Introduced in mid 1959, the Mercedes-Benz W111 `fintail' series was a natural progression from the 220 Pontoon - the first Mercedes range to feature unitary construction. The earlier car's all independent suspension and straight-six engine were also carried over. The new models were, however, much bigger inside and out and sported a far greater abundance of brightwork - not to mention the distinctive finned rear wings which spawned the model's `fintail' nickname. Such features were intended to appeal to the American market of the time, whose Cadillacs and Buicks were similarly adorned.
Via the W111 'fintail' series, Mercedes continued its practice of offering special two-door coupe or cabriolet versions of its saloon cars, and the 220SEB took this supreme elegance to a whole new level. Based on the flagship S-class W111 'fintail' saloon, with its signature upright headlights and imposing traditional Mercedes-Benz grille, the coupe comprised a light and airy pillarless glasshouse over a distinctive two-door body. The 220 coupe was very well appointed inside, featuring Mercedes textured leather and wood trimmings. The model's 2195cc, SOHC engine employed mechanical fuel injection of the same type as the 'Pagoda' SLs - its 120bhp being sufficient to propel the car at up to 106mph. The suspension comprised wishbones and coil springs at the front and low-pivot swing-axles with radius arms and coil springs at the rear. The resulting ride was very statesmanlike. A total of some 14,173 220SEB coupes were built between 1961 and 1965 when the run was terminated.
The original right-hand drive coupe offered was first registered in the UK in 1964. It has the rare four-speed manual transmission and the vendor describes the car's engine, gearbox, electrics, interior and body as "very good". The current owner bought the 220SEB in a previous H&H sale and has used it as a display vehicle during the launch of a Mercedes-Benz service centre. Prior to his purchase it had been restored by long-established London classic car specialist Frank Dale & Stepsons. The bodywork was repainted in its original hue of blue and the interior retrimmed in new perforated cream leather; as per the original but this time piped in blue. The woodwork was refinished by one of Frank Dale's trusted specialists.
Few cars are so evocative of a particular era of motoring as these hand built Benzes. They were destined for stardom from birth and this pretty example provides a rare opportunity to acquire a true post war automotive icon - what better way to arrive at one of Goodwood's classic events?
Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions
Mercedes-Benz 1964 220 SEB Coupe
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