Mercedes-Benz W120/W121

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mercedes-Benz W120/W121
Mercedes 180 2 v sst.jpg
Mercedes-Benz 180b (W120)
442,963 built
Body and chassis
ClassExecutive car (E)
Body style4-door sedan
LayoutFR layout
RelatedMercedes-Benz W105219
Mercedes-Benz W180220a/S
Mercedes-Benz W128220SE
Wheelbase265 cm (104.3 in)
Length180: 446 cm (175.6 in)
180 a / 190: 448.5 cm (176.6 in)
180 b/c, 190 b: 450 cm (177.2 in)
Width174 cm (68.5 in)
Height156 cm (61.4 in)
Curb weight1,150 kg (2,540 lb)—1,220 kg (2,690 lb)
PredecessorMercedes-Benz W136/W191
SuccessorMercedes-Benz W110
Mercedes-Benz 180 (W120)
For the 1960 model year the car received a wider grille.

The Mercedes-Benz W120 was an inline-four cylinder sedan introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 1953. Powered initially by the company's existing 1.8 liter M136 engine, it was sold as the Mercedes-Benz 180 through 1962.

The Mercedes-Benz W121 was introduced in 1956, powered by a 1.9 liter M121 engine. It sold as the Mercedes-Benz 190 through 1961.

The 180 continued to use the 56 PS (41 kW; 55 hp) M136 engine from the Mercedes-Benz 170 Sb until 1957, when it received a downtuned version of the 190's M121.

Various diesel powered 180s were produced from 1953 to 1962.

Often referred to as "Pontons" the pair were the mainstay of Mercedes' lineup during their production runs. Together with the more luxurious and somewhat larger 2.2 liter inline-six cylinder Mercedes-Benz W128 220 they constituted 80% of Mercedes-Benz' production between 1953 and 1959.[2]

De facto, this was the first predecessor to the medium size Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan line.


The 180-190 and W128/W180 220-220S 'Ponton' models looked very similar in appearance from the windscreen back to the six-cylinder somewhat longer 220s-220S-220SE models. From behind, one could not easily differentiate even the top of the line 220SE (E for Einspritzung, or fuel injection) from a 180, but the longer bonnet (and wheelbase) and chrome touches identified it as an upscale, six-cylinder model.

The 1951 to 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 W186 Adenauer company flagship used a much larger frame and body, and was an entirely different car.

The 180-190 four-cylinders were widely used as German taxis. Only these shorter Pontons featured low-wattage parking clearance lights at front bumper top rear. A simple left-right toggle above and to the left of the driver's knee selected which side would illuminate, so as not to needlessly run down the battery in winter, no small concern when restarting diesels. Heater air intakes were on both sides of the radiator grille only on the 120/121.

The form and body of the car changed little during its production run. However, in 1957, a year after the introduction of the 190 saloon, the Mercedes star atop the faux external radiator cap was made spring-loaded to give when bumped: reports at the time indicated that this was either to pander to the requirements of certain export markets, notably Switzerland, or to reduce the risk of pedestrian injury in the event of an accident.[3] By 1959, the star was spring-retained on a ball base.

A related roadster variant, the R121, better known as the 190SL, was produced from 1955 to 1963.

At the 1959 Frankfurt Motor Show, in time for the 1960 US model year, a slightly wider grille and slimmer taillights were introduced.[4] The same wider grille was carried forward to the car's in other respects more flamboyantly styled successors, when the Pontons were replaced by the W110 "Fintail" models during 1961.


Model Chassis code Years Type Engine Number built[5]
W120 sedan W120.010 1953–1957 180 1.8 L M136 I4 52,186
1957–1959 180a 1.9 L M121 I4 27,353
1959–1961 180b 29,415
1961–1962 180c 9,280
W120.110 1953–1959 180D 1.8 L OM636 Diesel I4 116,485
1959–1961 180Db 24,676
1961–1962 180Dc 1.8 L OM621 Diesel I4 11,822
W121 sedan W121.010 1956–1959 190 1.9 L M121 I4 61,345
1959–1961 190b 1.9 L M121 I4 28,463
W121.110 1958–1959 190D 1.9 L Diesel I4 20,629
1959–1961 190Db 1.9 L OM621 Diesel I4 61,309


  • "Mercedes 180-D". Road & Track (1959 Road Test Annual): 81–83.
  1. ^ An Australian Mercedes-Benz? - Retrieved on 31 October 2012
  2. ^ Morelli-Bertier (1998-12-17). "Raisonnable passion" [Rational passion]. Rétro Hebdo (in French). Paris, France (89): 30.
  3. ^ Simoneit, Ferdinand, ed. (1977). Vor 20 Jahren: Auto Motor u. Sport in Heft 23 und 24 / 1957 [20 years ago: AMS in issues 23 and 24, 1957]. Auto Motor und Sport (in German). Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlag GmbH & Co KG. p. 6.
  4. ^ Mercedes-Benz Ponton Radiator Grille Shell Evolution
  5. ^ according to: Werner Oswald: Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol.5. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 32.

External links[edit]