The Mercedes-Benz W111 was a chassis code given to a range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles produced between 1959 and 1971, including four-door sedans (1959-1968) and two-door coupés and cabriolets (1961 to 1971).

Introduced as in-line 6-cylinder cars with 2.2-liter engines, the W111 spawned two lines of variants: entry-level vehicles sharing their chassis and body, but with four-cylinder engines they were designated as the W110. A luxury version built on the W111 chassis with its body and the six-cylinder M186 engine with six-cylinder fuel injection was designated the W112.

Mercedes-Benz emerged from World War II as an automaker in the early 1950s, with the expensive 300 Adenauers and the exclusive 300 S tourers that gained fame, but it was the simple monoblock that Pontons represented in most of the company's revenue.

Pontons replacement work began in 1956 with a design focused on passenger comfort and safety. Ponton's basic cab was enlarged and square, with a large glass greenhouse improving the driver's visibility. A milestone in the design of the car was the front and rear crumple zones to absorb kinetic energy on impact. The automaker also patented retractable seat belts.

The body was modern and featured characteristic American-style squiggles that gave the models the nickname Heckflosse - the German for "fintail".


Mercedes-Benz 280SE Coupe (USA)

The boxes almost disappeared in the two-door versions

The design of a replacement for the two-door Pontons began in 1957. Since most of the chassis and powertrain would be unified with the sedan, the scope was focused on the external style. Some of the prototypes and prototypes show that Mercedes-Benz tried to give the two-door car a front style almost identical to what would be realized on the Pagoda roadster, but ultimately favored the work of engineer Paul Bracq. The rear featured small tailfins, subtle compared to the bodies and evocative of the W108 / W109 square style.

Production began in the late 1960s, with the coupe making its debut on the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, in February of the following year. The convertible followed at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few months later. Almost identical to the coupe, the soft top roof folded into a recess behind the rear seat and was covered by a well-fitting leather "boot" in the same color as the seats. Unlike the previous generation of the two-door ponton series, the 220SE designation was used for both the coupe and the convertible; both received the same version of the 2195 cc M127 engine. Prices in 1962 were 32,500 for the coupe and 36,000 NLG for the cabriolet. Options included a sliding sunroof for the coupe, automatic transmission, power steering and individual rear seats.

Mercedes-Benz 220SE Convertible

In March 1962, Mercedes-Benz launched the exclusive two-door 300SE with an M189 engine. Like the 300 sedan, it was based on the W111 chassis, but shared Daimler's 2996 cm3 engine and the unique W112 chassis designation, efforts on the part of Mercedes to distance it from the automaker's modest W110 and W111 lines and joints to the prestigious two-door luxury sports tour W188 300S. It was distinguished by a chrome strip and featured air suspension and a higher level of internal trim and finish. Prices were 45,000 and 48,500 for hard and soft roofs, respectively.

In the summer of 1965, Mercedes-Benz launched replacements for the W111 and W112 sedans, the W108 and the W109, respectively. With tailfin fashion well eroded in the mid-1960s, the new design was based on the contained W111 coupe, enlarged and square. Work on a future new chassis that would completely replace the Ponton-derived W111 / W112 and W108 / W109 was already underway. With a concept car of the first S-Class shown in 1967, Daimler refused to develop a two-door W108 / W109 vehicle, continuing the production of the aging W111 / W112 with modest changes. The 220SE was replaced in the early fall of 1965 by the 250SE, which featured the new 2496 cm3 M129 engine. Producing 150 hp (112 kW) at 5500 rpm, it provided the vehicle with a significant improvement in top speed, 193 km / h (188 km / h (117 mph) with automatic transmission) and 0-100 km / h (62 mph) time acceleration of 12 seconds (14 with automatic transmission). Visible changes include new 14-inch rims, which came with new hub cabs and beautiful rings, accommodating the biggest disc brakes and the new rear axle of the W108 family.
Mercedes-Benz 280SE Coupe

In November 1967, the 250 SE was replaced by the 280 SE. It was powered by the new 2778 cc M130 engine, which produced 160 hp (119 kW) at 5500 rpm. The top speed was hardly affected, but the acceleration from 0-100 km / h (62 mph) improved to 10.5 seconds (13 with automatic transmission). Inside, the car received an option of wood veneer on the instrument panel and other minor changes, including door lock buttons and different heating levers. The hubcaps were changed again to a new one-piece cover, and the outer mirror was changed.

Despite its smaller engine, the 280 SE could outperform the early 1950s, with the M189 equipped with 300 SE, resulting in the retirement of the more expensive model. The coupe and cabriolet kept the shared model designation until they were replaced by a new generation chassis in 1968.

Mercedes-Benz updated the W111 280SE to include an optional 3.5-liter V8 engine

A final model was added in August 1969, the 280 SE 3.5, Mercedes' first post-war coupe with more than 3 liters. The car was equipped with the brand new M116 3499 cc V8. It produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 5800 rpm and a top speed of 210 km / h (205 km / h with automatic transmission) and 0-100 km / h (62 mph) in 9.5 seconds (11.5 for the automatic transmission). As one of several changes to modernize the design of aging, a lower and wider grid has been incorporated; this was not a side effect of enlarging the engine compartment to accommodate the V8 despite popular belief. The front and rear bumpers have also been modified with the addition of rubber friction strips; the rear lenses have changed to a flatter cleaning design. This change was made to the 280 SE standard. As the top of its range, the 280 SE 3.5 is seen as an ideological successor to the W112 300 SE, although the W112 air suspension was missing.

There were plans to place the larger M117 V8 engine on the W111 (the model would have been called the 280 SE 4.5).

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