Want a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Hood Ornament? You'll Have to Steal One, Which Is What You Always Did Anyway

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Through the 2017 model year, Americans in search of a traditional entry luxury sedan could spend $350 to swap the Mercedes-Benz C-Class’s badge-emblazoned grille for an old classic.

Three horizontal bars, one vertical support, no badge.

The “Luxury” grille was also accompanied by unique bumper treatment and softer suspension.

But how were you to advertise the fact that you were, in fact, driving a Mercedes-Benz? There was a three-pointed star perched on top, a hood ornament in automotive parlance.

Unfortunately, the C-Class hood ornament that harkened back to a more elegant era has gone the way of crank windows.

Rare was the Luxury-packaged C-Class to begin with. According to Car And Driver, dealers didn’t want to stock C-Class sedans with the empty grille/hood ornament combo because buyers, particularly younger buyers, don’t actually want it.

Instead, Mercedes-Benz’s modern grille — seen across the brand’s SUV, coupe, and roadster lineups and on most sedans — includes a large badge that much more ostentatiously advertises the origins of a Benz.

Despite its departure from the C-Class, the hood ornament isn’t entirely dead across Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. lineup. There are E-Class and S-Class variants that continue to operate under traditional Mercedes-Benz styling norms. But sadly, the C-Class sedan joins its coupe and convertible brethren in banishing a classically Benz element.

Much as the three-pointed star standing proudly erect atop a long hood fosters a degree of nostalgia for a time when Mercedes-Benz still represented high-end exclusivity, it’s beginning to look out of place — like a leaper accessorized onto the hood of a Jaguar F-Pace or a wreath-and-crest alighting on a Cadillac CTS’s bonnet.

Unfortunately, relatively small hood ornaments have been replaced by increasingly broad grille emblems, often tasked with accomplishing great technological feats.

“It’s a Mercedes-Benz,” the C-Class’s upright three-pointed star used to say, politely, and with the faux British accent used by an entire generation of American actors.

“IT’S A MERCEDES-BENZ!” the C-Class’s grille now shouts.

[Images: Daimler AG]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
2 of 42 comments
  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.
  • Graham The answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked LOL