California Binz: 1963 Mercedes Kombiwagen

In the Mercedes world, wagons are a fan favorite. They are considered the epitome of long-lived, highway-devouring haulers that can pack in the family and still keep the driver entertained. Before the later W124 and W123 cars that put Mercedes on the map for building a quality estate, the company partnered with Binz to fabricate any number of wagon configurations, from passenger vehicles to ambulances. This Binz-built passenger wagon here on eBay is believed to be one of less than 15 that survive today. 

The elongated roof and body extensions involved hours of hand fabrication by Binz engineers, and can oftentimes be a source of rust issues on these unusual bodies. Fortunately, despite rust in other areas of the wagon, this example’s roof is said to be in sound condition. The Binz-bodied heckflosse remained in long-time ownership with its previous caretaker, who lived in British Columbia and then eventually settled in the Sacramento area, and the Kombiwagen remains in California today. The seller speculates this is the reason for its relatively preserved condition.

And to be fair, with the exception of the dash pad, the interior lives up to that history. The body was repainted at one point in the past, but the seller says it has flaked off in spots, resulting in surface rust blossoming on the body panels. There are a few concern areas for more serious rot-through notated, and they’re not in particularly surprising spots; what is surprising is that there aren’t more of them. We have seen some epically rusty Binz-bodied Benzes on these pages, so this one may be as close to a survivor as we’re ever going to see with so few produced.

As the seller notes, this example sports the lowest roofline Binz offered, which makes it look much more like an actual passenger vehicle than a converted ambulance or hearse. The fintail W110 body has always been one of my favorites, and it looks particularly tidy here with the longer body design. The rust is manageable and this car remains in highly original condition, and combined with a healthy running motor and transmission, the $25,000 price seems fair – but you can also make a best offer. Let’s  hope this one gets gently restored but mostly preserved.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    These Belgian built cars are always interesting. I am not sure how much collaboration there was with Mercedes. Most were commercial vehicles……even when I lived in Germany during the late 70’s wagons were salesmen’s cars. They had not caught on with the general public like they have now. Off course, this is the small body of the time. I would prefer an S body car. I haven’t read the eBay ad yet but would expect to see a Diesel engine here. This is the one I am fascinated with.

  2. Woodie Man

    Down San Diego way there was a MB shop called Onanger.At various shows they’ve had a number of his fintail wagons of varying kinds. Dont recalll one with such a high roof though.

  3. JBP

    Them we had many of in Denmark, as ambulance, with higher roof.
    Ofcourse with diesel engine

  4. Sam

    Cool wagon! The Binz website is interesting. How about taking your last ride in an AMG Omniel hearse.

  5. Peter Atherton

    I’ve owned a ’67 230 IMA-bodied wagon since 1978;the IMA bodies were much more attractive,since they were built from the standard sedans.The 230 engines were the worst that Mercedes ever built;the 230 was basically a 190 chassis with a 6 cylinder motor shoehorned into the 4 cylinder’s space.The 230 6 was made small enough by siamesing the cylinder bores,resulting in constant overheating issues due to lack of cooling passages. Mercedes-Benz called these wagons “Universal’s”.Keenan Motors,in Philadelphia,imported them for a year or so,and Foreign Motors,Inc,in Boston,sold a few of them.Rust was their undoing in the Northeast;mine very nearly broke in half!Fortunately,Mercedes-Benz Classic in California was able to provide new floor panels,as well as other bits.The taillight lenses are unique to this model,and are impossible to find.

  6. Bob C.

    As a child I had a matchbox ambulance very similar to this car. It was also called a Binz.

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