Rare 1968 Mercedes IMA Universal 200D Heckflosse Wagon

An uncommon buying opportunity for the vintage wagon lover. This Mercedes isn’t the most visually stimulating car for the untrained eye with the relatively plain front end looks of a W110 chassis Benz and beige paint. The knowledgeable Benz aficionado will immediately recognize the rarity of the vehicle. Mercedes now has a great tradition of building wagons that have grown to cult following status. The W110 chassis fintails converted by Belgian firm IMA were some of the very first.

Update 12.11.2011 – Unfortunately this listing has been ended before we could finish authoring this post. -dc

This two owner car has covered 107,000 miles and is fairly original condition. It was repainted in the 1980s in a slightly different shade than the original. If the car still had its original paint I bet we could’ve seen the price on this go sky high. Even with the repaint though the rest of the car shows great originality and has good service records, and even a Mercedes Universal parts catalog.

I’ve seen some varying figures on the production numbers of the Universal wagons. The seller is claiming this is one of two from 1968, the other being in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. The seller states that less than 30 Universals survive¬† of 300 built in 1966-1967, which definitely needs the old “citation needed” attached to it. I’ve seen numbers given higher than that and most certainly higher if you consider models built in 1965 as well. Regardless of what the actual number is, this is a rare car.

The conversion is not some hack job. These were well thought out and produced. The new design took into consideration the fintail profile and made sure not to lose that identifying feature.  The wood load floor in the back with cargo sliders significantly upped the practicality of owning a Benz sedan. The slick split fold flat seats with a third row bench are the type of features that you see advertised today in SUV and minivan ads like they are new inventions.

The car shows use and expected wear, just the right amount. A new owner could restore it to trailer queen status with an all the way re -freshening or leave it as is. If it had original paint the choice would obviously be leave it alone.

Mechanically things seem to all be in order. The 2 liter diesel has legendary reliability status and if something does need fixing it would not be a huge challenge. A four speed automatic should also provide trouble free stately transportation.

The auction has no reserve so we are going to be able to see what the market says about price. The auction is already heading towards $11,000 with plenty of bidding. Seeing twice that will not surprise me at all. If the Von Trapp family were 30 years younger I can easily see them picnicking in the Alps with this ride.

1968 Mercedes I200D Heckflosse Wagon on eBay

~Evan

1965 Mercedes-Benz 220Sb

Mercedes-Benz was never one to give into styling fads until the last decade or so. However, the craze for tailfins in the 1950s led the styling team of the Stuttgart firm to introduce the fintail, or Heckflosse in German. These sedans were a restrained, German interpretation of a popular styling element that would last well past the tail fin craze left the US. The last Heckflosse left the factory in January 1968. Here is a clean, dual carburetor 220Sb outside of Washington, D.C. for sale.

The seller states:

1965 Mercedes Benz 220SB, 6 cylinder engine, automatic transmission. Always garaged, second owner. Original paint, great condition, compression is good, new stock transmission, all new brake lines, Original miles. Have maintenance records dating back 10 years, original books and man

While at the Mercedes-Benz Club June Jamboree in 2006, I remember running into a non-fintail 250S sedan in a similar gray on red color combination. I simply love the contrast of these period correct hues.

Incidentally, a few years before I came along, my father drove a 1967 230S, which was the final evolution of the Heckflosse, with a revised 2.3 liter, twin carb M108 six cylinder. It was black over parchment, with a 4 speed manual on the floor. We still have plenty of pictures of this car, one of which I sent to Mercedes-Benz for use in their ad campaign a few years ago “No One Ever Poses With Their Toaster.” You can see my father and his friends similar ’67 230S in white at 0:30 in the following video:

-Paul

Trio of vintage Mercedes 200 W110 fintails

The W110 fintail Mercedes Benz models fit our budget theme week just fine. These cars have great lines and will give you plenty of looks on the road or at a car show. The 2 liter engines, whether gas or diesel, are bullet proof and can easily be put into daily driver service. They can get you 30+ MPG too. The Heckflosse models have quite a fan base so finding advise on repairs and getting help with parts will not be too difficult for someone new to the breed. Here are three examples that could use a little love. If you budget $5000 for each of these you should be able to get the car and have plenty left over to get a start on priority fixes on each.

The good on this one is that the current owner says he drives every day 26 miles so mechanically it is all ready to go. The bad is that the owner says it could use some paint and floor pans. Paint is no problem, but floor pans could be a bit scary as it means there is other rust elsewhere. Interior looks ok and the manual makes it a bit more exciting to drive. The current owner mentioned that he considered painting the car pink for his daughter, if you buy this car, please don’t do that. Buy-It-Now is $3500.

Here is a gas version with the manual. The interior looks to be in nice shape, the white rim steering wheel is classy. The exterior could use some paint. The seller states that there is some rust, not surprising considering the car is located in Minneapolis. Ask price is $2900 and I’d be surprised to see any bids at that, I bet it can be had for less.

This one also needs some love. The owner says it has a fairly new paint job, but clearly they did very little prep work when doing the paint because you can see rust bubbles and rust streaks popping up in several places. The car some dents that could use attention. The red interior looks nice, but the dash and wood could use help. I’d yank out that ugly modern radio and replace it with a classic Becker or at least something that is visually more pleasing. All the original manuals are included. Reserve is not met at $1550.

~Evan