of glory rather than rust away.

  3. Though it looks like it has been hit by hail from all side, it's still oddly appealing. These Benzo's seem like steals in the classic car market.


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