MERCEDES-BENZ: The Fifties, Volume 1

© 2016 Bernd S. Koehling
All Rights Reserved

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Mercedes 220S
Mercedes 220S, interior
Mercedes 220S, 230S Universal
Excerpts from the book:

Mercedes W111 fintail
When development for the Mercedes ponton model started, management decided to launch the four-cylinder Mercedes first in order to slowly prepare its somewhat traditionally minded customers for the dawn of a new era. This time it was the other way around. The bigger Mercedes 220S and its siblings came first.

On an unspecified day in 1956, Prof. Nallinger, visionary chief engineer and member of the executive board, called into his office Rudolf Uhlenhaut (head of passenger car development), Karl Wilfert (head of body development) and Josef Müller (head of engine development). They needed to discuss the ponton successor, he said. Two things had been decided upon by the executive board prior to this meeting: the dimensions of the passenger cell (larger) and the time of the launch (autumn 1959). Everything else he said, he wanted to leave up to them. As the ponton engines were fairly modern, there wasn't too much to do for Josef Müller, but Karl Wilfert knew that the new Mercedes had to cater to different tastes, as export was a high priority. He and his team had quite a job on hand>>>

<<<After plenty of internal arguments, Wilfert was famous and almost feared for, his styling team lead by Friedrich Geiger came up with a proposal that did not only incorporate hints of American styling preferences but it also had sufficient traditional elements incorporated that even a person not interested in cars at all, would immediately recognize the car as a Mercedes. The Mercedes fintail was born>>>

The Racing History

<<<The Monte Carlo rally was ideal for such publicity, as it was the oldest and one of the most prestigious rallies in Europe. Three teams were selected: the experienced Schock/Moll and the rookies Böhringer/Socher and Mahle/Ott. Three people were available for service and technical support, only one of them a mechanic! And each Mercedes W111 220SE was given two spare tires. All in all, 345 teams were at the start line for the 1960 Monte Carlo rally. As it was customary, they started from various European cities with Monaco as their finish line. Before reaching Monaco, they had to drive some 2,300 km (1,430 miles) across Europe, partly on snow covered roads>>>

If you want to read in much more detail about the Mercedes W111 fintail series, its coachbuilders, racing history and the pleasure being driven by a chauffeur in a black Mercedes 220S, then please go here for the printed book and here for the e-book. The printed book covers all fintail cars from the W111 220, 230 series, the 190, 200, 230, the 300SE to the W111, W112 coupe and cabriolets. The e-book deals with all 220 and 230 W111 series cars. Both offer plenty of new color pictures never published in a book before. I am sure you will like it.

The following videos are copied from youtube for your viewing pleasure. Some of them contain cars filmed by commercial vendors. I am not associated with them
Mercedes 220S Drive Video 1 Mercedes 220SE Race Video Mercedes 220S Drive Video 2


W111 Mercedes 220, S, SE, 230S (1959 - 1968)

Great books and e-books about Mercedes cars of the 1960s