Behind the White Wheel

Behind the White Wheel

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How everything started...

My first encounter ever with a classic vehicle was during the summer of 1987; I was seven years old and was heading home with my father after spending the day at Broumana, a summer destination in Mount Lebanon. I remember pretty well seeing a dark red Mercedes 180 ponton driving ahead of us, out of which a strange noise was coming. When I asked my father about this noise, I remember him explaining that the noise sometimes comes out of the muffler when driving such cars downhill on the third gear. I was instantly fascinated by this car (which I have only seen from behind) and started searching for a "matchbox" car that might look similar to it. My passion for old Mercedes-Benz cars started to develop further when my aunt got me a 1/18 Mercedes-Benz SSK made by "Burago". I started collecting model cars while constantly searching for a 1/18 Mercedes-Benz ponton.

Years passed by, and one day in 1995 on my way back from school, I saw a white Mercedes-Benz ponton, a 190b freshly painted but "deprived" of many parts. The owner offered to sell the car at USD 12,000, which was very expensive for me (I was only fifteen back then and could not afford such a price). So I decided to pursue my search for a real ponton, a 180 that would need restoration but which would be fairly complete and affordable.

In April 1995, I found my ponton, a 1961 180b whose owner had passed away several years ago. The car had not been utilized for many years and needed lots of reparation works.
The restoration project started in May 1995 with the goal of bringing the car back on the road by the summer of that year!

The car was thus repainted, the interior (with original front bench seat) and the chrome redone, the engine and the suspension overhauled, and most of the sundry never-ending meticulous details.

I've owned my 180 ponton ever since 1995; that is for almost 15 years! I drive it often especially during the summer and the winter when it is not raining.

People often wonder, how could a Mercedes-Benz 180 ponton attract a 7 years old boy? Frankly I don't know, sometimes I think though that the secret lies in the ponton's design - simple and popular yet very classy...For many, the Mercedes-Benz 180 ponton reflects the golden years of Beirut, the dolce vita years before the civil war erupted in 1975. People look at these cars with a feeling of nostalgia. I cherish this car that has been part of my life for almost 15 years; I have restored it, I have learned how to maintain it, I know every single detail in it, every single wire, every single is maybe my way of getting a glimpse at Lebanon's golden years, years I never got the chance to experience!


  1. Great story! Good Luck with the blog!

  2. Super Rammouz !!!
    I can't wait for more + tes histoires m'inspirent !

  3. Bonne Chance Ramzi!!!

  4. and I was very lucky to have a nostalgic ride in that dream machine!

  5. It is a beautiful car indeed :-)