1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A

Chassis No. 187.012.07900/52

Engine No. 180.920.08005/52

As World War II ended, Daimler-Benz was in precarious health as a result of Allied bombing. Its plants were largely reduced to rubble and the company’s administration was in shambles. For several years the only Mercedes-Benz passenger cars were the four-cylinder 170V series, a carried over entry level car that had been the Mercedes-Benz best-seller in the 1930s. However, in 1951 Mercedes built an updated engine, a single overhead camshaft six-cylinder displacing 2,195cc giving out 80 horsepower, and they put it into an updated and improved chassis and created the 220 series. This new and improved car was clothed in attractive bodies from Mercedes’ own coachworks and was built and trimmed in a fashion more appropriate to the company’s tradition, using luxury appointments and beautifully trimmed in wood and leather.  

Quickly after the introduction of the 220, it was widely acknowledged as a worthy successor superior to the 170V model. More than 16,000 Mercedes-Benz 220s were sedans, but more discerning buyers also had the option of ordering a two-three seat Cabriolet A or a full four-seat Cabriolet B. Just 1,278 people opted for the “A” version, which we are offering for sale here. Styling was similar to the 170, but its headlamps were incorporated into the front fenders instead of free-standing, giving the car a more up-to-date, fuller, and attractive appearance. While styling was an evolution from the 170V, the engine was completely new. It was a 2,195cc inline-six that had a single overhead camshaft operating the valves and short rocker arms. It was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension with control arms in the front and swing axles in the rear, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes on a 112 inch wheelbase.

Paul Russell and Company is proud to offer this beautifully restored 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A for sale. This 220 Cabriolet A has been consigned with us by a surgeon who had a meticulous restoration conducted in the mid-1980s. Since then it has been maintained to the highest of standards. Shortly after the completion of the restoration, the owner showed the car at the Mercedes-Benz Club of America Concours d’Elegance, “Star Fest”, in June 1988, where it received an almost perfect score. The car deservedly won “Best of Show” against a very strong field of cars. The car was also featured in the October 1988 issue of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America magazine, “The Star”.

The current owner had driven a 220 Cabriolet A in his youth and had put over 120,000 miles on it between 1954 and 1966 after which he traded it in for a 250SE. Later on in life the owner decided he enjoyed his original 220 Cabriolet A so much that he set out to find another identical one. His search led him to our subject car which he purchased in 1979 from the curator of a Boston art museum after a reassuring inspection by Paul Russell. Once the car was secured, the owner commissioned Fritz Rader to conduct a complete and meticulous restoration that included the owner taking several trips to Germany for extensive research at the factory archive and to various original suppliers. Fritz, formerly employed at the Mercedes-Benz factory in the 1950s knew the car very well and he would tell him what to look for, and the owner would seek it out. It took over a year just to find the correct original Gray/Green top material for the car. The Mercedes-Benz factory was also very helpful and was closely consulted, even supplying original blueprints for several replacement parts. This would be impossible to achieve today.

This 220 Cabriolet A features its original chassis, engine, drive train, suspension, body parts, and top assembly. It also features the correctly colored top (DB 852 grau), leather (DB 1070 grun), head liner (DB 824 Grun), paint (DB 221 grun), and grill screen (DB 7007 matt grau) from the factory. Special attention was taken to make it as accurate and true to its original build as possible.

The car was also originally highly optioned from the factory and came fitted with following options: radiator shroud, passenger headrest, passenger hand grip on dash, passenger heater fan, accessory (trouble) light, outside rear view mirror, odometer mileage (hand) counter, interior (rear-seat) luggage, original strap hardware, very rare 220 factory spare parts box, and original 3 piece trunk luggage.

The owner has also amassed a very large supply of NOS spare parts specifically for the 220 Cabriolet A that could be acquired separately.

While this is an older restoration, the car still drives and presents extremely well. After a thorough recent service by our shop, it is also mechanically sound so that it is fully capable of touring anywhere as well. The excellent door gaps and profiles are as good as we have ever seen on a restoration of any Cabriolet, an indication of the restorer’s expertise and quality. Early Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet’s are coveted cars by collectors as well as wonderful cars to drive and enjoy. This is not a car that will disappoint, and it was owned by the kind of fanatical owner that you want to buy cars from!


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