1963 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Coupe

In the late 1950’s, Mercedes-Benz began replacing its ageing Ponton sedans, coupes and cabriolets with an all new car that was known internally as the W110/W111. This new series of mid-range cars quickly became known as Heckflosse - German for “fintail”. As the nickname implies, Heckflosse sedans featured prominent tail fins, a clear concession to the American market where Mercedes-Benz was working hard to expand. Engines ranged from a 1.9L 4-cylinder to a 3.0L six cylinder, and chassis were offered with conventional springs or air suspension and varying wheelbases. Coupe and cabriolet versions debuted in 1960, sharing a similar front end design with their stable mates, except the flamboyant fins were drastically toned down, gaining a much more graceful and subtle treatment. The coupe featured a distinct c-pillar design with a steeply raked, wraparound rear screen and a pillarless greenhouse that gave an open and handsome look, particularly with all of the windows down. Full seating for four and a large trunk made it the perfect choice for touring the continent in subdued style. This design proved successful enough to outlive the Heckflosse sedan by a full six years and inspire the design of the next generation of Mercedes sedans, the W108/109. W111 Coupes and Cabriolets remained in production until 1971 and are among the most highly collectible regular production Mercedes-Benz cars.

This 1963 220SE Coupe is an attractive and very usable example of Mercedes-Benz’s elegant coupe. It started life as a 220SE but was subsequently upgraded to 250SE specification, gaining a bit of extra power and refinement in the process. The body looks smart in its subtle two-tone silver-gray paint scheme and is equipped with a desirable factory sunroof. The body shell is straight and solid with very good panel fit, and only a few minor blemishes can be found, which hardly detract from the charm of this otherwise very handsome automobile. Chrome exterior trim is very nice all around, in keeping with the honest and presentable nature of this car. The black leather upholstery is warm and inviting with a fantastic, freshly broken-in feel. Gray carpets lift the interior just the right amount, tying it in perfectly with the exterior color scheme. The wood trim is all in very original condition with pleasing luster and just a bit of age-appropriate wear. An original Becker Mexico radio sits proudly in the dash. Koolmeister air conditioning is also featured, keeping occupants comfy on warmer days. Under rests the nicely presented 2.5 liter inline-six with mechanical fuel injection. The engine bay is tidy and unpretentious, obviously well maintained but not fussy or overwrought. These engines are built to run forever and are reliable, sturdy and refined. Along with the upgrade to the 250 engine, a floor shift automatic gearbox was also fitted, further refining the drivability while still maintaining a factory feel. Tidy, honest and enhanced for additional performance, this is a very pleasing and usable car. It was one of Mercedes-Benz’s most handsome and luxurious offerings of the period. For enthusiasts looking to enjoy a classic Mercedes on a regular basis, this is a sure bet for many miles of enjoyable motoring.

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