In August 1953, Mercedes-Benz presented the 180 model of the 120 series. The sedan with the modern "Three Box Design" was the first Mercedes-Benz passenger car with a self-supporting body in Ponton form.
Its design was characterized by the fully integrated fenders, a rectangular body plan and the vehicle areas of the front, passenger section and rear, which were designed in the approximate shape of cuboids. This design concept lowered the air resistance (which resulted in less wind noise and lower consumption) and a much more spacious interior.
180 and 180 D – gasoline and diesel
The "Ponton" Mercedes-Benz 180 model initially came out as a gasoline model. However, the 120 series was augmented by the 180 D diesel model as early as January 1954. It proved to be the most successful four-cylinder Ponton: with nearly 150,000 vehicles. Because of its dependability and economic efficiency, the model was very popular, first and foremost among taxi drivers.
190 and 190 D – going a step further
In March 1956, the 190 model (W 121) with a gasoline engine was added as a third vehicle to the Ponton model range of the four-cylinder models. It was based mostly on the 180 model, but had a much more powerful engine rated at 75 hp. In September 1958, Mercedes-Benz added yet another diesel vehicle to the range, the 190 D model.
The myth of the "Ponton" lives on
In the nine years of the Ponton era, until October 1962, Mercedes-Benz had built a total of 442,963 units of the 180 to 190 D models, including 437,310 sedans and 5,653 chassis with partial body. Incidentally, both series are considered as the forerunners of our E-Class and were modernized in the course of their life cycles. Technically speaking, the later Mercedes-Benz sedans also have a Ponton-shaped body. However, in the language used for the historical series, the given name "Ponton Mercedes" is still reserved for the first generation of models.