Mercedes-Benz Ponton
Chassis and Engine Numbers

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Importance of Knowing the Vehicle's Numbers

Many times, when ordering replacement parts for a Mercedes-Benz Ponton, the engine and/or chassis number is needed to determine the exact part required. This was also true when the Pontons were brand new because as improvements were made during a production run, the new/improved parts were installed on the next vehicle on the assembly line. The factory did not wait until the end of the "model year" to make such changes. Fortunately, accurate records were kept detailing which chassis and engine numbers received which parts. All factory authorized Mercedes-Benz agents and many specialized after-market vendors have access to this information today. Because the last Ponton was built in 1962, using the vehicle's engine and chassis numbers when ordering spare parts is more important than ever.  

Determining the Correct Part with the Numbers

Here is an example of why it is important to know your engine and chassis numbers. Let us assume there is a certain 1957 Type W121 190 sedan whose engine is not original to the vehicle. Not knowing the correct engine number can be the source of considerable confusion when ordering parts. The chassis number (Plate A) may identify the vehicle as a 1957 W121 190, yet the engine number (with a 121.923 prefix) (Plate D) reveals that the engine originally came from a W120 180a or 180b (the original 190 engine would have carried a 121.920 engine number prefix). In this case, when ordering engine replacement or tune-up parts, selecting parts for the correct engine is critical. If the only thing the parts vendor knows is that you have a "1957 Type 190 sedan", they might (quite logically) provide engine parts for the original style engine. So when you receive that carburetor rebuild kit, nothing seems to fit! It is an easy oversight to make, and something to be aware of when ordering replacement parts.



Ponton Chassis Number Prefixes on Plate A

Chassis Number Prefix  Included Models

120

180/180a/180D/180b/180Db/180c/180Dc (4 cylinder / sedan) 

121

190/190D/190b/190Db (4 cylinder / sedan)

121

190SL (4 cylinder / cabriolet-roadster)

105

219 (6 cylinder / sedan)

180

220a/220S (6 cylinder / sedan / cabriolet / coupé)

128

220SE (6 cylinder, fuel injection / sedan / cabriolet / coupé)

The "W" that sometimes precedes the chassis number prefix denotes the "Werksbezeichnung" – a factory code to identify any variants of a particular model built upon a specific chassis platform. For example, a Type W120 Mercedes-Benz could identify any of the following 4 cylinder sedan models: 180/180a/180D/180b/180Db/180c/180Dc.



Ponton Engine Number Prefixes on Plate D

Engine Number Prefix

Included Models
136.925 180
121.923 180a
636.930 180D
121.923 180b
636.930 180Db
121.927 180c
621.914 180Dc
121.920 190
621.910 190D
121.920 190b
621.910 190Db
121.921 190SL
121.928* 190SL
180.921** 219
180.921** 220a
180.924 220S
127.980 220SE (sedan)
127.984 220SE (cabriolet / coupé)

* The 121.928 engine (Type M 121 B IX) was used on the 190SL from 1961-1962.

** Reference: Service Manual Models 180 to 220SE (.pdf file on the Literature page). The table on page 00-1/7 states that the 220a has a chassis type 180.01, and engine model M 180.II (180.921). The same table says the Type 219 sedan has a chassis type of 105.01 and engine model M 180.II (180.921). That is, this manual states that the 219 and 220a have a different chassis but the same engine. See also illustrations and text on pages 01-4/4 to 01-4/5 showing both sides of a 180.921 (single carburetor) and 180.924 engine, and state that the 180.921 went into the 220a and 219 and that the 180.924 went into the 220S.



Chassis and Engine Number Significance (1953-1959)

The 1959 model year was transitional because production ceased for certain 6 cylinder models (219 / 220S cabriolet / 220SE sedan) while the life cycle of the "b" version of the 4 cylinder models (180b / 180Db / 190b / 190Db) and certain 6 cylinder models (220SE cabriolet / coupé) was just beginning.

Chassis and Engine Number Significance (1960-1962)*

* There are certain chassis numbers from 1959 which seem to use a combination of both the early 13 digit and the later 14 digit numbering systems.  The result is a 15 digit chassis number found on "Plate A."  


Example of a 15 Digit Chassis Number

180.011.10.9504522

This chassis number came from a visitor to these web pages.  This particular chassis number owes most of its structure to the 1953-1959 (13 digit) numbering system.  However, note the seventh and eighth digits (the third group of numbers from the left).  This group is more akin to the 1960-1962 (14 digit) system and can be broken down with the following clarity.  The seventh digit (1) indicates LHD (left hand drive) while the eighth digit (0) indicates standard transmission.




Example Data Tag Chassis Numbers
Table added February 11, 2016
 
Example 1: Plate A / Mercedes-Benz Type W105 219 Ponton sedan data tag
105 = Type 219
010 = hard top (no sunroof)
N = standard transmission (no Hydrak)
75 = Made in 1957 (date digits are normally reversed)
05171 = The 5,171st Type 219 off the line in 1957.
The complete VIN (for registration) would be 105010N7505171 
 
Example 2: Plate A / Mercedes-Benz Type W105 219 Ponton sedan data tag
105 = Type 219
010 = hard top (no sunroof)
N = standard transmission (no Hydrak)
85 = Made in 1958 (date digits are normally reversed)
07686 = The 7,686th Type 219 off the line in 1958.
The complete VIN (for registration) would be 105010N8507686 

Plenty of additional information can be found on the subject of Mercedes-Benz Ponton chassis and engine numbers. Complete, exhaustive coverage is outside the scope of this page. Check your favorite technical resources ( internet, book stores, etc.) for publications that include Mercedes-Benz history.


Created: June 3, 2001 / Jeff Miller
Last Update: June 14, 2016
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