Heckflosse beauty...

1964 M-B 220 (W111)

When once asked by a collector what single marque would I advise him to spend money on, I replied -without any hesitation- to focus on old Mercedes-Benz models. The reason?

Well, I think that the W111 is a very good reason to start considering vintage M-B models. If one wants to enrich -or even start- a classic cars collection, the 220 sedan is still an affordable option. There is an abundance of spare parts in the market, and -at the same time- the beauty of these extended fins at each side of the car's tail has always been alluring to the eye. So is the car's nickname: "Heckflosse" -that is, "Fintail". 

Not to be confused with the W110, the W111 had 6-cylinder engines, vertical front headlights and a longer nose. It shared the same rear fins with the W110 -the latter had round front lights, a shorter nose, and 4-cylinder engines. The story gets a little bit complicated as the W111 coupé version still retained the W111 tag minus the rear fins. There was also the W112 variant, a much sought-after 3.0-litre model with upgraded equipment, air suspension and a hefty price tag. The W112 was being offered in sedan, coupé, and cabriolet versions -the long wheelbase sedan edition beared the "L" designation ("Lang", which stands for "Long" in German).   

The W111 was the brainchild of Freidrich Geiger, an iconic Mercedes-Benz name who helped the firm earn a reputation by also creating the stunning 540K and 300SL Gullwing sports cars. The W111 coupé/cabriolet versions were penned by another famous design master, Paul Bracq, who was responsible for the 600 "Grosser" (W100), the pagoda roof SL (W113), and W114/115 sedan & coupé.

This black fintail shared with me quite a time since I undertook its complete restoration. To be more precise, we both shared the very same age as we were both born on May 1964. Despite its years, this 220 was a pretty good road performer. Everything was working -from its power steering all the way to the doors, that were shutting like a vault. Although its body needed a thorough makeover, you couldn't help admiring how it was designed, assembled and looked after all these years. 

The W111 was made at a time when chrome was abundant and manufacturers were using it aplenty to decorate car bodies or highlight shapes. This is what impressed me the most -that is, how the car looked completely different when stripped out of chrome right before restoration.

Today's cars are manufactured in a completely different manner -perhaps this might be a good reason behind the anonymity and the lookalike syndrome of contemporary vehicles.

The W111 is a major departure from today's design principles. This car wrote a unique chapter in automotive design books. Together with the quality of its components and the sophisticated mechanical solutions it used, the W111 will be remembered as a true Mercedes-Benz car and a representative case of how to clearly differentiate your lineup from competitors.

 ✎ Savas Kalfas, Managing Director, automotohistory.com

 

☆Photography & Project by autobeauty.xyz & Auto Business Review (autobusinessreview.com)

 

The story went exactly like this: the lady with the big round beige hat parked her black 190SL in style. She walked away with complete confidence and left the car behind -although parking is strictly forbidden in downtown Florence!... Everybody rushed to take a photo or two -luckily, I was one of those! It seems that a rare vintage car can bypass the traffic rules of Florence... No offence, a rare 190SL can add drama to the beauty of a romantic city like Florence, therefore, we would definitely forgive that pretty lady and thank her for spicing up our daily life! "Heckflosse" -aka "Fintail" Mercedes-Benz 220

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I caught this cute red 500 hiding in a small street at the port of Genova. Although illegally parked, nobody would complain as the Cinquecento is always welcome! The car's interior is also unique thanks to the unusual shape of the vertical speedometer and gauges.

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I caught this cute red 500 hiding in a small street at the port of Genova. Although illegally parked, nobody would complain as the Cinquecento is always welcome! Henry Ford once said about the black-only Model T production: "You can have any colour of a Model T that you want as long as it's black"... Black should have been standard in all W111s...

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I caught this cute red 500 hiding in a small street at the port of Genova. Although illegally parked, nobody would complain as the Cinquecento is always welcome! To my eyes, that red triggers me like a rampant bull...

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I caught this cute red 500 hiding in a small street at the port of Genova. Although illegally parked, nobody would complain as the Cinquecento is always welcome! These chrome lines... Hmmm...

✓ Check some "before-after" photos of this car's restoration here.