Barn Find Fintail: 1965 Mercedes 220S

The Fintail Mercedes is a relative bargain in the classic car market right now, offering a classic look with good engine choices and relatively stout build quality. This 1965 model is fairly needy at the moment but said to have been stored indoors for the last decade. Details are limited but the listing does reference the desirable inline-six cylinder powerplant, which was a capable performer in its day. Find the 220S here on eBay with a $3,500 Buy-It-Now.

Though the 220S is located in Florida, it still sports old-school New York license plate. Perhaps it belonged to a snow bird who didn’t return home, but Jasper is a long way from Palm Beach where many East Coasters tend to end up. Regardless of its origins, what we can see shows a mostly straight car with decent bumpers, faded paint and chrome trim, and the stacked U.S. headlights (the glass-encased Euro units are a must-do upgrade).

The 220S came standard with the M127 inline-six with dual carbs, giving it a power rating north of 100 b.h.p. and made it capable of hitting 103 m.p.h. This example comes with the more commonly-seen automatic, though a 4-speed manual was an option. The interior here presents well, with seats displaying their classic Mercedes resilience and no major damage to the door panels or steering wheel; it’s harder to determine what sort of condition the dashboard is in.

The rear seats shows a major stain in the middle, but is otherwise just dirty. The seller references “…some rust” but doesn’t elaborate as to where it resides. There’s a mention of some spares included in the trunk, as well as a 190D rolling chassis that could be included for an extra $1,000. Overall, if the rust is manageable, these fintail sedans are a great way to get into classic touring without huge maintenance / restoration budgets.

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Comments

  1. Cmarv

    My parents bought one of these new , in white . Biggest POS ever . Replaced by a 66 Olds Toronado . That was a nice car !

    • David Frank David Frank Member

      I’m sorry for your parents difficulty with their Mercedes, and find it hysyerical that they thought the “66 Olds Toronado” was an upgrade. I wouldn’t admit that about my parents! These “112” Mercedes went for many hundreds of thousands of miles as taxis in Europe and did well in road rallys. Here’s a fun article: http://www.thedrive.com/vintage/2573/driving-a-vintage-rally-prepped-mercedes-benz-1963-220seb The Olds Toronado is a nice car but I wouldn’t try one off the pavement.
      The car pictured is from 1963

      https://mercedes-benz-publicarchive.com/marsClassic/en/instance/ko/Mercedes-Benz-touring-sports-cars-and-rally-cars-1960—1963.xhtml?oid=6902

      • Billy Bob

        I would much rather drive the ’66 Tornado. 455 CI , 370 HP , FWD, Luxury USA at its finest.

      • Andy

        When I was 3, my parents bought a ’64 190. This was in 1970. My recollections of this car include getting out of the tow truck after it was dragged back into town; watching my dad patch the gaping holes behind the headlights with fiberglass; and falling out of the rear passenger door as we went around a turn, luckily not too fast.YMMV.

      • MikeG

        The 66 Toronado is one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen. My grandparents had one, and that was one sweet ride.

      • Dave Wright

        Off course……you are correct on most points. One of the highest quality cars ever built. Most of the Taxi cabs however were the smaller body diesel cars. This is the cheapest S (large body) version. One of my favorite cars was my 1965 300SE. I prefer a fuel injected version, they are less troublesome than this carbureted version, run smoother and have more power even in the 220 engine. These are very good cars.

      • Dan in TX

        David, not cool taking a shot at Cmarv or his/her parents like that. They liked the Olds better than the Benz. Nothing to be ashamed to admit or hysterically funny.

  2. Chinga-Trailer

    I think the “Fintail” Mercedes were amongst the very best cars built – EVER!! What a superb experience to drive – they ride like a luxury car, corner and handle like a sports car, the four-speed column shift transmission is mechanical perfection and the “climbing ribbon” speedometer that changes color is an absolute hoot! A trunk almost big enough to live in completes the package. I also truly love the “Ponton” style Mercedes, but these are a far superior car in every aspect except styling but the “Rambler Fins” are now so far out of style that they’re cool!

    • KEN TILLY

      @Chinger-trailer.

      I had a 1959 Fintail 220B, the 111 model and it was a really great car. The only difference that I discovered between the B and S models was that the front bumper had an overrider at each corner whereas the rear was a single bumper. I spent 10 hours driving around cars and trucks that had managed to get stuck in the snow while on a Classic Car Rally. Don’t know if it was luck or judgement but all 23 cars on the rally made it to the destination. I was offered half the price that I paid for the car just for the white steering wheel as evidently it is the same wheel as used in the 230SL and are virtually unobtainable.

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    Interesting comments above. The few I worked on back when I lived in SoCal were pretty reliable, needing only scheduled servicing.

    I’m with Spanish-expletive Trailer, they were fun to drive and the speed was a cool gimmick.

  4. KEN TILLY

    My 1959 Fintail.

    • ROTAG999

      Was 59 First year for Fintail ?

      • Chinga-Trailer

        ’59 Was a transition year for the six-cylinder cars, there both Ponton and Fintail six-cylinders in 1959. The four banger 180 and 190 models still had the Ponton styling until 1960/61.

  5. Wolfgang Gullich

    I don’t know how one would even compare a ’66 Toronado (although cool) to a Mercedes Fintail. This was MB’s first real move upmarket after WW2 and it showed.

  6. 69goat

    My best friend worked at a Mercedes dealership as a service writer and in his words they didn’t break down because they were always in the shop the maintenance schedule is very rigorous and Mercedes dealerships are instructed to find the least little thing that might possibly go wrong and upsell a repair to the customer. Resulting in less chance of breaking down on the road. I personally never cared much for most of them. My experience with early Mercedes models I felt like they were a rather noisy and rough riding car I realize the seats and suspension Etc were geared toward Europe and the roads there I also found most of them to be underpowered and never could keep the tail lights working LOL I really do like the newer S-class sharp luxurious comfortable car for sure and the gull wing has to be one of coolest cars ever. I have very fond memories of the 66 and 67 Toronado my brother-in-law had a 67 what a beast got a real big kick out of smoking up the front tires. Very comfortable car and how cool was it not to have a big giant hump going down the middle.

  7. John

    My Dad had a 59. His only lasted a bit over 600K miles. My Mom made him buy a new one. I would wager that somewhere in Chicago, his 59 is still running.

  8. Mountainwoodie

    In the early seventies I had a more pedestrian ’67 200. Had Woodstock print curtains in the rear windows! Ah kids.!…Sold it to a friend who drove it to Colorado. Always wanted a fintail estate wagon …throw in a sunroof for sure

    . Out here theres a Mercedes centric shop in SoCal whose owner has a cool collection of ‘oddball’ fintais and pontons from wagons to ambulances

  9. Whippeteer

    The NY plate was issued between 73 and 80. Not until the current NY plate could you keep your old plate on your car.

  10. Kelly Breen

    I posted on a different spot but I still have a 1965 220s. I bought it in 1985 when I was going to high school. All my friends were buying Mustangs or Cameros. Mine is up for sale now.

  11. fleet butterfield

    In the late 80s I had bought a 1963 220seb with a gas fuel injection. Nice car. Felt like I was driving a tank. My first thought at seeing the huge trunk was that someone could put 6 dead bodies in it. ha ha
    The car had been bought by an American doctor from Galleta CA while on vacation in Europe, most likely in Germany. He then drove it to Italy, and shipped it back to to his home in California. I found out that the seb was special. I drove it for a while, then got rid of it cuz it had a problem with the engine or fuel system.

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