Introduced at the 1959 Frankfurt Auto Show, the 220 SB saloon was the advanced guard of a series of three six-cylinder (W111) models that were among the most successful for Mercedes Benz during the early to mid-Sixties.

Sharing the 220’s body style were a coupe and convertible. These two variations were displayed in prototype format only initially, as they were not scheduled to go in to production till 1961, while the saloon was already in production by 1960.

The consistnetly ultra-conservative design department at Mercedes Benz obviously had their eye on expanding their market in the United States, broke with tradition by adding a set of restrained tail fins to the 220’s rear.

Not everyone appreciated the idea, and pretty soon the 220SE saloon was being better under its nickname: the Heckflosse (Fintail).

Powered by an overhead-camshaft six-cylinder engine 2195 cc engine capable of generating 110 bhp, the Mercedes-Benz 220SE could reach a top speed of around 96mph (115km/h) making it the fastest entry-level sedan ever to come out of Stuttgart.

Simply designed, with the possible exception of the not so well received “ mini” tail fins, the 229SE Sedan also boasted an interior trim that was a mixture of elegance and opulence, with the cabin enlarged and the glass area increased to improve visibility.

Add to that the vehicle was fitted with all the latest technological advances available during the early Sixties, more than the buyer could realistically expect to find, made the 220SE Sedan one the most in-demand sedans in Europe during the Sixties.

Continuing a trend adopted by the company in the Fifties, Mercedes Benz invested a lot of thought and resources in improving passenger safety the incorporation of the front and rear crumple zones regarded at the time as a significant milestone in increasing automotive security.

Although the coupe and convertible versions of the Mercedes 220 series were the principal recipients of praise for their panache, the sedan was the major commercial success, selling more than 300,000 models during its eight-year production run.

Back to the homepage- and don't spare the horsepower.