Just what the doctor prescribed
Mercedes-Benz 200 D (1967, W110)
The perfect tool for that is a Mercedes-Benz W110 'Fintail'– but not just a standard one. For that purpose, I needed one that is more of a statue, a piece of art rather than a car. The sole function of a statue car is its very existence. A halfwit like me should never own one. I'd just end up using it as an everday car, condemning it to a slow but certain death commuting to work on those pothole-filled jokes of roads...damn, it would've looked great in the company garage, stacked between the grey manager Mondeos. But no, its purpose is to make the disciplined owner smile, when he takes it out for some posh vintage car meeting twice year. But for the rest of the year, the owner must show self-control, and spend his time dreaming about those two special days.
The W110 'Fintail' or 'Heckflosse' is by no means a rare car: 628 282 pieces won't make it a statue. In addition, our statue car belongs to the lower class of the Fintail-society, with its 2-litre diesel engine, two optional extras (larger hubcaps and dual-tone horn) and its price of 11 500 Deutsche Marks. The only cheaper Fintail at the time was the 2-litre gasoline version, which was available for 500 Deutsche Marks less. At the top of the Fintail upper class was the 300SE (33 350 DM). Before you raise an eyebrow, I know the 300SE coupe is not W110, but W111, and it doesn't have a fintail. Still, it's called that. Period.
The first series of the W110 was cheaper, with the 190 (9 950 DM) and the 190D (10 450 DM). After four years of production, the 200-series succeeded the 190. While the Deutsch mark was busy inflating, the Fintail was improving. The indicators descended from the bottom of the A-pillar to right under the headlights. Also, the number of crankshaft bearings was increased from three to five, making the idle a lot smoother for the 200 D's.
But this is still not enough to make it a statue. But the condition of this Fintail does the job finally. A bit of dealer-marketing 101: no rust, no body damage, never smoked in...not one lonely cigarette, kept in garage, low mileage, original condition and unrestored. Sounds familiar? You read that, then you check out the car on the spot and the only thing you feel is disappointment. But for once, in the case of this Fintail-statue, it's all true. Too bad it's not for sale. What's even worse: it never will be.
An average company car suffers more wear and tear in a single year, than this Mercedes did in it's whole life. Everything is in or close to original condition. Shiny chromes, rust is non-existent, impeccable lines. The only minor scar in its close to perfect body is on its right side, the fading memory of a close encounter of the Polski Fiat-kind. When I got in, the unmistakable smell of the upholstery, matured for almost half a century simply smacked me in the face and teleported me back to my granny's couch... lovely! And the maturation process was never spiced with tobacco. Whenever I hear that a car is non-smoking, I laugh. But here the owner pulled out the original cigar lighter. It was practically untouched!