Coming out of World War II, Mercedes-Benz was well regarded for their high-level vehicles, largely built around the spirit of the 300-Series ‘Adenauer’ cars, including the most expensive car in the world in 1956, the 300Sc cabriolet, which cost roughly $17,000. And, of course, who could forget the astonishingly spacy 300SL Gull Wing sportscar? It cost around $7,000. Chump change compared to the Sc cab, but still the cost of a house for most Americans.
While cars like these maintained the lofty image Mercedes was built on, cashflow was tight. Cars like the 170 helped, offering entry- and mid-level opportunities to customers, but styling was evolving, and these cars looked like pre-war offerings. Mercedes was losing ground and in 1956, the company began developing a much more modernly styled set of cars. This would be the W110, W111, and W112 chassis, upon which the iconic Heckflosse bodies would be affixed. Interestingly, stylists thought the fin would appeal to the American market – of course, by the time the first fintail arrived stateside, tastes were changing and interest in flat decks was coming about. Regardless, the new Mercedes would be stylish, comfortable, safe, and offer the renowned Mercedes build quality people loved.
This 1964 220SEb is a lovely example of the breed with a spectacular history stretching all the way back to Germany. It was bought new by an Air Force general through European delivery. Complete with factory air conditioning, the car comes with a binder about two inches thick containing every piece of paper that ever pertained to the car, including the NATO discount receipt, shipping manifest, bill of lading, US duty inspection, port of entry permit and so on. In 2011, the car was sold from the general’s estate to its second owner, who spent 8-years and $30,000 refurbishing it. Including rebuilding the rear end, touching up the paint (which is mostly original), replacing the dash pad, horn pad, steering wheel, door felt, ignition switch, front seat covers with leather replacements, tires, clutch, alternator, and wood. The third owner, the seller, bought the 220 in 2020 and had it shipped to him from Mississippi and has used it only slightly.