The Mercedes-Benz ‘Fintail’ models made their appearance in 1958, and survived in design until 1968, which is impressive, as the Fintail look was almost done, stylistically speaking, at the time of their introduction to the German manufacturer’s line. Of all models sporting them, the 1958 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Fintail was considered to be the best of the lot, or the most representative. In addition to its design, which has proven quite durable, as its evidenced by the collector status of the 220SE today, the car featured the very first attempts at crumple zones, by any manufacturer, which are designed to help keep the occupants safe in a car wreck.
While it certainly wasn’t a racer, the 220SE performed admirably, both in handling and performance. Equipped with a small, 2.2-liter six-cylinder that produced 110 horsepower, it could reach the top speed of 105 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in 13 seconds, which was a pretty good number for that type of car at the time. It came with a choice of a four-speed manual, or four-speed automatic transmission, had front disc brakes and an independent suspension featuring swing axles, which made for a safe, pleasant and spirited driving experience.
The 1958 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Fintail has that most recognizable of Mercedes shapes – it is absolutely unmistakable, and thanks to its enduring design and reliability, many of them still exist today.