How Well Does the Sixties-Era Mercedes-Benz 220SE “Fintail” Fit a 21st-Century Giant?

Senior editor and tall dude Will Sabel Courtney dives inside the classic luxury car to find out.

byWill Sabel Courtney|

The average height for an adult American male back in the 1960s, according to a 2002 study by the National Center for Health Statistics, stood 5-foot-8-inches tall. That's roughly an inch and a half shorter than the average Joe Sixpack in the modern era; more to the point, however, that's a full eight inches shorter than your humble author. As I've noted before

in various modern cars, fitting into the backseats of cars can be a bit of a challenge for someone with a 36-inch inseam, especially when trying to "sit behind myself"—that is, to sit behind a driver's seat set to where I prefer it to be. An older car—specifically, the Sixties-era Mercedes-Benz 220SE "Fintail" that Mercedes hauled out for journalists to putter around in during the recent European test drive for the face-lifted 2018 S-Class—might well prove to be even more challenging to my yard-long legs. 

Nevertheless, I held some hopes that I'd still be able to squeeze onto the aft bench of the Fintail without much trouble. After all, the W111 is one of the progenitors of the modern-day Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car that boats enough rear legroom in long-wheelbase form to accommodate Kareem Abdul-Jabar. And it's not as though tall people didn't exist during the 1960s; hey, Lyndon Johnson was six-foot-four, and you can bet the carmakers of his day didn't want to see LBJ bitching about their back seats in the papers. 

So how was it? Well, I'm not gonna spoil it. You're just gonna have to watch the video to find out. 

Stay tuned for a full first drive review of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, coming later this week.