Journal: Forgotten Mercedes Fintail Will Be a Future Favorite

Forgotten Mercedes Fintail Will Be a Future Favorite

By Petrolicious Productions
October 15, 2013
10 comments

Mercedes-Benz experienced a wave of success between 1959-1965 when they unveiled their avant-garde “fintail” design language by Karl Wilfert. Before this radical design departure, Mercedes-Benz had been viewed as rather conservative––even with the 300SL Gullwing & roadster.

The wraparound windshield and rear glass was more emblematic of contemporary American design inspired by the Jet and Space Ages of the period. For Mercedes, this formula would prove to be just as successful in the fatherland, selling over 300,000 units globally during the model’s life cycle.

The car was available in a host of different powerplants including a twin-carb 2.2L six-cylinder, a fuel-injected 3.0L six-cylinder, and even a four-cylinder in petrol and diesel options. At the time, the BOSCH fuel-injected system proved to be too costly to repair and soon most fuel-injected W112s leaving the assembly line would come with carburetors instead.

Today, many of these cars are still driven by their original owners (especially some of the diesel models). While trim pieces can be scarce and some mechanical parts over engineered, they are still a fun and retro reminder of Mercedes’ culture inspired design period.

A quick look at the Hagerty valuation tool and you’ll find that “fintail” values have stabilized the past few years. This is normally a great indicator of a looming interest spike. While the “fintail” is a niche interest car, the W109 was produced in larger numbers, making earlier fintail sedans and special order models desirable.

Cars kept in pristine condition dance around the $30,000 range while “well-loved” models are turned into reliable drivers (est. $10,000–18,000) or even hot rods (a contemporary 6.3L AMG Bi-Turbo seems appropriate to us).

Click here for the Hagerty Price Guide Report.

Images Source: emercedesbenz.com

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fesa704
fesa704
11 months ago

Hi
There’s a Question I always wans to ask but am afraid……..
I alway know the Americans are Big in their Fintail.
I wants to know who come first?
The Germans or the US of A
Thanks in advance

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

A little late to this party, but thought I’d say hello. This is my 1962 220s. My grandfather picked it up in Germany while he was in the Air Force. Many cars came and went but the old gal has stayed with us. Not 100% original, as it was repainted about 15 years ago, but almost.

Mercedes Benz Auto Parts in Brisbane

It is such a beautiful car. I love to drive this car because it is available with a number of features.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
8 years ago

While goofing around on a frozen lake in NY state a diesel Fintail showed up. The owner was really cool and let anyone drive the 350k+ mile car. First, it was the most planted and stable vehicle on the ice, bar none. A naturally aspirated Saab 900 was the only thing that was close but that old MB just dug in. In hard cornering the body rolled and the car slipped a bit but as soon as you straightened out it settled down like a horse laying down and you had traction for days. The shifter felt like a spoon standing up in a tub of yogurt. There was FEET of travel out of gear, and inches in gear. You could hardly tell if you were in 1st or neutral. That speedometer was cryptic at best, indecipherable at worst. It was comfortable, composed, resisting being worn out, and every inch a classic diesel Mercedes.

Michael Maddalena
Michael Maddalena
8 years ago

We’ve had our ’67 230S, 4-speed for almost a year now. Finally got it sorted nicely and it runs great. But it amazes me how it effects onlookers and admirers. I’ve owned a lot of cool cars over the years but this one seems to be the most popular hands down. Maybe it’s the rally gear we installed or the Cherry Bomb muffler? We were down in Philly for the Radnor Hunt Concours and stayed until Monday. Then we visited friends in downtown Philadelphia. Driving this car at lunch hour by Rittenhouse Square was surreal. I felt like the Pope.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
8 years ago

Beautiful car! You should submit photos of it for a feature.

Pedro Campuzano
Pedro Campuzano
8 years ago

I own a 1968 W110 230 fintail and love the car. It drives like a more modern automobile but with the characteristic Mercedes feel. My father owned a 67 230 and a 66 190d (the 3 legged turtle he called it) back in the 70’s and early 80’s and as a teen they made an impression on me. When this 68 came up for sale 3 years ago I had to have it. I find the cars easy to work on and reliable when made right. Some parts are pricey but most quite reasonable. I drive my car at least 3 days a week. The car makes me smile and I seem to make new friends every time I hit the road.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago

You’ve got to be a bit careful with the model numbers if you talk about Fintales. The W112 300SE was the luxury end of the line and here in the UK the values have never really taken off as much as the W111 because of the pneumatic suspension which is ruinously expensive to put right.

I have a W111 coupe which are very fine cars and look almost exactly the same as the W112 but have simple springs and shocks. It still has a great Mercedes style ride, just not quite as smooth as the W112. Values of the coupes took off a few years ago here and the W111 fintales saloons have been going up steadily since then, they are superbly built, can be used everyday easily plus they have 60s rally pedigree so are used in historic motorsport more and more.

The only down side if the ferocious parts prices the Mercedes Classic seem to be setting, which also puts a lot of people off. You need to get to know a good breaker.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

The motorsport pedigree as demonstrated by Messrs Harris and Coulthard in Chris Harris’ latest video

Steve Jain
Steve Jain
8 years ago

I had a Ponton up until last year, great car. Probably should have kept it. Personally like the Ponton styling better than Fintail…but both are very approachable in price at the moment