Last post on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:09 AM
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#1829 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 26, 2013 (3:14 am)
I didn't know fintails were fuel-injected, that is indeed neat.
What exactly is the official model number of a fintail? I'll have to ask my old dealer friend if he sold any at his place.
He said they'd get Benz owners from 15 or 25 miles away as they had a good reputation for Benz service--their head mechanic went to South Bend to take Benz classes and was an excellent mechanic (I still see this guy once or twice a year, too--the mechanic). It was a small little dealer in a small, non-suburb town, but the family owned the place for forty-two years--'26 to '68.
#1830 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 26, 2013 (7:39 am)
I guess it is on topic, as Stude dealers also sold fintails for a few years
Most fintails don't have FI, but those with an "SE" badge do, those being the higher models. Fintails are on platforms W110 (190/190D/200/200D/230), W111 (220, 220S, 220SE, 230S), and W112 (300SE). W110 cars are the ones with 2 big round headlights, W111-112 cars will have quad lights or flush Euro units, W112 cars were top of the line models with air suspension. The W111 cars were introduced in 1959, with W110 and W112 cars in 1961. In 1965, the W112 was phased out, the 190 became the 200, 220 series carb cars became 230 cars, and the higher models were moved to the new W108 platform. The coupes starting in 1961 are also W111/112 cars and are considered part of the fintail family - even though they have only little bumps for fins, MB realizing by 1961 that the fin fad had passed. But they kept them on sedans until the very end. Highline fintail sedan production ended in the summer of 1965, lowline cars were made until January 1968, coupes until 1971.
I suspect these cars sold more in small towns than MB does today - as the target market was different. These were mostly not luxurious or flashy cars, tending to attract engineers, doctors, professors, tech buffs, etc - and they weren't terribly expensive.
#1831 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 27, 2013 (3:53 am)
Thanks for the details; I think best thing is to send him a pic! I'll find one online.
He kids me that I know more about Studes than he does, yet he'll correct me on something once in a while and he's right!
He told me once he and his wife brought 'an expensive' (?) M-B back for a customer, from the docks at NYC and it had a column-mounted 4-speed automatic that ended up being troublesome. He also told me he either drove or rode in a gullwing at a dealer show at Seven Springs, PA, and his Dad had a 180 (black with red interior) that he very much enjoyed. I have a pic of it here.
When I was at the archives of the Studebaker National Museum a couple years back, they had very detailed records of retail sale information from Sept. '63 'til the end. I was surprised to see two or three cards showing M-B's traded on new Studes at his dealership in that time period. Back then, I think folks bought the dealership as much as the car.
My friend told me eventually M-B pulled their franchise for low volume, which is understandable in a town that size that had every single other domestic franchise.
I do remember a 190 convertible driven by our high school nurse who was an older lady but quite a character. He did sell her and her husband that car and serviced it. It was a grayish-blue, not unlike your fintail now that I think about it.
Sorry for the lack of detail in my descriptions of the cars...years passing and relaying info others told me might not make them very accurate!
#1832 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 27, 2013 (10:38 am)
I wonder how many old Stude fans have some MB knowledge simply via the old partnership.
An expensive MB with a troublesome automatic would probably be an "Adenauer" car, the large 300 series sedan with kind of baroque/prewar styling, that was made through 1963 but sold in any numbers mostly through 1960 or so. Before MB had its own automatic, it used Borg-Warner units, and I think these weren't the best. I think in 1962, MB introduced their first in-house automatic, the weird fluid coupling unit that my car has. It is not the smoothest and it has weird shift points, but it is very durable - I can't say I have seen a dead one.
There was also a clutchless automatic called a "Hydrak" (hydraulic clutch). These were troublesome, but mostly via user error - you had to lift off while shifting, and not doing so would eventually break the system. Hydrak survivor cars are quite rare today.
I can see period MBs not lasting well in rust belt kind of areas - the cars were poorly rustproofed, and probably would have dissolved on upper midwest/new england roads if not really maintained well (the Germans just sand everything rather than use a lot of salt). Probably some trade ins when the first bubbles appeared.
190SLs are a funny thing - all show and no go. The 4cyl engine is not fast nor smooth, but they are pretty, and for some, a budget 300SL. In the past decade, prices have gone through the roof, the best of the best easily going into 6 figure territory now.
Some pics -
Here's an first series Adenauer:
And a second series (1957+) car, a hardtop that was somewhat striking with the windows down:
There was also a cabrio/phaeton style model:
Very much a prewar style car with its functional landau bars:
And here's a 180 like that guy's dad had:
#1833 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 28, 2013 (10:25 am)
Re-reading my old post, I meant "clutchless manual", of course
On the tire topic, I found a pic of this obviously restored beautiful later (63-65) fintail with correct tires. These are what my car will get. The "automatic" badge is funny - I think it might have been an extra cost option (everything is/was on a MB), as I have seen many automatic cars without it, including my own. Maybe something for Europe of the period, where an automatic was something of a status symbol:
#1835 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 30, 2013 (7:09 am)
A 180 would have came standard with just hubcaps and blackwalls, but the dealer could have upgraded the appearance. The "S" models had the full wheelcovers (actually a 2 piece ring and hubcap until the late 60s).
That's a cool ad, funny to think a lower line Stude and something worth a healthy 6 figures today like a 300SL would have been sold at the same place. I suspect the Adenauer sold to people who liked the baroque-ness of a Rolls, but not the price tag.
#1836 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 30, 2013 (9:02 am)
Before MB had its own automatic, it used Borg-Warner units, and I think these weren't the best. I think in 1962, MB introduced their first in-house automatic, the weird fluid coupling unit that my car has.
Studebaker dealers would not have had any problem servicing the "Borg Warner" automatic transmission because it was the same transmission sold as "Studebaker Automatic Drive" between 1950 and 1956 when Studebaker switched to the Ford automatic transmission and Borg Warner set up production of the same transmission in England where it was also used in Jaguars. Servicing the MB fuel injection system was a bigger problem because that was completely new to the dealers and quite complex to service.
Just think, in 1958 if you wanted to buy a car with painted wheel covers you could go to the Studebaker-Packard-Mercedes Benz dealer where you could buy a Mercedes Benz or a Studebaker Scotsman. I am not knocking the MB painted wheel covers, I think they look good.
#1837 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [jljac]
Jan 30, 2013 (11:05 am)
I wonder if MB chose B-W for the automatic because of the Studebaker link? Were the Stude wheel covers body color?
I have to imagine a mechanic seeing a FI engine for the first time would be taken aback by it a bit - the mechanical FI systems have a lot of plumbing, and the direct injection (300SL, first production car with it) must have seemed like something from the future.
#1838 of 2166 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 30, 2013 (1:22 pm)
I wonder if MB chose B-W for the automatic because of the Studebaker link?
A lot of european cars (Japanese too, I think) used the Borg-Warner automatic for us lazy shiftless (pun intended) Americans, as well as similarly shiftless domestic buyers. I think that Volvo used them at least into the mid-70s and probably even later.