Mercedes Benz 180 Polizei
The up to the minute 180 range, given the internal works designation W 120, was introduced in September 1953. The extremely positive response to the first new design to come from Mercedes Benz after the war can be primarily attributed to threee factors.
To begin with, this completely new vehicle had an integral body and frame, an absolute first in the history of the company. Also the type 180 appeared with a modern "Ponton" body distinguished by its rounded lines. Flanges are now only visible on the fully integrated mudguards, the running boards and stand alone headlamps have disappeared. Only the classic radiator grille remains.
This contemporary "Ponton" shape reduces the aerodynamic drag, which in turn reduces the wind noise. At the same time the interior is more roomy and visibility is appreciably improved. Apart from the unusualy modern concept for the conditions at that time there was also a third criterion: the handling performance on the 180, which was far superior to that of its predecessor, the 170. The tuning spoke for itself the competition could hardly offer such comfortable and vibrarion free running.
The "Ponton" became a milestone for Mercedes Benz. On the one hand it founded the legendary longevity and economy, on the other hand thanks to the principle of modular assembly, it marked the changeover from manufacture by craftsman to volume production. In the 9 years during which it was in production, over 440.000 cars in the "Ponton" range were built.
Due to the versability of this model, the Ponton also went into use with the fire brigade, including as a command vehicle in Hamburg. In 1960 the Ponton in its grey livery was used as an official car by the then chief superintendent of the fire brigade. In the autumn of 1963, after a change of personnel, the vehicle was repainted and equipped with a loudspeaker on the roof on the instructions of the new holder of the office. Shortly after the intervention of the then Hamburg Senator for Home Affairs Helmut Schidt the Ponton was painted black.