Lot 238 - 1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton

Lot 238 - 1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton

Lot 238 - 1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton

Lot Number 238
Registration 270 XVS
Chassis Number 1210108506049
Engine Number 129208506077
Estimate £19,000 - £23,000
  • First owner prominent NASA Scientist - co designer of Saturn V rocket for Apollo 11 mission
  • Wonderful patina with good history

The 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 Ponton is a classic luxury car that was produced from 1953 to 1962. The ‘Ponton’ name refers to the car's unibody design, which was a major innovation at the time. The 190 model was part of the Mercedes-Benz W120/W121 series, which was designed to be more affordable than the larger and more expensive Mercedes-Benz models of the time. The 190 Ponton had a four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.9 litres, which produced 75 horsepower and 99 lb-ft of torque. It was available with either a four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission. The car had a classic, elegant design with a rounded front end, chrome accents, and a large grille. It had a spacious interior with room for up to five passengers, and it was equipped with a number of luxury features for its time, including a Becker radio, a heater, and an optional sunroof.

This vehicle was purchased by Henry (Hank) Ambrose Cole Jr., NASA scientist, in Hamburg on 15th September 1960 for DM7,200 from a second hand car concession specializing in the marque, Franz Bohnsack (all receipts present and extant, also see Henry A. Cole Oral History). 

The vehicle had been ordered in late May 1958 and dispatched to Fahrzeugwerke Lueg GMBH in Bochum. Mr Cole proceeded to tour Europe after his purchase, on furlough from duties at Nasa.  He then shipped the car to Los Altos in California (see oral history on NASA website). This car became his daily driver together with another US sourced 190 for the next 60 years or so. Cole, a World War II veteran serving in the Pacific, worked extensively on the design of the Saturn V rocket on the Apollo 11 Mission working under the German V2 scientist, Werhner von Braun. 

The 190 was a family vehicle, used for Cole's honeymoon, as well as work purposes during this period.  Its continuous use is belied by its original and unrestored condition having benefitted from over 60 years in California's balmy weather.  The vehicle was purchased by the present owner on the basis that it might be offered for sale to the Mercedes collection at Fellbach, an intention that has remained unrealised due to extraneous factors.  The vehicle comes with extensive history, purchase receipts, original keys in leather fob as well as original spares, original booklets in the correct wallet, and authentication as a matching numbers vehicle by Mercedes Benz. Today, the 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 Ponton is a highly sought-after classic car, prized for its timeless design and excellent build quality. It is often used as a collector's item or as a weekend cruiser.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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