1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S "Bertha"

 

"Bertha" is a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S coupe. It was purchased in 1982 with 72000 kilometers on its speedometer from an antique toy dealer in Geneva, Switzerland. It was first sold by Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart to ENASA, the Spanish Mercedes distributor, which apparently delivered the new car to the Spanish court in Madrid, where it was given to future king Juan Carlos for his 18th birthday and for joining the Spanish army. It ended in Switzerland and had a long-term ownere there, from whom I purchased her.
Back home, I put new tires on her, some Coker Classic jobs, and simply... drove it. Bertha was seen at various shows such as the ones we used to have at Fashion Island in Newport beach until the local merchants decided that attracting customers was not cool after all, as it was disturbing their sleep during business hours.

 

 

 

The interior retains its original leather, wood, carpets, steering wheel, and the odometer shows only 90000 km that have been confirmed original through records.

 

 
  The two-tone beige color with red leather interior is original.

The car was first sold by Daimler-Benz to their Spanish distributors, ENASA. Records show that the first owner may have been Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, to whom the car would have been offered as a present for his enrolling in the Spanish army. Further research is being done at this time.

 

  Bertha is now back on the Circuit, such as this "Cars & Coffee" informal show at the Mazda Design Center parking lot on Saturday mornings, sharing space with the finest of the finest.

 

 

Motor Press Guild members twice chose Bertha as their "Track Days Concours Winner", and it benefited from publication in one of the last printed issues of the MPG newsletter.
The picture was taken by Lorna Lyons and the story was by Pete Lyons, good friends as fell as extremely knowledgeable in racing history.

Above, the happy co-owner enjoys a brief break from a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. The car has been effectively trouble free for the past 30 years.

The engine runs strong and the brakes are truly outstanding for a car of that age, using finned aluminum drums on front and finned cast iron units at the back, plus a servo assisting the effort. The pedal is firm, the deceleration spectacular and worthy of many modern automobiles.

An engine rebuild was performed in 2009, using a NOS long block and a finned 1961 220S cylinder head. The original engine stays with the car, its cylinder head fully rebuilt and awaiting assembly onto the original block, crankshaft and parts.

 

Bertha hits the Big Time!

 

The October 2013 issue of Automobile magazine featured Bertha as its "choice of the month" classic. The story was written by Michael Jordan.
 

 

In March, we drove Bertha over 100 miles to Palm Desert were she was entered in the "preservation" class at the Desert Concours. It won its class. The picture above was shot by Rich Truesdell who then joined us for a drive before the Corona Del Mar Concours in July, where Bertha's front-left brake cylinder had a fit and decided to let go. A quick visit to the Mercedes Classic Center in Irvine and $500 later, we had purchased the necessary parts to redo all four brake cylinders since after all, they are over 50 years old!

 

 

 

 

 

Contrast... the Olde and the New. Which do we prefer?
 

 

 

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