1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1958
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    157
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Gearbox 
    Manual

Description

"Mercedes-Benz reintroduced six-cylinder models to its range in 1951 with the 220 and 300 types, both of which were shown at the Frankfurt Show in the spring of that year. Both featured single overhead camshaft engines with the valves set across the head, rather than in line, and actuated by rockers. The 220 was powered by a 2,195cc six-cylinder engine producing 80bhp at 4,600rpm, good enough for a top speed of 100mph with acceleration to match, while the gearbox was an all-synchromesh four-speeder with column change. A separate chassis was retained for these models, which were replaced in 1956 by a new range featuring unitary construction bodyshells employing large, box-section side-members – hence the term ‘Ponton’. All-round coil-sprung independent suspension had long been a fixture of the Mercedes-Benz range, and that of the newcomers benefited from the newly developed single-pivot rear swing axle. A shorter wheelbase was adopted for the cabriolet model that appeared in May 1956 and also for the coupé introduced the following year when the Hydrak semi-automatic transmission become available as an option. Luxuriously equipped in the best Daimler-Benz tradition, these superbly constructed Gran Turismos were priced some 70% above the 220S saloon. Having attended all Goodwood Revival meetings since its construction in 2008, this rare righthand drive 'Ponton' was race-prepared for the same owner - a prominent Mercedes-Benz collector and marque expert - by motor engineer Richard Miles of Tipton Garage, a former Brabham Formula 1 mechanic and Daniel Richmond's righthand man at legendary tuners, Downton Engineering. Richard's brief was to build the 'Ponton' for use at the Goodwood Revival and HRDC 'Touring Greats' series, which share regulations, while taking advantage of all permitted modifications. The latter include an increase in engine capacity of up to 25%, and so a 2.8-litre engine was installed, which drives via a four-speed manual gearbox from the same period. Both engine and transmission, the latter upgraded with a limited-slip differential, were painstakingly rebuilt at Tipton Garage by Richard's son, Stephen Miles, a former development engineer at Janspeed Engineering where he was a key member of the team responsible for running Nissan's works effort in the British Touring Car Championship.
To satisfy the FIA's safety regulations for historic competition cars, a custom-built full roll cage has been installed together with all the mandatory safety equipment. Goodwood's particular insistence on the retention of period features on historic saloons meant that the Mercedes had to have factory steel wheels and full interior trim. Like that of its 'Fintail' stablemate, this car's attention to detail has seen it acknowledged as one of the best presented entries at the Goodwood Revival, even impressing visiting directors of Mercedes-Benz. Motor sports legends that have co-driven this car at Goodwood include Desiré Wilson, Jürgen Barth, Jochen Mass, and Brian Redman. 'RSG 395' has also been welcome in the HRDC's popular 'Touring Greats' series for pre-1960 touring cars and will surely remain so for the foreseeable future. During this period, the car was always maintained regardless of cost by Tipton Garage, who kept it in first class order. When the owner/driver retired from active participation in motor sports, both of his historic Mercedes-Benz racers were purchased by the current vendor. The current owner acquired the car in January 2016 and is only offering it for sale today for medical reasons. This Mercedes has been maintained to a very high standard by Ian Nuthall's 'INRacing', specialists in historic competition cars of all kinds and is presented in ready-to-race condition. This well-known Mercedes-Benz racing saloon represents a wonderful opportunity to own a car having one of the longest associations with Goodwood's much loved Revival meeting."