Press Kit: The CL-Class from Mercedes-Benz
Stuttgart
Jul 01, 2010
W 180/W 128 series (1956 to 1960)
  • A Coupé to go with the Saloons of the “Ponton” series
  • ‘Hydrak’ hydraulic automatic clutch available as an option for the first time
The Mercedes-Benz 220 S Coupé made its debut three months after the launch of the 220 S Cabriolet, corresponding to the open-top version with the exception of featuring a solid roof. Both cars were based on the 220 S Saloon launched in March as the successor to the 220a. It was from the Saloon that the engine with an output of 74 kW was adopted, providing the Coupé with adequate power for a top speed of 160 km/h and an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 17 seconds. The latter came with extensive standard specifications as the brochure pointed out: “The representative, sporty bodywork encloses a luxuriously equipped interior compartment, with fine-wood dashboard trim and window surrounds, leather-covered upholstery, heating and ventilation with a blower for the stationary car and clearly laid-out gauges.”
The brochure had this to say about the bodywork: “The characteristic ‘face’, the strong bumpers with bumper horns, the fog lamps and direction indicators, the laterally projecting and curved rear screen of the Coupé and, not least, the forward-pushing, elongated lines of the bodywork from Sindelfingen – everything is perfectly matched into a harmonious entity.”
In August 1957, improved versions of virtually all passenger car models were presented under the motto “Even more valuable, but not more expensive” – among them refined versions of the 220 S Coupé and Cabriolet, with discrete modifications and an engine output boosted to 78 kW. The only externally visible modifications were those to the front bumper and number plate panel and the illumination of the rear number plate, which, as on the Saloons, had been relocated into the bumper horns. A remarkable innovation was the hydraulic automatic clutch, “Hydrak”, which was equally presented in August 1957 and made optionally available for the Coupé as well.
Improved engine and automatic clutch
From September 1958, and at the same time as the Saloon, the Coupé and Cabriolet were also offered with a gasoline injection engine – in the form of the 220 E. With the exception of this engine, the Coupés and Cabriolets, internally known as the W 128, were largely identical with the 220 S sister models with carburettor engines. The six-cylinder unit with a displacement of 2.2 litres differed from the proven engine in the
220 S only with respect to the mixture formation which was now accomplished by means of intermittent manifold injection – as in the 300d Saloon; output was thus raised to 85 kW. However, the improved performance and the slightly greater fuel economy of the model with injection engine came at a surcharge of 1,900 Deutschmarks. Another 450 Deutschmarks had to be paid for the optionally available hydraulic automatic clutch, “Hydrak”.
In August 1959, three completely newly designed six-cylinder models with tailfin bodywork were presented, and production of the 219, 220 S and 220 SE three-box body Saloons was discontinued in the same month. Only the 220 SE Coupé and Cabriolet continued to be built – the last versions with carburettor engines came off the assembly lines in October 1959. From August 1959, the modified injection engine from the
220 SEb was installed in both models – a unit which generated an output of 88 kW thanks to straight intake pipes and a steeper-angled camshaft.
Production of the 220 SE Coupés and Cabriolets finally ended in November 1960; the successors – a new Coupé and a new Cabriolet – were launched in February 1961 and August 1961, respectively. With a total volume of 2,081 units - including 830 with injection engines – the three-box body Coupés ranked among the rare models from Mercedes-Benz post-war production.
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