This 1965 Mercedes-Benz 190c Automatic is among the last production examples of the 190 “Fin-Back” sedans. This automobile was initially owned by William V. O’Regan, a highly decorated US Navy Vice Admiral who commanded a submarine squadron in the Pacific in World War II and a division of heavy cruisers during the Korean Conflict. He and his wife took delivery of their new 190c sedan at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim. Presented in all original and unrestored condition, this automobile has been in the O’Regan family since new. Their other Mercedes-Benz, a 1962 190 SL Coupe, is also being offered for sale at this auction.
This 1965 Mercedes-Benz 190c Automatic Sedan was originally purchased by Retired Vice Admiral William V. O’Regan. Admiral O’Regan was a decorated US Naval veteran who commanded a highly successful submarine squadron in the Pacific in World War II. During the Korean Conflict, Admiral O’Regan commanded a division of heavy cruisers off the coast of North Korea. For his service to the US Navy, Admiral O’Regan was awarded the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit and his unit received the Presidential Unit Citation. He retired from the Navy in 1958. The O’Regans took delivery of their 190c on June 25, 1965 at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim, West Germany. They toured Europe for approximately two months before delivering this automobile to Bremerhaven, West Germany. The 190c was then loaded on the SS Carmen and shipped to San Francisco. The O’Regans and their 190c lived in Los Altos, California, and Ms. O’Regan appears to have done most of the driving while the Admiral concentrated on the family 190 SL. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1958, the Admiral took on a Professorship in the Math Department of San Jose City College. His service to the Navy did not end with his retirement however as evidenced by the 190c having a sticker on the rear bumper which granted him access to Moffett Field Naval Air Station. The sticker, incidentally, contains three stars as befits a Vice Admiral. The Admiral’s son, Joseph E. O’Regan of Sunnyvale, California, inherited this automobile in 1979 following the death of his father.
“The fin-back’s body/chassis was completely new, with emphasis on safety, visibility and space. Before regulations required it, these were the first Mercedes-Benz cars to be crash-tested.”Frank Barrett, Mercedes-Benz Buyers Guide, Motorbooks International, 1994.
In 2015 this Mercedes-Benz 190c Sedan, as well as the O’Regan’s 190 SL Coupe, were discovered and purchased from Joseph O’Regan by the current owner. The cars were both in long-term storage and are presented in “garage find” condition. Importantly, please note that this 190c sedan is not currently in running condition. At some point the oil pump experienced a failure, and this caused the engine to fail as well. Joseph O’Regan purchased a new old stock (NOS) complete short engine block (with a sealed tag indicating a 1964 build date) as well as a new oil pump in 1981. However the repair work has never been done, and the complete short engine block remains carefully wrapped in its original factory shipping crate to this day. These NOS parts come with the automobile. This 190c Automatic Sedan is a black plate California car that is in original and unrestored condition with original paint and original red MB Tex interior. There is a dent in the right front fender and surface rust on the rear just below the trunk lid. The odometer currently shows 61,832 miles, and there are multiple original service stickers on the driver’s door jam. Optional equipment on this 190c Automatic includes factory air conditioning and a Becker Europa four-band radio. An original Mercedes-Benz European delivery badge is affixed to the front radiator grille.
Mercedes-Benz introduced the all-new 110 sedan chassis in 1961 and fitted it with a variety of engines over the next eight years. These automobiles are collectively referred to as the “fin-back” sedans to distinguish them from the preceding “pontoon” design. In the interests of passenger safety, the 110 chassis was the first Mercedes-Benz to be crash tested as part of its design process. Visibility is excellent thanks to vast amounts of glass in its green house. Later examples have disc brakes in front. An additional safety feature is the large pad in the center of the steering wheel. These were uncomplicated and dependable automobiles, and they proved to be sales success. The Mercedes-Benz 190c Automatic Sedan was made from 1961 to 1965, and by the time production of this model ended, a total of 130,554 had left the factory gates.
This 1965 Mercedes-Benz 190c sedan has been in the same family since new and includes original ownership by a highly decorated US Navy Vice Admiral. It is among the last production examples of the 190 “Fin-Back” sedans and is a California, black plate automobile. Presented in original and unrestored condition, this automobile is not in running condition at this time. Never-the-less, good “fin-backs” are hard to find, and this one does represent a rare opportunity to purchase a very collectible Mercedes-Benz sedan from the era of the 1960’s.John Kleen, Vintage Consultant