This six page pamphlet was offered to US servicemen in Germany. It was in the collection of Jim Portteus of Linton, Indiana because his father bought a 1959 Type 220S sedan while stationed there.
Hartwig Mueller, a Mercedes-Benz salesman in Bremerhaven, Germany from 1956 until 1964, recalls some of the details of the Sindelfingen-based Daimler-Benz factory offering the US forces special deals on new cars. He writes about it here:
US servicemen coming to Bremerhaven were mostly officers. I don't remember one NCO (non-commissioned officer). Mostly younger people, Ensigns, 2nd or 1st Lieutenants, Captains, Majors and very few higher ranking officers. My customer with the highest rank was a Captain US Navy, in this case Cyril K. Wildman, from Monmouth Beach, N.J. He ordered, within four years, three new Mercedes (Type 220a, 220S and 220Sb). I remember fabulous dinner-evenings on board the big US Troup-Transporters "USS Darby", "Maurice Rose", "Patch", "Buckner", "Randall."
Within five years the model mix was 40 % Type 220a and exactly the same rate for the Type 220 S/SE. The rest were Type 180, 180 a, 219, 190, one 190 Diesel (sold to Lt. Dr. Magidson, as I remember), and 190 SL.
Our American friends - together with the order form - had to make a down payment of US $ 250 by check. Mostly, as I remember, "Bank of America" and "Chase Manhattan" forms. They had to wait a maximum of three months for their vehicles. At that time, German customers - for some popular models - had to wait up to 28 months after placing their orders. The delivery time for the 190 SL, I remember, for German customers took about a year. The waiting time for the Type 220a or 220S/SE was exactly 19 months. German customers were not forced to give any down payment. So, there came many bad letters to the Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim Hauptverwaltung from Germans who had heard about the "privilege" of US servicemen.
The cars came in US equipment (sealed beam headlights and a two-plated windscreen) plus, of course, instruments in US miles. Price: DM 172,--. About 99 % of our American friends ordered AC (air conditioning) and the famous Becker Mexico radio. AC in Germany at that time was almost unknown. No American could understand this. A lot of people - in addition - ordered a can of original paint with the car. Not to forget reclining seats and leather upholstery. Oh yes, whitewall tires, too. I also remember that to the U.S. equipment, there belonged red instead amber blinker lights at the rear. And as an accessory, most U.S. people ordered the white steering wheel. A lot of our American customers picked up their car in Sindelfingen to drive it to Bremerhaven for transporting it to the U.S.
The freight for a Type 219 sedan (Bremerhaven to N.Y.) was $198. For a 220S, it was $203 at that time. Insurance 1,5 % of list price. These sums are from 1959. The Armed Forces price for a Type 190 was DM (German Marks) 8.978,-- and for a 190 Diesel DM 9.452,50. The exchange rate for 1 U.S. Dollar was DM 4.20 at that time.
- Hartwig Mueller / September 28, 2003
Created September 27, 2003 / Jeff Miller
Thanks to Jim Portteus and Hartwig Mueller