Sometimes driving slow can be a cool thing, and there are few vehicles better for it than the 220SE.
The 220SE Coupe followed Mercedes' production of a four-door sedan with the same chassis and six cylinder, M180 engine in an effort to catch a market wanting to differentiate themselves in a more costly vehicle. As such, the 220SE carries added chrome, upgrades in wheel detailing, and a more luxurious interior than its predecessors.
Amid a lack of speed limits (Autobahn) and the growing number of vehicles on the road, these automobiles introduced safety, alongside performance and luxury, as legitimate design concepts to the automobiling world. Indeed, the 220SE designers focused more on luxury than performance, and these W111 models introduced front and rear crumple zones, seat belts, and later, disc braking systems. The resulting large, heavy frame limited top speeds from reaching higher performing levels, though they are more than capable of cruising with traffic at speed today.
The Mercedes W111 220SE, has a royal feel to it, and a slow stance carrying it that smacks of pedigree. The wood veneer dash, black paint under chrome lines, and what come across as evolutionary remnants of fins* make this coupe a model example of 60's Mercedes Benz automobile philosophy. Some of our favorite aspects of this particular automobile are the mathematically precise dash mechanicals, the chrome double bumpers, and the icing on every bit of the cake, a gorgeous, off-white and ivory steering wheel.
The Mercedes Benz W111 models feature design work by Paul Bracq, who was actually a French born designer and illustrator. This isn't just fun historical trivia. What is so amazing about Bracq is that not only did he design such a stately vehicle as the 220SE, but a decade later, he went on to design the BMW E25 Turbo. Talk about some serious creative power.
*Though subdued compared to American and even earlier German iterations, Mercedes enthusiasts at the time promptly nicknamed these vehicles Heckflosse, or Tailfin cars.