By on August 6, 2015

1000sel

Here’s a question for the B&B: When, exactly, did Mercedes-Benz completely lose its famous sense of aesthetic restraint? Was it the arrival of the Panzerwagen W140 S-Class, with its Bismarckian bulk and its little pop-up parking guides? Was it the debut of the two-tone Maybach 57 and 62, complete with their burl-walnut power window switches and sliding curtains? Was it the day that the CLA45 AMG proved that the company had no philosophical objection whatsoever to building what was basically a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

Whenever it was, it’s certainly happened. Those days of squared-off, buttoned-down diesel sedans and sensibly-sized S-Classes are long gone. But this is one of those rare cases where the reality was equal to the legend. There truly was a time when the W126, in V-8 SEL form, was simply the best car in the world. It was rapid, silent, safe, trustworthy, classic, and supremely comfortable. It existed in a space utterly beyond any but the most picayune criticism.

But it simply wasn’t enough. Wasn’t brash enough, wasn’t trash enough, wasn’t gold-plated enough, wasn’t gull-winged enough. Enter, therefore, the 1000SEL.

100sgs

It wasn’t that Mercedes-Benz was averse to making pimp chariots for plutocrats. Some readers will remember the 600 “Pullman” with its vacuum-operated power windows and limo-style wheelbase extension. There was also some chap named Hitler who liked to ride around in big Benzes well before Sir Mix-A-Lot ever thought to rap about the S-Class. But with the energy crisis of the Seventies striking justified fear into the hearts of oil-less Europe, the company declined to update the 600 concept for the Eighties. Instead, the company revealed the W126, the car that would effectively replace the W116 S-Class and the 600. It was unapologetically aerodynamic, weight-conscious, deliberately efficient, powered by small, all-aluminum V-8s in addition to the usual inline-six in both gas and diesel form that made up the bulk of sales outside the United States.

To drive the W126 was to realize the apex of automotive accomplishment up to that point. It seemed utterly silent, particularly at high speeds. It steered and stopped like a sports car. In 5-liter 500SEL or US-market 560SEL form, it was capable of embarrassing a Porsche 911 of the day once aerodynamics entered the high-speed equation. You could drive it all day and night. No important control was out of the reach of a five-foot woman or a six-three man. Of course, it couldn’t match a modern Chevy Sonic for “telematics” or electronic features but it did have ABS before almost everyone else and it was an early airbag adopter as well.

Mercedes-1981-Mercedes-500SEL-a

It’s hard to think of what could be improved in a W126, but it’s not hard to understand why the car’s relentlessly functional presence seemed a little, shall we say, tame for some markets. Its predecessors had possessed nice big grilles and upright profiles. They looked like the kind of car an Idi Amin or Robert Mugabe could own without blushing. (John Updike made such a car a central character in his African novel of the period, The Coup.) The 600, of course, had an undoubted appeal just due to its stature — but the W126 was actually lower and more modest-looking than the cars that had gone before it.

Enter the tuners, most famously “Styling Garage” and Gemballa. You can read all about Styling Garage on the 1000SEL fan site but suffice it to say that they weren’t playing. They built the “1000SEL”, a pimped-out W126 that could be adjusted to suit the wildest fantasies of the shahs and the sheikhs. They even put the nose of the old car on the new one:

SGS-1000SGS-03

Imagine you were the engineer responsible for the 0.36 drag coefficient of the 380SEL and you saw that God-damned monstrosity on the road ahead of you. How would you feel? Certainly the lawyers didn’t like it, which led to the “1000SEL” being renamed the “1000SGS”.

But if Styling-Garage was the master of vandalizing the outside of a W126, surely Gemballa was the undisputed champion of interior pimpology.

interior

Only the position of the dashboard trim stripe and the shape of the steering wheel really gives this car’s origins away.

1001sel1

What’s going on with that small screen on the passenger side? Is is a tracking device for stolen nuclear submarines or a way to watch The Cosby Show in black and white? But the greatest horror was yet to come. The 380SEC and 500SEC were not unqualified successes. They were heavier and slower than the nearly flawless sedans on which they were based. In the United States, where emissions equipment strangled the 3.8, this was particularly upsetting. But for some customers, the most upsetting part of W126 coupe ownership was the regular doors. So…

gullwing

That’s right. A Testarossa-straked gullwing W126 coupe. And there was more than one of them.

image50931

Many of these cars disappeared into garages in Brunei or Saudi Arabia where they promptly rusted into worthlessness, often without having been driven any more than their delivery miles. But the arrival of the W140 put the kibosh on much of this extremely profitable and tasteless activity. To begin with, the new car was massively complex and far harder to modify. Just the thousand-mile-long biodegradable wiring harness alone was an insurmountable challenge to most tuners. But there was also the sense that Mercedes-Benz had returned to the idea of the Grosser Benz, a car that was too big to ignore for plutocrats of all stripes who were (usually) too big to fail or jail.

Eventually, Mercedes implemented all but the worst excesses of the tuners in their production vehicles. Some of those vehicles, like the sublime AMG SLS Black Series, are among the finest German cars ever made. Others, like the misshapen and depressed-looking Maybach 62, are not. But it’s fun to look back and see that there was once a brief shining moment where Germany’s best automaker really was the kind of austere, emotionally monochromatic, technically focused company that its owners always claimed it to be. So when you’re in your CLA or GLA or GLE Coupe or whatever and you see some slick dude or bearded hipster in an old W126, have some respect, okay?

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77 Comments on “There Once Was a Dream That Was 1000SEL...”


  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    And here I was hoping the 1000SEL made 1000 horsepower.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Great article about my favorite Benz era cars.

      I do, however, believe that the windows (seat and pretty much anything that could be adjusted) in the the 600 Pullman were hydraulic rather than vacuum operated. Jay Leno mentions in one of his garage videos that he had to replace one of the window control switches in his 600 for $10,000 — ouch!

      My 1972 280 SEL 4.5 was an incredible car. Wish I kept it.

    • 0 avatar
      Neb

      I saw the headline and thought there was going to be a 10 liter V16 under the hood.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “When, exactly, did Mercedes-Benz completely lose its famous sense of aesthetic restraint?”

    Aren’t you the guy that thinks the E65 is better looking than the E38?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The modern W126 is the Lexus LS. Toyota picked up right where Mercedes left off, and did it very close to the end of W126 production. It’s well-engineered (crumbly control arm bushings on 460s aside), restrained, “supremely comfortable,” not quite ostentatious enough for potentates, and surprisingly capable. That’s why I just bought one.

    Mercedes tried to go back and cover some of the same ground with the W220, but their overly cost-conscious engineering during that period betrayed them. If it had old-Mercedes durability the W220 would have been my favorite S-Class.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Too bad Lexus is having problems selling the LS these days. The new S-Class and Model S are really hurting LS sales. Plus, US dealers want a crossover LS.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It’ll be interesting to see if they can get back into the 15,000-20,000 range with the new generation coming for 2017. If not, the LS probably won’t see another generation after that one.

        Rumor has it they are going to try an LS coupe (called LC) to push the LS further upmarket. That seems like a strange move to me — to make something as emotional and pointless as a big coupe out of the most rational and cerebral of big sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          S-class has a coupe, why not Lex LS?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The S-Class at this point is a more emotional and showy car (and is selling well because of it). The LS right now is the large luxury car for sensible people who make careful decisions — it’s dead reliable and the price is right, but it isn’t nearly as opulent or hedonistic. A big coupe is all about hedonism.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Lord knows I want a large Lincoln coupe. I would certainly take a large Lexus coupe over anything German. As long as it isn’t gross looking like the RC F.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh God, LS coupe. Yes.

            But they won’t make it, so I’ll get a big Continental with voodoo drivetrain.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        its hard for lexus to copy mercedes when mercedes dont even look like mercedes any more. to me, the LS400 was an affordable and reliable S class. i remember renting street fighter from the blockbuster for the super NES and seeing that LS get trashed in the bonus screen. good times :)

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Plus, the really rare luxury packges on the 430 were out of this world. The leather had, like, THREE premium tiers. Cooled seats still aren’t common.

      I wanted to buy the ultimate loaded LS430 this past spring. It was black with every single rarified, low-take-rate option that some people didn’t even know existed. My wife was dead against it; said it looked too pedestrian, like she was being driven to the airport.

      I wound up with a loaded 300C Luxury Series, which has much more presence. Still, there’s a rarified air to any LS.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The Chrysler 300 is the middle class and/or sensible Lexus LS, possessing a quiet, plush ride, effortless power, rwd setup, cavernous space, and even a Daimler like road presence.

        The Cadillac XTS is the retard class Lexus LS.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          DW, You’re just saying that because you own an XTS and want to keep it rare in your hood. Admit it.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Sorry, the 300 is as far removed from a recent LS or what it stands for as possible, IMO. I’m sorry but the image of a tinted and battered first gen 300 rolling through the ghetto on 3 24″s and a space saver, ball joints-a-creaking bleeds right over to the seconds generation cars. Bottom barrel resale doesn’t help, I think the second gen cars are just as doomed. To be fair, old LS400s are just as apt to become a low level hustler’s drug mule, but there’s about 20 years of depreciation before that happens. The typical Chrysler 300 goes from rental fleet to second owner to BHPH lot much quicker.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “[the ghetto fabulous image] bleeds right over to the seconds generation cars.”

            It doesn’t just bleed over, Chrysler took most of the things which third owners were doing to devalue them and made them factory standard with the 2015 facelift.

            Oversized Bentley knock off grill, check. Chrome mirror caps, check. Hoodrat dubs, check.

            There’s very little left for actual third owners to do to make this generation theirs. Pepboys chrome vents and B pillar cladding maybe.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Buying a Dub Edition means never having to go to Pep Boys.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The Chrysler 300 does not have the subtlety or durability of a LS. It’s not a bad car, but it’s got very different goals.

      • 0 avatar
        55_wrench

        We did spring for a well-cared for, low mile LS430 last October, 10K miles including a road trip later, NO regrets.

        And we did have a W126 for a time, really the 430 is a more solid car when it comes to handling and braking, but I have to admit there’s nothing like the bank-vault “thunk” of a W126 door.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Congratulations. I hope you saw the 430 in person. It just looks old in pictures at this point, but it still has some gravitas in person because of its size, particularly its height, and the superb paint and assembly quality.

        The dealer who sold me my 460 picked me up from the airport in a later-model 430. It wasn’t a UL like the one you’re describing, but it was a great, very comfortable ride.

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          We did look at it twice before buying. Private seller, well-to-do family, all service records.

          I know it’s not the latest in the looks department, the back end is a copy of the W140, but there’s excellent visibility from inside the car due to a low belt line, something the W126 had as well.. as well as a trunk opening that’s actually deep enough to use.

          Hopefully the styling trend will swing back in that direction someday.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        The LS430 was styled as a shameless plagiarism of the previous S-Class, but functionally it was the baddest. If it wasn’t RWD and I weren’t driving in the Snow Belt, I’d be driving one today.

        Michael Karesh said it beautifully at the time in the headline of his LS430 review: “Awesomely Competent, Sadly Insecure.”

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Someone really needs to do an expose or story on the global cost cutting of the late 90s. Seems like everyone but the Americans were affected severely, with the Germans being the absolute worst, reaching their nadir with VWAG’s MKIV era…

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, the ’89-2000 LS, definitely.

      (Hell, before I owned a Mercedes and started paying closer attention, I found it hard to tell the W126 apart from the first generation LS at a glance.

      I am led to believe that was pretty much intentional on Lexus’ part.)

      The modern LS is trying a *little* too hard with the front end, to be in W126 (or even W140) territory in restraint.

    • 0 avatar
      meefer

      A 1999 LS400 was the first car I was ever in that I couldn’t tell started or not. The UL LS430 even had a fridge I believe. Dream garage includes a LS600h with the rear center console (precluding lottery winnings, in which case a Rapide would supplant it).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lottery winnings and I’m hiring a coachbuilder to customize a car for each day of the week.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Back in the 1960s, my dad got to know Paul Marriott having done business with the Marriotts. In the summer of 1965, we were guests at his home in Middleburg, Virginia and he had a silver ’61 Sedan DeVille. A few years later during the summer of 1970 (a period during which he became *much* wealthier as a result of Marriott’s explosive growth), we were, again, his guests, but this time stayed in a guest house at his horse farm. Each day, he would drive up to the guest house in a different new car. First was the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 (in which we blasted down the backroads of Virginia at triple-digit speeds), the second day, it was an XKE 2+2, the third day it was a Silver Shadow (the one car we didn’t get to ride in) and, finally (and strangely) a pink Mercury Cougar. My dad loved the 300 SEL 6.3, but I loved the XKE which Mr. Marriott kindly lent to my dad and, in which, I experienced the most spirited driving my dad ever did.

      • 0 avatar
        55_wrench

        We even saw an armor-plated LS430 while looking for ours. Ballistic glass, reinforced door hinges, all the goodies, belonged to some guy in LA.

        Once I contacted the company who did the conversion and found it added 1500lbs to the weight of the car, we looked elsewhere. All I could see was repair bills for suspension bits and a failed transmission, and gas mileage in the low teens around town.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “This is where mechanical excellence and 1,400 horsepower pays off.”

  • avatar

    That W108 front end makes it look like some sort of Chinese knock-off. Also, rebuilding the biodegradable wiring harness for a W124 throttle body was the single worst automotive wiring experience I have every had.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I think it started with AMG leaking full-scale into Mercedes Benz products and marketing, which in itself was a direct reaction to the success of BMW’s M Series vehicles.

    On only a tangential note, I was parked and talking on my cell phone yesterday when a guy in a “Mercedes” CL250 drove by my open window, the 4 cylinder, GDI under the hood of his German fwd CamCord fighter chattering very nearly like a diesel, making all manner of unsavory sounds as he whisked his front mounted, large pizza sized plastichrome tristar around the parking lot curbs.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A CLA (I assume that’s what you mean; a CL is an S-Class coupe) would make a pretty poor Camcord fighter. At least those cars have space for normally sized humans, and the most recent versions have nicer interiors than the CLA to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Correct – I meant to type CLA250.

        And agreed on your other points. The CLA250 is inferior in nearly all respects to an Accord, Camry, Fusion, Sonata, etc., and is on poor vehicle on an absolute basis and an even worse one on a price-adjusted, relative one.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I can feel the power of this 1000SEL through the the screen.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think the interior is probably full of syphilis and gonorrhea.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Rolled nasal mucus, white powder (talc?), herbal material (leaves?), urine, vaginal swabs/vagazzle?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yep. All of that.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          But, this time, “lacking feces.” (Richard Hammond triumphant fist bump)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s the little victories in life…

            I’m looking forward to their Amazon show BTW.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Now that new cars will be turbocharged 0.4 to 1.8 liter GDI 4 bangers with DSG or CVT transmissions and Catfish MAW faces, I’ll only be buying used, quality, one owner vehicles with normally aspirated motors and manual or conventional transmissions and normal faces.

            I will be sure to have Manlove Laboratories test the interiors of such used whips in similar fashion.

            Also can’t wait for Hammond et al to return on Amazon Prime (with less BBC bureaucracy).

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I still say Hyundai and Mercedes are using the same stylist.

            I cant wait for the TG crews next show to surface myself, I cant promise I’ll be using Amazon Prime to watch them if prime still costs $100.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Ryoku75

            I think I get that but I’ve never logged into it. I’ll check the next time I’m on amazon.

            EDIT: No I don’t have prime my bad, its HBO GO that I have and don’t use.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I have Prime because my wife buys a bunch of stuff on Amazon and she can add me onto her account. The biggest bummer is that because I’m not primary, I can’t use the free music streaming service.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I have Prime only for same reason as bball.

            I can’t wait to tell Comcast to go pleasure themselves if only Sony’s Vue would roll out to more than 3 cities.

            As it is, Sling is a killer deal for $20/month, but Vue is more comprehensive although it’s $49.99:

            Cut the Cord:

            http://www.theverge.com/a/online-tv-stream-price-guide

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have to deal with them no matter what as they own the rights to cable/internet in my building. I can’t stand those ***********.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “I still say Hyundai and Mercedes are using the same stylist.”

            You take that back!

            Hyundai doesn’t deserve that level of abuse.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I’ve often wondered why residents of cities/townships/villages whereby the politicians grant Comcast exclusive service contracts aren’t slayed by barbaric means.

            They’re essentially enabling a monopoly.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            All I want to know is how do I watch the Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons, and Lions without paying for cable/satellite? I’ll pay $35 American dollars a month to do so.

            DW-

            It’s better then when Detroit could only get Barden Cable.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The politicians, maybe, should be slayed by barbaric means. The residents already are, after a fashion.

            I have one choice for internet, and it’s Comcast. It goes out like clockwork for several minutes every morning around 5:45 am when I’m waking up. No one will do anything about it, and there’s nothing I can do about it short of not having home internet.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “They’re essentially enabling a monopoly”

            Correct and the sad part is they get bought off cheap. Think of the returns with Congress, ten million spread around buys you a billion dollars worth of legislation.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oakland County, MI was talking about the county having it’s own high speed wifi for residents. The economic downturn killed it and now it’s a rural only project. I wish the grand plan actually went through.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    You’re really not helping my desire for an SEC

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, let me help: 20+ year old wiring and AC units, and the only one that’s actually vaguely fast also gets mileage like my F250.

      (Not as suicidally unreliable as the wiring and climate in a W140, God help them, but … well into “heavy maintenance”.)

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Surprised that the “1000SEL” has a US market-sized license plate space. I just assumed that all of these cars were Hamann-style Eurotrash.

  • avatar
    j.grif

    When I was young, these cars had a reputation of being super reliable and classy, my mechanic friends and I aspired to own some of these automobiles, as time went on and Mercedes became more and more flashy, they also became more unreliable. I no longer wish to own these cars, they are no longer automobiles, they are cars. Those interiors are awful!

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “To drive the W126 was to realize the apex of automotive accomplishment up to that point. It seemed utterly silent, particularly at high speeds. It steered and stopped like a sports car. ” (and so on…)

    I remember it differently. It was the automotive equivalent of a fat person wearing tight jeans. It tried to have the tightness of a lighter car, but nobody was fooled. It also lacked the comfortable ride of large car.

    I had the chance to drive one when it was still fairly new. I remember being thoroughly brainwashed with automotive propaganda and looking forward to it. What a disappointment. It was neither here nor there, and nothing like the auto rags claimed (under the influence of schnaps, swag, sauerkraut, jet lag, and fraulein, no doubt). Made me understand why a 17 year old was being handed the keys: the best seats didn’t have a steering wheel.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      >>> looking forward to it. What a disappointment <<<

      The Mercedes thinking in this era was that engineers made the best cars possible. Owners were expected to take them as-is and get used to them over the next 30 or more years. After a while, you would never want anything else. (Or at least that was the thinking.)

      Other than lacking the enormous increase in power of modern cars, I think the Mercedes from the 50s through 80s are generally terrific, with the S-class and E-class models being tops. I'm still a little sad my parents sold their 250 when it was a mere 32 years old. The vinyl seats, by the way, looked new.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    That white car in the ad has Sophisticated As Hell written all over it, like it’s saying, “I’m hand-built for the man who demands the best in life, and snorts rails of coke off only the finest of strippers’ asses.”

    Koenig used to do modified versions of Ferrari Boxers, as well as Mercedes and Jaguar coupes, that had obviously fake Testarossa strakes down the sides, and I always wondered how they got away with it, considering their target demographic. You’d think people with that kind of money would throw a shit fit when they saw how there was no actual air intake under those strakes.

    I also remember how Styling Garage used to sell instrument clusters with sign-written gauge faces, which weren’t exactly easy to read at a glance.

    More money than sense, I suppose.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    The W 126 is the best! I own a 1991 420 SEL and at 24 years old, it still looks and drives great. I get compliments every time I drive it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Those days of squared-off, buttoned-down diesel sedans and sensibly-sized S-Classes are long gone…

    Because consumers, globally, don’t want buttoned-down diesel sedans and sensibly-sized S-Classes (or S-Class competitors).

    Car companies are not charities, they build for profit. Mercedes going serious downscale in the US is part of that strategy of building profit. Look at S-Class sales numbers compared to a few years ago, customers are voting with their wallets.

    Right or wrong.

    Lamenting the death of the sedan is the 2015 version of, “hey you rotten hippies, go get a job!”

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      True, but I read the main point as being lamenting the death of *styling restraint* at Mercedes-Benz, not of sedans.

      (Also, on sales figures?

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/mercedes-benz-s-class-sales-figures.html

      It doesn’t look like customers are abandoning the S – they sold twice as many in e.g. July 2015 as in 2010, and that trend is roughly consistent for every month this year.

      Looking at the GCBC “large luxury car” chart, the S handily outsells *everything*.

      Though honestly if I was in that market I’d be looking at an A8 or an LS, myself.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Ya, I mixed my point and should have been clearer.

        S class sales are on a tear, and I’m aware – people apparently don’t want restraint because they are buying up the non-restrained S-Class (non-restrained is relative compared to some other sedans out there).

        As a whole, sedan sales across the board and in a category, are down in terms of marketshare, with more and more buyers going to SUV and CUV platforms.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The S is selling very well, but that’s because it’s changed a bit. It’s bigger, fancier, showier, more “ultimate,” more Maybach. And that is a response to changes in market demand.

      The LS remains what the S used to be — impeccable engineering, comfortable but not opulent, styling restraint. And it’s selling poorly because people want something fancier.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    If ever I win the Lotto (I suppose I’d have to buy tickets first) I’d drive my 31 year old Mercedes Coupe to The Classic Center and let them have at it .

    Meanwhilst , I’ll enjoy the hell out of driving the beejeebers out of it and trying to get my Brother to at least _wash_ his 28 year old 300SDL W-126 ~ it truly is a (dirty) rolling bank vault that handles like a Sports Car although everyone gets scared whenever I drive it like one .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    the bad thing about them was they were all hack jobs.

    a bunch of people with tape measurers, bondo, fiberboard, wire-taps, and leather. if one pair of fog lights is good, lets go with 4! MB actually engineered their cars, unlike this stuff.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    As much as I hate to admit it… I love the box flares.

    Then again, I have a serious box flare fetish…

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I recall when Audi first started eating into MB’s market share, Mercedes dismissed their “transitory, soapcake styling”.

  • avatar
    UncleJunior

    Gemballa: proof that with money does not came taste. It’s nice to see that every single vehicle that “company” slapped their name on was hideous and ostentatious, from the very beginning…

  • avatar
    lowreyldjd

    “When, exactly, did Mercedes-Benz completely lose its famous sense of aesthetic restraint?”

    When they stopped building their cars to an engineering standard, which was the essence of the model of this post, the W-126.

    Far and away the best car, of the 30 or so I’ve owned over the years, was my 1991 560SEL. Supremely comfortable, capable of cruising all day at high speed without breaking a sweat, and with enough power and handling finesse to embarrass most other cars on the road. An extremely handsome, not necessarily beautiful, automobile, too (mine was Smoke Silver with Burgundy hides). It also never gave me a lick of trouble, not even burning any oil between changes, up until the day I sold it with just over 330,000 miles on the odometer.

    Then, Mercedes-Benz got caught up building cars to a price and attempting to create the best eye candy…

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