1957 Mercedes Benz Ponton 180 D Pick-Up for sale
1957 Mercedes Benz Ponton Ute for sale
Recently restored to a very high standard, a very sort after and rare vehicle.
One of the major tasks of Daimler-Benz after the war was the rebuilding of their factories and the increase of export business. Traditionally one of the biggest export markets was South America, where a sizeable part of the Mercedes 170 export sales went. In order to avoid costly import taxes, those cars were usually shipped as CKD (completely-knocked-down) models and assembled locally.
But it was not only the sedan that was produced in these markets. More and more cars were converted to more utilitarian usage and sold as station wagons and pick-ups.
Another interesting market, which was just on the brink to open up, was South Africa. In the early 1950s, Daimler-Benz had six importers, who sold next to Mercedes also other German cars such as Borgward or DKW. The three largest were Stanley Porter in Cape Town, Haaks Garage in Pretoria and Cargo Motors in Johannesburg.
But in the mid 1950s it became increasingly difficult to import foreign made sedans, as the South African government had applied strict import quota. This way the country wanted to convince international car manufacturers to establish local assembly and production facilities. The sales of newly imported Mercedes sedans had slowed to a mere 100 units annually and the six importers used the help of the Daimler-Benz representative office in Johannisburg to have an arrangement with Suttgart to switch to the importation of so-called “chassis-cabs” or “half-cars”. At that time Daimler-Benz was not ready yet to ship CKD models, as they still lacked proper facilities in South Africa for the assembly of cars.
Those half-cars were models with the body section going only up to the B-pillars. And they were not going to be finished as sedans, but as pick-ups instead. Pick-ups were classified as commercial vehicles, which were not part of the strict import quota system.
Due to its utilitarian character, there was only one model chosen for this deal: the W120 Mercedes 180D with the 1.767cc (107.7 cu in) OM636 VII engine. That engine was still the old oil-burner that had found its way into the 170D in 1949. It was the first Diesel engine, Daimler-Benz introduced after the war. In Sept. 1955 it had been upgraded from 40 hp at 3,200 rpm to 43 hp at 4,500 rpm, delivering a torque of 10.3 mkg (75 ft/lbs) at 2,000 rpm. Considering a kerb weight of 1,220 kg (2,684 lbs), that engine might have been acceptable in the 1950s, but today it is quite a getting used to.
The first Mercedes 180D ponton pick-up models went on sale in 1955. While the German word for pick-up is “Pritsche”, the Africaans word is “Bakkie”. A quick search on Wikipedia reveals that the word Bakkie is a generic South African/Namibian term used for any light duty pick-up vehicle. Later such vehicles from Datsun, Nissan and Toyota all carried the “bakkie” name. So it was not a word unique to the Mercedes 180D pick-up. It has its origin in the Africaans word “bak”, which stands for a covered bowl. Pick-ups were and are not too popular in Europe, as vans and station wagons are used for similar purposes. The situation is different in other parts of the world and South Africa is a good example for this ……. to find out more please visit http://benz-books.com/blog/572/a-mercedes-180d-called-bakkie/ or you can buy my book here . https://itunes.apple.com/artist/bernd-s.-koehling/id482540831?mt=11