The Mercedes-Benz 220 Coupé belonged to the W 187 series which Daimler-Benz presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in April 1951 together with the 300 (W 188 series) – initially with a Saloon body. The 220 was largely based on the 170 S but had a newly developed six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft, which developed 59 kW from a displacement of 2.2 litres. Drivers thus had adequate power at their disposal as the car was capable of reaching a top speed of 150 km/h. Chassis and bodywork were almost identical – only the headlamps had now been integrated in the specially modified front fenders. To match the significantly higher engine output, the 220 was fitted with duplex brakes on the front wheels. There was a choice of three bodywork versions to start with: Saloon, Cabriolet A and Cabriolet B. In addition, a total of 41 open-top touring cars were produced for the police between August 1952 and May 1953.
The two Cabriolets were positioned as sporty touring cars with an exclusive character. In December 1953, they were joined by a Coupé which lay claim to the same characteristics – in response to “repeated requests by individual prominent personalities,” as a circular by the sales management put it.
Utmost exclusivity: just 85 units produced
In both technical and stylistic terms, the Coupé was based on the Cabriolet A. The sporty touch was emphasized by a slightly curved – rather than flat – windshield which the Cabriolet A had already been featuring from November 1953. In terms of sales price and the number of units produced, the Coupé moved on to become the most exclusive version of the W 187 series – just about 85 units of this model were manufactured whereas the combined production volume of all the other versions came to more than 18,400 – including 1,278 Cabriolet A units. Exclusivity was also expressed by the price: the Coupé cost 20,850 Deutschmarks – and 22,000 DM with steel sunroof (December 1953); for the Cabriolet A, 18,850 DM had to be paid (February 1952); by comparison, the Saloon with a price tag of 11,750 DM (February 1952) appeared to be decidedly inexpensive.
From April 1954, the Coupé and the Cabriolet A were equipped with an engine with a higher compression ratio and a higher output of 63 kW, a unit which had already been developed for the successor model, the 220a production of which began in June 1954.
Production of the 220 Saloon was discontinued in May 1954, the last Cabriolet B having come off the assembly line in Sindelfingen one year earlier already. The Coupé and the Cabriolet A continued to be built until July and August 1955, respectively. More than a year was to pass before three-box body versions of the Coupé and Cabriolet became available from the new Mercedes-Benz 220 series.