8 Mercedes-Benz Timeless Icons
300D Adenauer (1951-1957)
This magnificent car is called the W186 but most people know it as the "Adenauer", after Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, who had six of them. It was available as a saloon or a convertible, a limousine version was also available, and as you can see from the picture, it was quite majestic and quite big.
It is powered by a 3 L straight-6 with 113 hp, coupled with either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic.
More than 12,000 units were built but this is a very, very rare car because finding one is difficult, and finding one in good nick is nigh on impossible.
CLK GTR (1997-1998)
This is a big one. I don't even know where to start.
The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR (W297) was a race car made for the FIA GT Championship series in 1997. However, for homologation reasons, Mercedes had to build road legal cars as well. It has a RMR engine layout, which is kinda rare too, and it means the engine was placed just in front of the rear wheels, behind the passenger compartment. It has a 6.9 L V12 with 604 hp and that's a lot. Even more when you consider that the car weighs less than 1.5 tons.
Amazingly, an even more powerful version was made available, the GTR Super Sport, with a 7.3 l V12 developing 655 hp.
Only a handful (30 in total) were made and so it is extremely hard to find, and if you do find one, you're looking at a 7-figure price tag.
190E Cosworth (1982-1993)
One of the most sought after Mercedes classics, the 190E Cosworth was the high performance edition of the W201. It had a 2.3 l 16-valve engine which made 185 hp and 236 torques.
One of the forefathers of the performance ubersaloon and easily one of the most iconic cars ever made by Mercedes-Benz and, unlike anything else on the list, you can actually buy this car for a reasonable amount of money. It's either that or a brand new Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta is going to be cheaper to run, more reliable and easier to live with the 190E, ah well, that's a different story.
600 Grosser (1963-1981)
I only saw this car in the flesh once, in Monaco (pictured), and it is quite a sight. To begin with, it is enormous, bigger and longer than it looks in the pictures.
The 600 Grosser, AKA W100, is an ultra-luxury car and it can be considered the forerunner of the modern Maybach and the successor of the 300 Adenauer. It has a reputation for being favoured by heads of state and dictators. Famous owners include Saddam Hussein, Enver Hoxha, "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Leonid Brezhnev and Mao Zedong. Other notable owners include Rowan Atkinson, Pablo Escobar, Coco Chanel, Eric Clapton and of course, our very own Jeremy Clarkson.
Let's forget about that for a second and let's talk about the car. There are two versions of the 600 Grosser. There's the standard car and the "Pullman", which is basically a long wheel base limousine version. Both are powered by a 6.3 L V8 with 247 hp.
Obviously, this is not a performance car so there's no point talking about my 0-60 time but I was impressed with the fuel tank capacity: 112 litres. That's 29.6 US Gallons.
Range? About 300 yards.
300 SL (1954-1963)
This list includes eight cars and I think it's safe to say that if it only included one, it would have to be this. This is the 300 SL, the one that's got gull wings, and it is easily one of the most iconic coupes ever (a roadster version was also available).
The engine is a 3 L straight 6, coupled with a 4-speed manual, with 215 hp. A sport version was also available, with 240 hp, but that's not the point.
The 300 SL is an automotive legend and it's not meant for speeding or racing because it can't do that anymore. It's too old for that, if we're honest. This is the sort of car you often see at regularity races for classic cars like the Mille Miglia but if you ask me, this is the sort of car you want for cruising on the promenade in Nice.
Only 3,258 were built and if you do find one in good condition, it won't be cheap.
540K "Spezial" Roadster (1936-1940)
This is something else. Every other car on this list looks mundane and common in comparison.
The 540k (code name W29) was introduced at the 1936 Paris Motor Show and it was put on sale as a 2-seater convertible, a 4-seater coupe or even a 7-seater limousine. It redefines the concept of "vintage" and "rare".
It weighs 2.7 tons and it is powered by a 5.4 l straight-8 developing 115 hp. Several different versions and variants were built for a combined total of just 419 units and only a handful of those were roadsters.
Would you like? A 1937 540K (in red) was sold in 2016 (at Sotheby's) for $9.9M.
770 W150 (1930-1943)
Its official name was W150, but most call it the Mercedes 700 Grosser and it is probably best known for being used by high-ranking Nazi officials like Göring, Himmler, Heydrich and Hitler himself.
This ginormous vehicle (6 metres in length) was released in 1938 as an upgrade from the previous W07 model. The all-new chassis had independent suspension and hydraulic brakes it was powered by 7.6 l straight-8 with 155 bhp.
Only 205 units were built, that's including the W07, and only a few survived until today. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to find one on the road because A, they're all carefully displayed in museums all around the world and B, they are rarely owned by private individuals.
I know that some might say this car isn't worthy of being here but bear with me.
There are several crucial reasons why the S-Class is such an important car. It defined and created a new segment for itself. When it came along in 1972 it occupied the gap between standard high-end saloons and the Rolls-Royces and the Bentleys. Over the years, the S-Class has introduced and pioneered a plethora of safety features and innovations that no-one else had ever used before on a production car (seatbelt pretensioner, ABS, etc...)
So far, six generations have been produced and millions, plural, S-Class models have been sold and that, if you consider what kind of car this is and how much it costs, is uncanny.