Following world war II Daimler-Benz was nearly non-existent, making fewer than 250 automobiles in 1946. A decade later the company had recovered significantly and was seeking broader markets, especially those in other European countries and the United States. This is the environment from which the Fintail was born in 1959.
The first models borrowed heavily from the Ponton series, utilizing much the same engine and chassis technology. However, the company also incorporated some of the 300SL’s suspension characteristics which provided the Fintail with extraordinary handling. By 1962 the lineup had expanded to include both lower-end diesels higher-end sedans. The cars also sported innovations in safety developed from extensive crash-testing. Many current standard features such as crumple zones, four-wheel disc brakes and retractable seat belts were first included in the Fintail package.
While maintaining its legendary engineering prowess, Daimler-Benz also took a page from the American body-styling book, creating a ‘fintail’ design that gave the car its nickname. It appealed to car buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. The look is iconic and still popular today. Fintails are surprisingly affordable with some models selling for as little as $5000 dollars and the more desirable editions bringing upwards of $25,000. But, as any owner of one these beauties can tell you, getting spare parts can be a challenge. While many internet sites selling after-market items exist, original equipment is difficult to find.
By the time the last Fintails were built in 1971 they had paved the way for what has become the Mercedes tradition of creating safe, attractive, high-performing sedans and coupes.