Unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in April 1951, the Mercedes-Benz 220 was essentially a six-cylinder iteration of the 170 S, sharing the same 2,845mm wheelbase chassis. The lineage of this series started with the 170V, a four-cylinder, 1.7-liter model introduced in 1936, which became a cornerstone of Mercedes-Benz production in the immediate post-war period. Its running gear was cutting-edge at the time, featuring an oval-tube backbone-type chassis, swing-axle independent rear suspension, transverse-leaf independent front suspension, and hydraulic brakes.
In May 1949, the 170 S was introduced, appearing quite similar externally but boasting a 1,767cc engine with an aluminum-alloy cylinder head. The suspension also saw significant advancements, adopting a modern double wishbone/coil spring design at the front and widening the rear track while adding telescopic shock absorbers.
Although closely related to the 170 S, the 220 distinguished itself with a more contemporary design, incorporating integrated headlamps into the fenders. Powered by a 2.2-liter overhead-camshaft engine producing 80bhp, the 220 saloon could reach a top speed of approximately 90mph.