Mercedes-Benz Type 220 b (W 111), 1959-1965

August 1959: Mercedes-Benz introduces the safety body

Mercedes-Benz 220 b (W 111), 1959

220 b of 1959

Daimler-Benz AG first presented the new six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 220, 220 S and 220 SE models in the fashionable fintail design at a press event on 11 August 1959. These were the first production passenger cars to feature safety bodies – having both a passenger cell with maximum stability (“rigid passenger compartment”) and front and rear crumple zones.

Mercedes-Benz 220 Sb, (W 111), 1959

Steering wheel and instrument panel of the 220 Sb

These were designed to significantly reduce the impact of a collision on passengers and thus the consequences of an accident. Designed by Daimler-Benz engineer Béla Barényi, this concept found widespread acceptance and became an industry-wide standard in safety technology. The safety body also helped protect other road users – a stated development goal at Mercedes-Benz – since it absorbed some of the impact energy that would otherwise be transmitted to those with less protection on the road.

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