German Fun CAR (Kind OF)
The Mercedes-Benz 350SL (R107) is the Epitome of a fun car – because it Works, when you Wanna have fun.
When you think about buying a second (or third, or whatever) car, just to drive around a bit & have fun doing it and you imagine yourself in a wonderful, red, open, italian sportscar from the 60's – think again. Because all you will get is an expensive hobby, problems in parts modern tools cannot reach and an awful chance to mess up your partnership. On second thoughts, there's a pretty straightforward solution: Buy a Mercedes (as the germans say).
Especially, when you're planning to take a vacation on the road – maybe a visit to good old England. And, as always, there's a chance you'll have a (hopefully minor) breakdown. In an italian car? Have you been to the Highlands? And have you seen an Alfa Romeo garage? Or, the other way round: Imagine yourself in a Jensen CV8 somewhere around Monte Argentario in Italy. Will the mechanic have the right wrench? So, the first question I asked myself when considering buying a "fun car" was: Which one will be reliable enough – and which one is reparable in most parts of the world (focussing on the scenic road areas).
MB 350 SL on the Strada Statale 1 Via Aurelia, near Rapallo, Italy
So, I decided to go with a Mercedes 350 SL, 1973, in ostentatious "ikonengold metallic" (icon gold). Since 2000 it has seen a good part of Italy, France and England. Italian busdrivers went out of the way on the winding roads to mountain villages in the Toscana – shouting out of the window: "Bella Macchina!" And in Cornwall we joined a weekend tour of the Newquay Auto Club to Land's End. To be honest: The car had breakdowns here and there. But the problems were always fixed by some garage in a tiny hamlet. Because (nearly) everybody can repair a wonderful piece of german engineering & craftmanship.
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MB 350 SL and Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super at the Cornish shore.