Family heirlooms come in any form, shape and size. Popularly, heirlooms are usually family jewelry passed down from one generation to the next. In my case, I have my late father Wong Chu King’s small Mercedes-Benz fleet.
It could sound unusual how a car, an object that is supposed to diminish in value over time, would become a family heirloom. For me, this is definitely not just an ordinary car. To start, these vehicles personify my father’s good traits as a businessman of our old cigarette manufacturing company (La Campana Fabrica de Tabacos).
My father relied a lot on his cars because he personally plied sales routes where his trusty Mercedes-Benzes could take him. Consider the Philippines in the past 50 years, and we do not have the same paved roads, highways and expressways that my father went to.
To me, this car symbolizes my father’s dedication, hard work and perseverance in caring for his business and leading as an example to his people.
So I decided to take care of his car that best represented his characteristics. Not only that, my father actually loved the engineering and performance of these Benzes so much that he trusted no other brand.
With that, I’d like to share the late Wong Chu King’s Mercedes-Benz 1951 220 Cabriolet A W187 Body. This was his first Mercedes-Benz.
This car is numbered 1 of 1,278 Cabriolet A 2-door full-size luxury cars produced around the world. It is powered by a 2.2L M180 single overhead cam inline-6 engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. This engine is rated at 80 horsepower. What’s fascinating about this model is the M180 engine was just introduced in Benz production models in 1951, same year when this then-new but old-bodied look car and its other variants came out.
In fact, the engine would become the grand daddy (upgraded and modified) over the years which includes the early 1970s S-class models.
This model is on an FR (front engine, rear-wheel drive) layout which was a common configuration in 20th century automobiles.
This 220 came with a tan soft top. The whole car is in tiptop shape and it is being driven around our place every other day to make sure everything is in running order.
My father used this car a ton, so over the years, there have been many replacements done from the natural wear and tear. For most of the interior and exterior trims, I had to source them all the way from Mercedes-Benz Germany such as the rims and lights.
The rest of the interior amenities such as the leather steering wheel, dash, radio and such are still factory stock.
Meanwhile, the periodic maintenance service is done by my trusted guys at StanBenz Motor in Makati. Luckily, the car has not had any major mechanical problems. In fact, it hasn’t been involved in any sort of collision at all!
Known as an incredibly thrifty man, my mother told me that the Benzes were my dad’s only splurge.
Another thing to love about this car is the extremely rigid body. Of course, the main trade off would be its weight at 3,170 lbs (1,440 kg). It’s heavy for a car of its simple stature and in comparison to most modern Benzes who sport a bigger engine and comes with all the fancy features and electronics we have today.
Now, I hadn’t taken the time to take a photo of the interior and the engine bay of the car yet. I’ll keep you guys posted so you can have a better look at this 1951 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A.
For reference, here’s a technical data sheet of the W187 series I got off of Wikipedia:
|Engine:||6-cylinder-inline engine (four-stroke), front-mounted|
|Bore x Stroke:||80 mm x 72.8 mm|
|Max. Power @ rpm:||80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) @ 4850|
|Max. Torque @ rpm:||142 N⋅m (105 lb⋅ft) @ 2500|
|Compression Ratio:||6.5: 1|
|Fuel feed:||Two-barrel downdraft carburetter Solex 30PAAJ|
|Fuel tank capacity:||47 L (12.4 US gal; 10.3 imp gal), from late 1951 65 L (17.2 US gal; 14.3 imp gal)|
|Valvetrain:||SOHC, duplex chain|
rear wheel drive, axle ratio 4.44:1
|Electrical system:||6 volt|
|Front suspension:||Double wishbones, coil springs, stabilising bar|
|Rear suspension::||High-pivot swing axle, coil springs||High-pivot swing axle, coil springs|
|Brakes:||Drum brakes (Ø 240 mm)|
|Body structure:||Sheet steel on ovoid steel tube X-frame||Sheet steel with wood frame on ovoid steel tube X-frame|
|Dry weight:||1,350 kg (2,980 lb)||1,440 kg (3,170 lb)|
|Loaded weight:||1,690 kg (3,730 lb)||Cabriolet A 1,680 kg (3,700 lb)
Cabriolet B 1,785 kg (3,935 lb)
|1,315 mm (51.8 in) 1,435 mm (56.5 in)|
|Wheelbase:||2,845 mm (112.0 in)|
|Length:||4,507 mm (177.4 in)||Cabriolet B: 4,507 mm (177.4 in)
Cabriolet A: 4,538 mm (178.7 in)
|Width:||1,685 mm (66.3 in)|
|Height:||1,610 mm (63 in)||Cabriolet B: 1,610 mm (63 in)
Cabriolet A: 1,560 mm (61 in)
|Top speed:||140 km/h (87 mph)||140 km/h (87 mph)
Cabriolet A: 145 km/h (90 mph)
|Fuel Consumption (estimate):||14.0 litres per 100 kilometres (20.2 mpg‑imp; 16.8 mpg‑US)||14.5 litres per 100 kilometres (19.5 mpg‑imp; 16.2 mpg‑US)|
Saloon w/fabric sunroof
Coupé w/steel sunroof:
That’s all for now. I will post more about this car. Thank you for checking this out. Alex Wongchuking signing off!