Hooniverse Weekend Edition – How NOT to Restore a Vintage 1959 Mercedes-Benz W121 Ponton

Well, get ready for a full-on ranting… This my friends is a vintage 1959 Mercedes-Benz W121 Ponton Sedan that is said to be restored by a Mercedes Trained Factory Mechanic with over 40 years in the business. Well, if this is how he restores one of the most beautiful entry level cars Mercedes ever built, then I have to ask him this question: Please don’t restore another Vintage Mercedes-Benz… Ever!

First, let’s start with the good. The paint finish looks very deep and glossy, but as we saw in this picture, it could be so full of light orange peel that the camera wouldn’t pick that up. I’m really not sure what the color is suppose to be (Black, Gray-Black, Dark Brown?) but it looks OK. The Bright Work seems to be OK as well, from the flawless Grill, to the headlamp bezels, but where are the bumpers? The car looks naked without a set of bumpers.

Moving on to the interior… and the seat pattern is all wrong for a vintage Mercedes. Stitching for almost any 50s vintage Benz has a North-South pattern, not an East-West Pattern. That is almost forgivable compared with the installation of the “Grant” type wood steering wheel in place of a restored original Benz Steering Wheel. And that radio just looks hideous. Most restorers have an original looking set, and a hidden modern unit somewhere else.

Onto the engine compartment, and while the 1.9L four-cylinder unit has been overhauled, what in gods name made this “Restorer” use an Edlebrock chrome air-cleaner in place of a vintage factory unit? Other than that it looks well sorted until you get to the part in which there is no heat. The seller states “the heater does not work it needs a new heater core, which is no longer available, the car will have to be fitted with an aftermarket heater, if you want one.” If you look into a copy of Hemmings, Mercedes-Benz has a whole division that caters to restorers of vintage Mercedes-Benz models, and a heater core is one of those items that they can source.

One final thing: Those wheels are awful. With over four days left until the auction closes, the top bid is $5,343 with an unmet reserve. The Buy-It-Now price is $10,000, which really isn’t bad when you factor in all the work, and how questionable the work has been. Certain things can easily be undone, while you will still have to source parts to complete this botched restoration. But what do you think… See the listing here, and tell me if it’s worth trying to save?

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