Thursday, March 2, 2017

Classy little Heckflosse in Hellblau

Under the elevated BQE near Greenpoint sat this lovely little saloon. Over the years I have found some unbelievable cars in this stretch of parking spaces. I know from experience that you can basically park a car under the highway forever with little chance of a ticket or a tow.
This dapper ride is a 1963-1965 Mercedes-Benz 190D in Hellblau (that's Light Blue to you heathens). Even crouched in the grimy shadows and covered in dust it is classy as hell.
The 190 was really a shortened version of the 220 series. As a result of the smaller outside dimensions combined with the same generous interior these were enormously popular as taxicabs around the world.
I love this detail of the chrome outlined fresh air intake and the outward swinging wipers. The roof is tall enough to wear a Mad Men style hat comfortably.
These are hardy well built beasts meant to soldier on indefinitely with regular maintenance. Quality of construction was excellent from the body panels to the drivetrain. When you consider that German auto production at the time consisted of the no frills Volkswagen and still primitive Porsche it's irrefutable that Mercedes produced the countrys most luxurious vehicles.
Those turn signals are the key in discerning the vintage on these rides. In 1961 there were none on the front panel at all; only the top fender mounted units did the job (you often see large free standing fog lights mounted from the bumper between the headlights and the grill on '61s which look like turn signals but aren't). In 1962 small round turn signals were located where these larger units are.
Look how freaking classy these fender mounted turn signals are! Before 1963 the mirrors were mounted directly on top of them. This antenna placement is curious as most seem to be located on the other side of the car. This ride has an antenna mounting point on the passenger side too. Perhaps this is an aftermarket addition? Was one of the fenders replaced so that it ended up with two? Who knows.
The body colored hubcaps really complete the tailored outfit this thing is wearing. M-B would continue this on through the 1980s. The tires look to be in great condition and fully inflated. I got the impression that you could jump in this ride and drive away on the spot.
Look at that fat glazed donut!
The steering wheel and gearshift end are made of an ivory colored plastic material. I can see one small crack at the 4:30 mark but that's it which is remarkable for a car of this vintage. I'm guessing this car wasn't driven a ton.
You can just glimpse the 3 pedals that means this is a 3 on the tree manual shift car. The speedometer is vertical which continued on into the 1970s. M-B didn't offer air conditioning in this era but many dealers installed units in new cars before selling them. When equipped there is a large a/c unit hanging under the dash.
The wrap-around rear window provides excellent visibility. There is only the slightest evidence of rust bubbling under a piece of trim in the front. These mint quarter panels are amazing. The rear bumper looks to either be a replacement or re-chromed as it outshines the front 2 to 1.
The D stands for diesel. In this case we're talking about a 2 liter inline 4 cylinder engine. These cars are famously underpowered even with the manual. However with the amazing fuel efficiency of the diesel and the popularity with taxi drivers the D outsold the gas powered 190C by about 100,000 cars.
There's a trailer hitch on this ride!
This era Mercedes is known throughout the world as the Heckflosse or Finback due to its small pointed fins. Reverse lights are built into the taillights even though they weren't legally required when production began. Check out that stylish accent line that starts at the front of the rear wheel well and trails straight back to the rear of the quarter panel. Classy classy classy!
Well that's where I'll leave this well dressed beauty sitting politely among the younger rides. These cars are about as timeless as it gets and thousands are still used as daily drivers today. They are very straightforward and easy to work on and dead reliable when given basic maintenance. This is the sort of ride you might pick up from somebody in running condition for under $10,000. Tune it up, lube up the chassis,give it a polish, and you would be welcome anywhere. Pulling up to the fanciest restaurant or poshest estate in this ride would get you smiles and nods every time.

1 comment:

  1. I hate seeing this sitting exposed, what a fine car!