San Francisco Bay Area Section

Prasanth Gopi - 1957 Ponton 190

Prasanth Gopi - 1957 Ponton 190

The story of my hunt for a Ponton as narrated by my good friend, Geoffrey Paulsen

The Ponton Phoenix
I'm calling about your Craigslist ad , said the caller. But I'm not interested in the chair - is that a Mercedes 220S behind it in the garage?" Yes, but I'm sorry - it's not for sale , I responded. As we chatted, it turns out the caller was Prasanth Gopi, whom I'd met at a previous Club event. He was looking for a Ponton, so I invited him over for a drive in mine. We've since become friends as I've helped him in his search. We looked and went on test drives, but the prices were too high or the cars too distant.

But the other week, we struck gold. I'd heard that our former Vice- President, Janet Migliori, had a Ponton at her son's Mercedes repair shop ( that she was going to restore some day. I asked if she'd be interested in selling, and it turns out she was - so Prasanth and I paid a visit. And there in the back, sinking into the mud and weeds in all its rusted resplendent glory, was a 1957 190 gas sedan. Let's find a battery for you , Junek, one of MB Garage's friendly mechancs said. As I opened a door that had not been touched in two years, the most delightful aroma greeted me a blend of old leather, dust, and musty horsehair. Ah, the memories; if they could just make a cologne_but I digress.

I twisted the key, pulled out the choke and hit the started button as Junek trickled gas into the carburetor. It cranked, coughed, sputtered and ran! We promised to return with money.

You'd better not take this on the freeway cautioned Junek a few weeks later. As I drove down El Camino Real from San Mateo to Sunnyvale, we started out in a cloud of blue smoke, with drivers behind waving - not at us, but across in front of their faces. The smoke soon cleared up, but low oil pressure necessitated an urgent stop for an oil change The engine started to run smoothly by the time we got to Palo Alto - just about the time the brake pedal sank to the floor and the headlights became intermittent. But thanks to two pumps on the brake pedal, streetlights, and my experience in having ailing Pontons bring me successfully to my destinations, we pressed on.

Now Prasanth has a real beauty in his garage rust free almost perfect body, original leather interior, original radio, a working wind-up clock, and that wonderful smell (ah yes, the memories_) oops, sorry - and the deliciously soft yet solid "ker-click" of the closing doors. They don't make them like this any more!

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