MERCEDES-BENZ: The Fifties, Volume 1

2016 Bernd S. Koehling
All Rights Reserved

Excerpts from the book:

Mercedes 300 SE fintail
"Don't you have anything larger?" Konrad Adenauer, long time chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany appreciated fast but also big luxurious cars. His favorite mode of transportation was the Mercedes 300d and when he first saw the Mercedes 300 SE in August 1961, he was disappointed by its size. For him the car was too small to be considered a replacement for his 300d. Consequently he kept his last 300d and when he left office in 1963, he bought the car from the German government and used it until his death in 1967.

He wasn't the only one to think that way. For 23,100.- DM (5,775.- US$) people wanted to have something substantially different to a simple Mercedes 190, which cost just 10,600.- DM (2,650.- US$). It was not the car's fault though, the car was a technical masterpiece. And marketing personnel of Mercedes-Benz did its best to promote the new star as a stand-alone product. In order to separate the Mercedes 300 SE from its cheaper brothers, separate brochures were printed and the car was even shown in different showrooms, away from the non-aristocratic rest. Its 3.0 l (183 cu in) M189 engine could be traced back to the 300SL and 300d. In order to make it lighter, it had a light-alloy engine block with pressed-in cylinder liners>>>

Mercedes 300 SE vs. the Jaguar Mk 10

<<<Keeping this in mind, the Mercedes 300 SE should have been a bigger success and the Jaguar Mk 10 an oversized reminder of an era gone by. Although the great Sir William Lyons himself agreed in an interview years later that he considered the Jaguar Mk 10 and 420G as too large and the successor XJ as just the perfect size, the Mk 10 with its 3.8 l engine outsold the Mercedes more than two to one in a similarly long production run. It is a little ironic that both cars had been designed with an eye on the US as an important export market, the Mk 10 even more so than the 300 SE and 220S/SE. Based on Sir Lyons later remarks, the Mercedes 300 SE should have had the perfect size and all the technical goodies a driver could ever imagine at that time. It should have been a success, yet history proved otherwise>>>

If you want to read in much more detail about the Mercedes 300 SE fintail, its racing history and a comparison with the Jaguar Mk 10, then please go here for the printed book and here for the e-book. The printed book covers all fintail cars from the 220, 230 W111 series, the 190, 200, 230 W110, the 300 SE W112 to the W111, W112 coupes and cabriolets. The e-book does not only talk about the Mercedes 300 SE, it also deals with another technical milestone of Mercedes-Benz, the mighty 600. Both offer plenty of color pictures, most of them never published in a book before. I am sure you will enjoy.
Mercedes 300 SE, badge
Mercedes 300 SE, interior
Mercedes 300 SE
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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 300 SE Video Mercedes 300 SE Rally Video 1 Mercedes 300 SE Rally Video 2


Mercedes 300 SE, SE lang W112 (1961 - 1965)

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