The ‘fin tails’ were a whole range of mid range saloons built by Mercedes between 1959 and 1968. They comprised everything from plodding Diesel Taxi cabs to Wonderfully Swift and luxurious 300 SELs with air suspension. Somewhere in the middle came the 220 SE, which in many ways was the best fin tail of the lot? Its injected 2195 cc looked like it had a lot of work to do in these big cars, yes it was such a willing performer that the 220 SE always felt as if it was fairly quick machine. The body shape seemed to age quickly, probably because by the time the car was announced. Yet it had a certain charm, and it was one of the first cars to feature crumple zones or nay kind of serious attention to crash protection. Mercedes were very much in love with swing axles when the 220 was born but like all Fin tails it had to low pivot type which managed to keep the handling in check nicely.
The handsome W111 coupes and cabriolets were based on the Fin tail floor pan and a few Universal Estates were also built by a company in Belgium. The Fin tail survival rate is quite high. This only goes to prove the excellent durability of the design. Not surprisingly given modern trends, the cars are now very collectable.