Collecting Cars

1966 MERCEDES-BENZ (W110) 230 'FINTAIL'

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This Mercedes 230 is a highly original example of the marque’s handsome W110-generation ‘Fintail’ executive car, presented in good running order. It is powered by a 2.3-litre ‘M180’ straight-six engine, producing around 103bhp, driving the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission. The odometer indicates 76,312km (47,418 miles) from new.

Originally introduced in 1961 as a more affordable version of Mercedes-Benz W111-series cars, W110 models featured a shorter bonnet and round headlights, as well as initially only being offered with four-cylinder engines. However, in 1965 the W110 entered its second series and was offered with a 2.3-litre inline-six, as seen in this example – giving the previously economical car an increase in both power and refinement.

The chassis code confirms this is an original right-hand-drive example, despite having a kilometre speedometer. It was first registered to a member of the British armed forces stationed in Germany in 1966, who subsequently brought the car back to the UK with him in 1969, and owned it until 1970. There are just five previous registered keepers on the log book, and the seller acquired the car four years ago.

Overall, the car’s bodywork is in good condition, and it appears to be a straight and solid example. The seller notes it previously had minor damage to the front end from a low-speed impact with a garage wall. The black paint generally presents well, and while there are various marks and blemishes across its surface, but it looks smart for a 54-year-old unrestored car.

All of the chrome trims and badging is also present, including the eye-catching strips that run across the W110’s signature tail fins. The brightwork is showing some signs of corrosion and the chrome has flaked away on the driver’s side of the rear bumper, with surface corrosion now visible.

The car rides on its correct 13-inch steel wheels with chrome rings and hub caps. Their painted finishes are starting to perish, and the nearside front item is a non-matching colour, so they would certainly benefit from refurbishment.

Turning to the interior, the cabin is in fair condition, but appears to sport its original upholstery. There is light blue vinyl covering the dashboard, door cards and the seats’ backs and bolsters, while the centres and headrests are upholstered in chequered cloth. Small scuffs and marks are present in various places, and there are more noticeable stains across the back seat bench and the parcel shelf. The driver’s seat shows the most visible wear, with tears in the stitching and holes in the seat base panels. There is also a small hole in the rear bench cover.

There is fading caused by sun exposure on the dashboard top panel, and some minor damage to the trim where it meets the base of the windscreen. The original steering wheel is still fitted and is in fair condition, with some small scratches in the finish and a surface crack on the left-hand horizontal spoke. The seller reports that all of the original interior knobs and sliders work as they should, though the wiper motor is in need of replacement.

Mechanically, this W110 230 is in good running order, although the vendor states that it would benefit from some general fine tuning. It was last serviced by Gleam Cars of West Sussex on 17 May 2019 at 76,194km, with the engine oil, oil filter and air filter being replaced, as well as the carburettor.

Its last MOT test was conducted in February 2019 at 76,133km, which it passed after a dipped-beam headlight fault was repaired. Advisory notices were issued for perished rear exhaust mounts, a minor oil leak from the transmission, wear and cracking on all four tyres, and general underbody surface corrosion.

This Mercedes-Benz W110 230 ‘Fintail’ is an elegant European classic that can transport a family of four in comfort and style. It is an original and honest example of a sophisticated 1960s saloon car, which would be a great project for a passionate enthusiast to gradually restore or refurbish. Of course, it can be used and enjoyed as-is in the meantime, providing a charming way to travel.

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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