Back to the History of the Coupés and Convertibles

The 220SE Coupé was shown to the press at Stuttgart in February 1961 on occasion of the re-opening of the Daimler-Benz Museum. It was also the year that Mercedes celebrated its 75 years of existense so you could call the Coupé a real anniversary car. The car made his public debut a month later at the 1961 Geneva Show were it had to compete with the E-type from Jaguar. The Convertible appeared some months later at the Frankfurt Show.

Like all open cars, the Convertibles had their own special appeal. The styling of Bracq ensured that they looked equally good with the top up or down, which you can't say about other Convertibles. Like the Ponton A Convertibles, they carried their tops in a recess just behind the rear seat, so that only a small amount of fabric and foling mechanism protruded above the bodywork, to be covered by a tightly-fitting bag. The Convertible is not just an open Coupé, if you look closely you will see that the grille of a Convertible is set at a different angle than the grille of a Coupé (the grille of a Coupé stands more upright than the grille of a Convertible).

The wheels of the 220SE Coupés and Convertibles were, of course, the same as for the 220SE sedans. Not just simple looking wheels but elegant chromed rims with 12 holes. If the car had a two-tone colour paint finish, the hubcaps were painted in the upper body colour. The hubcaps of the 220SE models were detachable from the rims. Early 300SE Coupés and Convertibles have similar wheels.
Later 280SE Coupés and Convertibles have also similar looking wheels but the complete wheelcover is now made out of one-piece.

When placing the front of a sedan and that of a Coupé/Convertible next together you can clearly see the family resemblance. Both models share a similar looking grille and headlights. The only real noticeable difference is that the bumpers of the Coupé/Convertible are somewhat more elegant and they miss the little chrome strips between the headlights and the grille.

Mercedes decided in 1963 to give all the sedans, Coupés and Convertibles of that time a small face-lift, some minor details on the cars give away their 'before' and 'after' look. One of those details was that the rearview mirror moved from its place on the front wing to a place nearer the driver on the front door. This was done so that adjusting the mirror could be easily done from sitting in the seat. The design of the rearview mirror changed slightly with the introduction of the 280SE Coupés and Convertibles (see chapter 6) 1967: The 280SE Coupé and Convertible).

Of course the Coupé/Convertible models had to incorperate the same novelties that could be found on the sedan models. The air-outlets on the C-pillar of the sedans (see chapter 3) 1959: The 220, 220S and 220SE models) were put there to let the air flow out of the interior but because the Coupés/Convertibles did not have this air-outlet, used air could leave the interior compartement via the rear window (see picture).

Cars destined for the US markets differed slightly from the European cars. Not only did the US cars have the 'sealed-beam' headlights but the placement of the rear numberplate lighting was also different (see picture). European cars have their numberplate lighting placed directly beneath the numberplate, incorporated in their rear bumper. US cars have two single lights placed on the left and right of the numberplate.

What better way to take a look at the interior of a Coupé/Convertible than to take a look at a brids-eye view of a Convertible? 


The backs of the front seats are fully adjustable but, for reasons of safety can't be tilted forward while driving. Operation of a lever on the side (red arrow) permits the back to be folded forward for easy entry of exit of the rear passengers. The back rests can also be lowered down to the rear seats just as in the sedans. A rare option was bucket-type seats for the front and back.


The front doors of the Coupés and Convertibles may look at first site like the doors of a 300SE LWB (see chapter 6) 1963: The 300SE LWB). Especially the door pockets (no. 1) are very similar. Furthermore you can find a window opener (no. 2), the door-opener (no. 3) and the knob to adjust the quarter lights (no. 5). Both the driver side as the passenger side have the extra door handle and a padded armrest (no. 4).
Something that could only be found on the Coupé/Convertible models was a switch to lock the door (no. 6), the sedan models had the familiar little 'pins' which you had to push down to lock the door. The design of both the door-opener and the switch to lock the door changed slightly with the arrival of the 280SE models (see chapter 6) 1967: The 280SE Coupé and Convertible).


The rear bench offered much more space and comfort than the Ponton Coupés, even though it was less accomodating than the broad bench of the W111 sedan. Headroom in the back was a little restricted too, and tall passengers had to argue for a place in the front of the car or elso slouch rather inelegantly behind. For extra cost, it was possible to order individual rear seats in place of the bench but this option created no more room and remained very rare. A central arm-rest was standard equipment for both options.

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