Packing half the cylinders—and displacement—of its predecessor, albeit with more power, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 remains the topic of heated debate. And with the aftermarket always looking to one-up carmakers, I’ve come across an all-custom older model that’s even more of an opinion splitter. That’s because this W204 C63 AMG now lurks under the body of a 1961 W121 Mercedes-Benz Ponton.
Wearing enough black to make Darth Vader green with envy under his mask, this Ponton-bodied C63 AMG Coupe from two generations ago roams the streets of London. And even with all that darkness concealing striking details like the marriage between the classic metal front bumper and the modern air intakes underneath it, it’s impossible to miss this German retromod—I’ll get back to this build genre below.
The historical significance of the Ponton can’t be overstressed, so expect this build to ruffle some feathers and then some. After WWII, the Ponton became Mercedes-Benz’s first unibody car. And, unlike its body-on-frame predecessors, this model gave up the old-school design. Its pontoon-inspired styling perfectly integrates the wings into a three-box sedan shape, something we still enjoy nowadays.
Nevertheless, the Ponton (W121), which is present here in 190 form, is considered an ancestor of the E-Class, since it was an intermediate offering. This size also applied to the very first Mercedes-Benz SL, the 190 SL, which arguably made for the final member of the Ponton family back in the day.
What is a retromod?
By now, we’re all accustomed to restomods: classic cars that have received modern tech, with engine swaps taking center stage. However, retromods are modern vehicles that have had their bodies modified to look like old-school machines.
The art of retromodding involves newer cars that sport custom bodies, which range from plush carbon fiber examples to less expensive steel and composite units. Examples go from muscle cars like this 1969 Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible riding on 2014 Mustang bones to a 240Z transformation for the Infinity G35 Coupe.
Now, London-based Xtreem Motors didn’t build a 100% custom body resembling a Ponton for this decade-old Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe. As stated above, the shop used an actual Ponton body for the build, albeit elongating the front end by 300 mm (11.8 inches), but this qualifies as a retromod in my book.
The W204 mechanicals
By choosing the W204 C63 AMG, which Mercedes introduced in 2007 (with a major facelift in 2011), the said London shop ensured a deeply engaging driving experience for this Pontoon retromod.
That’s because AMG, which was years away from becoming the EV-making Mercedes-AMG we know today, was given more of a free hand than before with the W204 C63 and this shows in the handling.
Plus, the M156 6.2L engine under the hood was the last of the N/A V8s in the C63 (and other AMGs), so, within the modern engine paradigm, this is closer to the character of the Ponton than its twin-turbo V8 successor.
Yes, the 7G-Tronic 7-Speed automatic gearbox isn’t the quickest by today’s standards, but it still does a great job at harnessing the 451 hp (457 PS) and 443 lb-ft (600 Nm) of that meaty V8 (standard output). Nevertheless, since this build features a 2011+ W204 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe with the Performance Package, it rocks 480 hp (487 PS).
The infinite details of the C63 AMG Ponton
Xtreem Motors first started working on the Pontoon X C63 AMG retromod back in 2020 and they had plenty of challenges to overcome. So while upgrading the brakes with some Brembo hardware and adding custom 20-inch wheels were the easy parts, building a roll cage and marrying the old with the new sat at the other end of the spectrum.
Featuring a striking red leather finish, the modern C63 AMG interior is the last thing you expect to see when opening the Ponton door. And, despite the roll cage bits in the middle (just a tad cooler than your London cab divider), this is a four-seater.
You know, because people who share this kind of madness have quite the bond. And, thanks to the content creator Karanja (aka Mr.AmazingCars on Instagram) and YouTuber sadikameen, you can enter the club too, M156 scream and all.