Mercedes-Benz W120/121 is First Produced
The Mercedes-Benz W120 and W121 "Ponton" cars were produced from 1953 through 1962.
They were sold under the "180" and "190" model names. The Ponton models were replaced by the W110 "Fintail" models beginning in 1961. The 180 was the first 'small' Mercedes, it can be thought as the C-class of that era. Mercedes-Benz would return to this market segment in 1982 with the 190E. The W121 190 was the E-class of the time. All the 'Ponton' generation models looked very similar in appearance, one could not clearly identify even a 220SE from a 180, only after seeing its larger size and chrome touches was it possible to identify it as a different model. This was the only generation in which all models looked incredibly similar, though the 300 was exclusive.
The form and body of the car changed little during its production run. However, in 1957, a year after the introduction of the 190 sedan the Mercedes star at the front of the car was made detachable: 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.
A roadster variant, the R121, better known as the 190SL, was produced from 1955 to 1963.
Mercedes also produced 6-cylinder Ponton models, the larger W128/W180 220s.
From 1953 to 1962 442,963 Mercedes-Benz W 120/121 Ponton Cars were manufactured. The model names were 180 and 190. The 180 was a fairly small car that can be compared with nowadays C-class, and the 190 with the E-class. The models looked very similar but the 180 still had the pre-war four-cylinder 1.8 L engine, whereas the 190 had a new four-cylinder 1.9 L engine with a top speed of 140 km/h. The cars were a totally new series of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars produced after WW2. Both models were also available with a diesel engine. They were sold as 4-door saloons. The mid size cars had a wheel base of 104.3 in (2,649 mm) and a kerb weight of 2,690 lb (1,220 kg). From 1955 a convertible model was also available, the 190 SL.
The W120 was with its appearance a small sensation: It concerned first Mercedes with self-supporting body - in the "pontoon form in such a way specified". The construction of the previous model with its free standing fenders still originated from the 1930er-Jahren. Now Mercedes (although later than other manufacturers) introduced the then modern pontoon body, which was not honored throughout of the rather conservative Mercedes with applause. In the comparison to the later body Design of the house Mercedes Benz with its elegant alignments the W120 works afterwards perhaps actually somewhat awkwardly.
Little criticism gave it however at technology, handling characteristics and quality of workmanship. Only the first version suffered from the outdated engine of the predecessor model, which found at the beginning of also in the W120 use. All models were propelled by four-cylinder engines. With the W120/W121 the triumphant advance of the diesel engine in the passenger car began, particularly popular as taxi. The body was for the first time provided with a crunch zone.
Pointed name became simple due to the body design pontoon Mercedes or pontoon. Successor of the W120 and the W121 became the W110 ("small tail fin").