Strangelovian W110 Thrives On 573 Miles of Full-Throttle Abuse

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
strangelovian w110 thrives on 573 miles of full throttle abuse

The first Mercedes-Benz W110 to compete in the 24 Hours of LeMons was this ’65 190, and it did very well in spite of having spent many years vegetating in a California field prior to being brought back to life as an endurance racer. Last weekend, we saw another W110; this time it was a ’67 200 that spent a few idle years in Texas before waking up on a race track.

Team B League Film Society – How I Learned To Stop Whining And Love The Judges was expecting to have many problems with their 44-year-old luxury automobile, but only a few fuel-filter-clogging incidents forced the car in for repairs. Otherwise, the car kept going around and around the track (the same could not be said for the team’s other car, a Jetta that blew its engine three laps into prerace practice and got a DNS).

When you bring a car like this to a LeMons race, you really don’t need to decorate the car with a theme like this, but we appreciate the extra effort. That thing on the roof is a replica of the bomb Slim Pickens rode to glory while going toe-to-toe with the Rooskies in nuclear combat in Dr. Strangelove.

Quite an appropriate theme for a Texas race!

The 200 wasn’t particularly quick— in fact, its 2:26.659 best lap was the slowest of the entire 81-entry field— but the team came in 48th place after doing 241 laps at 2.38 miles apiece. That’s 573 miles of about the worst punishment you can dish out to a car; quite an achievement for an elderly sedan that was never meant to go anywhere near a race track!

Photo source: Nick Pon

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • Captain_Chaos Captain_Chaos on Mar 01, 2011

    LeMons racing, Dr. Strangelove and W110s are some of my favorite things. Nice job combining all three! My W110 (1964 220) has 4-speed on the column. Has anyone ever attempted a LeMons race with a column-shifted manual?

  • Findude Findude on Mar 01, 2011

    Where is Eugen Boehringer when you need him? Let's not forget that the heckflosse/fintail Mercedes-Benzes were common rallye rides in the 1960s.

  • Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
  • Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
  • Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
  • Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.