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Meet the Gorgeous 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S Fintail and Owner Belinda Clontz

On the eve of mounting off to 2019 Monterey Car Week in her 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220 S Fintail, Belinda Clontz’s home spate on all three floors. But that was just the start of the roadblocks.

As she prepared her Fintail for a week of revelries at Pebble Beach, Clontz discovered it had a leak from a split differential. In full-swing panic mode, she backed out of the garage to take the 220 S to its mechanic and gate-crashed into the side of a retaining wall. The incident called for an emergency re-chrome of the rear bumper that had to be completed within 24 hours.

On her channel to Monterey, Clontz hit a thick billow of shadow as she drove through a deteriorating artery under construction. And just when she saw life could not get any worse, a monstrous piece of timber fly off the back of a truck, only missing her gondola by a few cases inches. When she ultimately arrived in Monterey, the garage to the house she hired was not available on the first night. Her car had to be parked outside under the swampy ocean mist, causing her to not get much sleep all night.

Clontz describes the experience as “going through hell” to make sure her Fintail got onto the lawn at Fiction of the Autobahn, where she was the only woman showing off a vehicle; interestingly, it also happened to be the 60 th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Fintail. Clontz registered her 220 S into the Class 2 and 4 categories and acquired first place, which formed going through hell worth it. We sat down with her to talk about her heat for Mercedes, and more.

auto traffic exchangeBelinda Clontz

Your devotion to Mercedes-Benz is quite remarkable. What caused your allegiance to the marque?

Belinda Clontz: I have a passion for anything that has to do with women behind the rotation, and Mercedes-Benz is the embodiment of that. When Karl Benz developed the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, his wife Bertha Benz took it out on the road to introduce it to the world. With her two children on board, Bertha drove the Motorwagen for 65 miles to her parent’s house and constructed history as the first person to drive a car for a long-distance. Imagine seeing a woman driving this thing on motors through the countryside by herself–and with babies in tow.

I admire any woman who is willing to do something that no one else has done. Bertha Benz was ahead of her epoch and I consider her a significant pioneer in the creation of the automobile.

How did you first become interested in vehicles?

BC: I grew up in a agricultural part of North Carolina and we didn’t have a lot of presentation, so my daddy cleared off some district and built a go-kart track for me and the neighbors. I was the only girl racing all of the sons in the neighborhood. My uncle Jerry, who lived across the street, toiled at a dealership and came home with a different gondola every day. He’d always be driving the latest autoes and I retain being so excited to see them. From an early age, I known that driving new autoes meant that you had to work hard and that one day I’d be driving one, too.

Why did you are buying your Mercedes-Benz Fintail, and what situation was it in?

BC: I obtained the Mercedes-Benz 220 S for my 40 th birthday sort of as my midlife crisis car. Times before I acquired this 220 S, I had a very scary accident in a two-seater vintage car. After that gondola collision, I demanded a vintage car that I would feel protected in while driving through Los Angeles traffic. When I made delivery of the Fintail, it was in semi-restored shape, and in fairly good overall necessity. Though it was not in the immaculate condition it is now, I could tell that it was well taken care of and adoration by the previous owner.

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Did the vendor include anything cool with the Fintail?

BC: The original owner was so thorough about the maintenance and record hindering that he saved about a two-foot load of documents and acknowledgments, which were included with the car.

Who was the original owned?

BC: My Mercedes-Benz Fintail was previously owned by a gentleman that served in the U.S. Army. Before he was released from service, he pre-ordered this 220 S while he was stationed in Europe. I have the letters of correspondence and shipping documents from when the car was being built in the Stuttgart factory, to its delivery at the Port of Long Beach. This vehicle has depleted its entire life in Southern California, and I am the second owner.

Tell us about the engine and transmission.

BC: The locomotive was completely rebuilt, and it has a four-speed manual transmission with a shifter they announce “four on the tree.” I can tell you that no valet in Los Angeles can park the car because they don’t know how to operate this form of shifter. And let’s face it, most people now don’t drive handbooks. As of right now, the engine has 266,000 miles and is going strong.

That lovely all-red interior though…

BC: The interior was done by the previous proprietor, but I’ve done some modernizes. I bought an entire automobile exactly to pull out the factory A/ C and have it installed in my gondola. I supplemented period redres headrests to the seats, which simply came to see you the limousines and made me more than three years to find.

The front grille boasts a number of interesting medals. Is there one that is more special than the others?

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BC: There is a 250,000 -kilometer badge that was awarded by Mercedes for high mileage. They gifted these buttons to automobiles that have the miles substantiated. I had the paperwork and procured the badge in honor of the original proprietor. It’s my connection to him, and owing to the fact that he framed the miles on the car, I think he’d be proud to see the high-mileage badge on the Fintail’s grille.

Your Fintail has a mount of gloom suns that are rare. How did you find a duo in such decent mode?

BC: Those gloom daybreaks received me. If you employed it out in the universe that you are looking for something, things have a way of meet you. I acquired this set of Marchal 660 Fantastic fog brightness from a highly dear friend who only transactions in Marchal light-headeds, and they are period correct for mobilizing a gondola. The set on my Fintail is rare in terms of rather than simply being cloud daylights that time on, these are installed with sheets that be part of the car’s structure.

Have you granted your 220 S a moniker?

BC: His name is “Finny the Fintail, ” and everyone knows him by “Finny.” People talk to me like Finny is my child and it humors me.

The whitewalls on Finny are super clean. Is your Fintail a garage queen?

BC: It certainly isn’t a daily motorist; however, it does get some sunlight once or twice a week. If I am feeling truly enthusiastic, I drive it five days a week and will go anywhere in Los Angeles.

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Owning any classic auto involves serious faithfulnes. What does it take to own a yield Mercedes?

BC: It takes a adaptable sense of humour, lots of patience, and detect the claim person who works on the particular model you own. Having connections to people who can help you is an integral component of ownership and upkeep of a vintage car.

When I was getting ready for Monterey Car Week, I faced one of my worst panics and stood underneath the car while it was on a promote. I was standing there for over an hour looking for the leakage and it turned out to be the differential. That’s the kind of patience it takes to own an aged car.

Do you ever get your hands dirty and work on your vehicle?

BC: The last epoch I did, I made the engine bay apart and refined everything by hand.

You’ve recently acquired an estate of 20 vintage Mercedes gondolas and a depot full of auto characters …

BC: This particular estate kind of fell into my lap and I couldn’t turn it down. It’s given me an opportunity to do research and learn more about vintage Mercedes gondolas. I’ve been assembling new people through the sales from this possession and it’s been a really fun experience.

What does the Mercedes-Benz Fintail mean to you?

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BC: When the Fintail first came into my self-possession, it intended so much to me because I knew that I bought a car that was cherished and well take better care. But then I did some investigate on the history of Fintails and discovered Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth. They won the 1962 Grand Prix of Argentina in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Fintail and were the first women to ever win that grueling race.

I likewise learned that Mercedes-Benz modeled all of its safety engineering after the W111 chassis, which the Fintail was built on. The Fintail symbolizes more to me now than when I firstly bought it. That gondola is priceless to me.

Who is, to you, the most inspiring figure in the history of Mercedes-Benz?

BC: My love for Mercedes-Benz branches from the fact that it was helped to be founded by the status of women. Bertha Benz concluded so much better in her husband’s Motorwagen that she expended her patrimony money in his business. Although she was not allowed to be named as one of the discoverers at the time, Bertha also contributed to the design and engineering of the Motorwagen. She took the Motorwagen on its firstly measure drive and helped introduce Karl Benz on the map as the inventor of the first vehicle. Her role in the history of Mercedes-Benz is influential and spurs me every time I get out on the road with my Fintail.

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