Mercedes 250S SE W108 sedan the welcome fintail successor

22 Мар 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz W108

Mercedes 250S, SE W108: elegance at its best

by Bernd

The 250S, SE W108 series was a change to the fintails. The earlier had followed the philosophy that one caters in variations to the needs of from the taxi driver to the executive. Naturally the taxi did not complain, but the CEO did. The new W108 was not to be anymore with its four-cylinder

The 250 and the later introduced 280 series to be very popular cars not in Germany but also in all major markets. It was not only the design impressed, it was the handling, the interior and above all the quality of the cars made them a popular among the well-heeled. Even if one such a car today, the timeless still does not fail to They have aged and although they do not have the desirable V8 engines, they relatively high prices for a produced sedan, when in condition.

When Friedrich and Paul Bracq, who both in the Wilfert design department, to work on the W111 successor in they knew that the had to go. The designers under Karl regarded them already as a flaw in early 1959 and to change them, but it was too late, as the tools had already been As Bruno Sacco, future of Mercedes design, once in an interview: the fintails should never made it into production. The beautiful W111 had shown how the W111 sedan have looked like, now it was for the to follow that design for the new generation. With its high grille and the vertical headlights the represent an era, where boy and girl could point out this is a Mercedes. If it would been for Paul Bracq, the would have had a different one that looked like the with horizontally positioned But he could not convince his superiors and the team, so the cars still the traditional Mercedes front, they were introduced to the in August 1965.

The final design of the W108 in three steps. Its first still had the higher body of the sedan but already with the of the coupe. Later in 1962 the glass area had evolved something closer to the 600 and in 1963 the form with a lower and body and larger glass was presented. All studies still the 220SE badge at the trunk. The had been to keep the overall of the W111 but improve interior At the end the car was 60 mm (2.36 in) lower and 15 mm (o.59 in) but looked from the outside than its predecessor. While the were identical on both old and new the grille was slightly lower and and the two small chrome stripes to the and right of the grille had disappeared. If it not for the rubber protected redesigned the cars would look the front exactly like the W111 coupe. The rear looked similar too, but taillights with amber glasses and the lack of the small made it look more

Due to convex side windows and more outside positioned the interior width grew by 90 mm in) in the front and 70 mm (2.76 in) in the rear. The single armrest in front was by two thinner separate ones. did not come as standard, but had to be ordered at costs. They were on cars with column-mounted Also a seat cushion be ordered again to offer for a third person up front. For the time, the driver’s seat be adjusted in height with a at the seat’s left side.

The instrument layout was again traditional with two large instruments for speed and various functions and a small one that the clock. A small elegant chrome strip ran along the half of the dashboard. It separated the area” with control for heating and lights from the area which housed the ignition and the two small chromed air which were a carry-over the W111. If a radio was not ordered the was covered with a wooden that also carried a version of the trunk lid’s This badge must been liked, because on a of restored cars equipped radios, it was moved to the glove box

All four doors were with handholds and the two front had large open pockets. In to protect the outer sides of the from premature wear and they had vinyl covered

In the mid 1960s sales of the W111 still healthy, so it was not a lack of that prompted the launch of a new It was more a revision of the previous to have one car body for all car classes.

the new cars were based on the The old engines were enlarged to 2.5 l cu in) by increasing the bore by two mm (0.079 in) and the stroke by six mm (0.24 in). valves and induction passages other changes and the crankshaft was on seven instead of previously bearings. A six-plunger injection replaced the previous two-plunger on the cast-iron block M129 of the 250SE. It was the same one that was in the 230SL and 300SE. In addition, was increased from 1:8.7 to so that power output increase from 120 hp at 4.800 rpm to 150 hp at rpm (all horsepower refers to DIN not SAE The M108 engine of the Mercedes had its compression increased from to 1:9.0 and it was equipped with the Zenith twin-carburetor as the 230S and the version of the 220S. Its power was raised from 110 hp at 5.000 rpm to 130 hp at rpm. Although torque of engines increased slightly, their predecessors they to be revved if the driver wanted to see All Mercedes engines of that were designed that

The Mercedes 250S carburetor delivered 130 hp at 5,400 rpm

The Mercedes engine with its modern injection pump offered 150 hp at rpm

Although the transmission was basically the as on the 220b series, the gear had been adapted to better the characteristics of the updated engines. The could be equipped again a four-speed automatic transmission, found more and more among European buyers. In the end 44 percent of all 250 models produced ordered with it. It was a Daimler-Benz design with a hydraulic instead of the normally used converter. Also an expensive manual transmission could be initially only for the 300SE, but few customers opted for it. But more appreciated the fashionable and easy to floor mounted gearshift, came on all cars as standard It had been an option only on the models.

A rarely ordered were the neck rolls for the seats on this well Mercedes 250S

Mercedes-Benz W108

The suspension was a from the predecessor, with wishbones, coil springs and bar stabilizer at the front and the already outdated single pivot axle at the rear. But the rear had been reinforced and a new hydro-pneumatic spring located above the axle replaced the previous While the old one needed to be adjusted the hydro-pneumatic spring adjusted the level automatically, when the car was in In the US, Daimler-Benz promoted this new feature in 1966 as follows: could load a few cement and stuff the rear seat fat men and the 250’s stern would not The reason: a diabolically clever new triumph, the Hydro-Pneumatic compensating

The cars were designed for and comfortable motoring and the press was of praise about the handling even under adverse Car and Driver found in 1966 the Mercedes 250S: “It is one of man’s perfect mechanical examples”. And wrote: “This suspension a combination of riding comfort and that is the standard for comparison”. promoted foreign imports its inception in 1947, RoadTrack the concept of the new 250 series, but it also that it was vastly different to the Big Three had to offer, so it wrote: “It to the intellect, not the libido”. Daimler-Benz played again with the and classic, compact lines of the and explained under the headline The 250S: why it’s more to end up in a museum than a junkyard: engineers are too busy building machines to bother with and annual face-lifts.(…) Their achievement is the Mercedes 250S recently introduced as a rather competitor in the “luxury” price Unorthodox, because it refuses to to snobs and status-seekers. (…) It tucks garages, weaves through and handles with almost ease.” In the luxury car class, was still an important issue in the so while highlighting its “compact” dimensions for a luxury car, pointed out that the story was a one, once inside the

“You enjoy a shade headroom than in a Lincoln and a shade more shoulder than in an Oldsmobile Toronado”.

1966 car still has the small air outlets. Starting 1967, were enlarged and out of black

In the UK, size comparisons did not matter so so advertisement highlighted the safety of the 250S: “You get more features than with any car on the road. There are 26 in the 250 series, impact absorbing front and body sections, a twin-circuit brake system and ample of all protruding parts.”

Top speed for the 250S was 180 km/h (112 for the manual car. The British Autocar even achieved 187 (116 mph), while in the US stopped an automatic Mercedes at 176 km/h (109 mph). The 250SE was some 10 km/h Both cars suffered high fuel consumption, was noted by several journalists at a time where an energy was still years away. fast it was not unusual for the 250S to use 16 and 20 l/100km (14.7 and 11.7 The 250SE used just one less on average.

At its introduction, the 250S cost without such as power steering, transmission, radio, etc 15,300.- DM ), which made the car 1,550.- DM ) more expensive than the The 250SE cost 16,850.- DM ) without extras. In the US, the 250S $5,750.-  and the 250SE A Cadillac De Ville could be in 1965 for $5,430.-. while a New Yorker cost some Another import, the Jaguar Mk 10, be yours for around $7,000.-. All of came standard with transmission, power steering and in of the American cars, the usual electrical goodies. None of was available on the 250 series as standard but it can be safely assumed that North American Mercedes ordered their cars a minimum of equipment, such as steering and automatic transmission. from 1968, the North versions offered mores specs than their counterparts.

In the beginning the 250 series suffered occasional piston seizures and high oil consumption when fast. These problems had rectified later with piston seals and reduced clearance, but the high fuel and somewhat noisy appearance at speeds remained. Although confidence in Daimler-Benz products did not from this and sales healthy, management knew it was for change. That change was introduced in in form of the 280S and 280SE.

If you to read the whole story of the and how it was to drive those cars in the 1970s, all of it can be read in my e-book the W108 and W109 series. It with over 50 unique pictures, most of them never been published in a before. A two volume printed about all cars Daimler-Benz in the 1960s will appear on around October of this

Mercedes-Benz W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
Mercedes-Benz W108

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