Why old Benzes are the best Benzes

13w ago


I mean, look at it... The car shown above is a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280s with a 2.8 litre inline-six and a four-on-the-floor manual gearbox. It takes 19.5 seconds to reach 100kp/h, it weighs around half a million tonnes and it drives like a cross-channel ferry. But all of those things don't matter a singe bit, because this car is special. Not because of it's gorgeous looks, smooth engine or three-pointed-star-allure, but because it's mine.

I've owned the Benz since the end of 2016, I didn't even finish my driving lessons yet by then. I bought it from a man who claimed that his new car, a bright red Hyundai i10, was better in every single way. He was right. The white beauty had some minor issues, like rust holes so big you could use them to enter the car or a throttle pedal that was more like an on-off switch. He continued to list problems with the car until I asked him if the car was drivable, he said yes. He was right yet again. As long as you didn't plan on using the engine or gearbox and didn't mind being deaf for the rest of your life, you were fine. Apart from these small inconveniences, and the ones that arose in the following nine months of repairing it, the car was in great shape.

But, I didn't write this article to talk about the problems and negatives of these chique sedans. I wrote this to show you, dear reader, the beauty of the German star-sedans. Which I will now do.

Let's begin with the looks. Untill recently (end of the nineties) Mercedes-Benz wanted all of their luxury sedans to look and feel as elegant as they could ever make them. But, they also wanted give you the option to be discreet. They did this by making all of the different trims of the then-current S-Class model look exactly the same on the outside. To explain, my car is a bottom of the line 280s, which means it has a 2.8 litre six-banger and a four speed manual. But from the outside you couldn't tell the difference between a white 280s and a white 300 SEL, which featured the famed 6.3 litre V8. This styling technique became the base formula for the next five or so S-Class generations. This meant that it didn't matter if you were a small-town cigarette factory owner with a 280 or an international dictator of some well-known eastern European country with a 300, you were still on the same swag-level as one another.

Then, the noises they make. Apart from the engines that produce a super smooth six-cylinder sound or a luxury V8 rumble, plenty of ear-pleasing sounds come from these cars. Every single button you press, twist or pull makes a satisfying click. The indicator sound is very quiet and polite, like the car is doesn't want to disturb you with annoying clicky or bongy noises everytime you turn a corner. The doors sound and feel like large metal vault-doors that close, never to be opened again. And these are just the 'big' noises, let me list some of the trivial noises you get while driving. The slight rustle of the ageing leather seats, the mechanical sound when you wind down the window, the subtle hint of a slightly worn steering column bearing that gently creaks every time you twist the wheel. These small sounds is what makes driving these cars an unforgettable experience, which is diffrent to any other car I;ve ever driven. Oh yeah, did I mention the horn? Think of a combo between a train horn in an American movie and a train horn in an American movie. It's basically just like a train horn from an American movie...

I could go on about how great Mercedes sedans from the bygone ages are, but the best thing you can do is find out yourself. Book a test drive at a local classics dealership or borrow one from a distant uncle or a retired Middle-Eastern socialst leader. You don't have to do it now, as long as you do it before you die, because you will never have such a great driving experience ever again.

p.s. If you have already died, there are also some neat S-Class hearses to check out, it's never too late :)

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