Rust-Free Fintail: 1966 Mercedes 190

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This classic Mercedes-Benz 190 – otherwise known as a “fintail” – is a California black plate car that appears to be for sale by a late-model used car dealer. It shows signs of being a stalled restoration project and has some interesting parts attached, like the larger driving lamps and the fender-mounted turn signals. The 190 is listed here on craigslist for $4,995 and is said to have under 70,000 miles. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader j liu for the find. The “fintail” moniker is applied for obvious reasons, as Mercedes couldn’t ignore the American obsession with finned haunches. That said, the look didn’t last long, but it’s also made these smaller Mercedes sedan slightly more collectible as a result. Bumpers appear quite nice and all four hubcaps are present.

The seller says it runs well enough and that it’s ready for paint. The lipstick red interior appears to be recently refreshed, and almost too bright for being the stock color. The good news is a fair amount of work has been done; the bad news is, I’m unsure to say to what level given the interior color just seems off to me. Thankfully, it’s a manual transmission car.

I say thankfully because these were not enormously powerful cars, and the manual gearbox may make it a compelling choice for driving events and rallies with a historic vehicle class. Alternatively, if the body presents as not having excessive filler or other signs of cost-cutting, this could be the perfect place to scoop up an unfinished project for far less than it’d cost if starting from scratch.

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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    The back plate, which curiously is only on the front, is from 1964. I think the white plate shown on the back is probably the one the car is registered with.

    Caveat emptor…

    Like 0
    • David Frank David FrankMember

      Yes, the car must be registered with the back, white plate. If the original plate is still available and in good condition, the car can be reregistered with the original black plates. My ’65 was registered with white plates and I was able to reregister it with the original black plates. The plate might even be in the trunk. And yes, the red is way too bright and the upholstery is nothing like the original material.

      Like 3
      • Horse Radish

        Black plates only if you have documentation for those plates on it.
        And they may ask if you still have both plates….

        Like 0
  2. Richard L Fortney

    The fender mounted turn signals may be a stock item on a 190, was not on the 220S, I owned a 1961 220S in Europe in the early 70’s and remember the side markers. Red Interior may be a stock color, but it is too bright.

    Like 0
    • Horse Radish

      Seats redone , door panels are dry and original

      Like 0
      • Solosolo UK ken tillyMember

        I owned a 1959 220b back in the day so I think the seat covers are original but they have been re dyed in a far too bright shade of red.Wonderful cars.

        Like 3
  3. Southbound

    I can smell the interior from my home in Florida.

    Like 4
  4. Mountainwoodie

    I had a ’67 200 many moons ago. I’d say the door cards are original. As I recall the 190 had those fender mounted turn signals. Be even better if this had a sunroof and floor mounted shift but I guess you can’t have everything. At $2500 it would be a good buy imho. I like all of the fintails……especially the larger fancier models.

    Like 1
  5. Horse Radish

    68 k miles, sure, and that dealer would let you park the car in front of their driveway and let you take 30 or so photos…
    wait , it is a dealer selling it, watch out
    What else are they fudging on in the desription….
    ooh, and that dash face is destroyed by somebody cutting the bakelite dash face for a modern stereo, so dumb….

    Like 1
  6. Horse Radish

    ” Fins did not last too long on these ”
    Only 1959 -1968.
    What , only 9 years.

    Like 3
    • Brakeservo

      Right, they don’t fact check very well, this and so many listings.

      Like 1
    • Fred W

      Thought the fins started in ’60 – my ’59 was a Ponton.

      Like 0
      • Bobsmyuncle

        Both body types were sold at the same time.

        Like 0
  7. Doug B

    Darn those seats are ugly. You’d be seriously upside down if you did a complete restoration.

    Like 0
  8. Nick G

    Judging by the overtly toffee colored dash, the upholstery might be victim of some over ambitious photo-shop work.

    Like 0
    • Ex color guy

      Definitely some pumping up of the reds…..the bad pixelation around the edges of the door card shots says it all.

      Like 0
  9. Peter Atherton

    1960 was the first year of the fins; lasted through early 1968.As to this color red interior;MB had three different shades of red, leather.or MB Tex;this is the brightest of the three.Sad to see the owner hacked the dash to install the modern radio.Is the left headlight rim missing, or has it been replaced..confusing pictures!

    Like 0
    • Solosolo UK ken tillyMember

      My 1959 had fins. Maybe it was a 1960 model registered in 1959 as they were made in South Africa, as they still are, along with most of the world’s right hand drive Mercs and RHD Toyota pick-ups I believe.

      Like 0

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