Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You’ve Lost That Prussian Feeling

Florence, South Carolina. The late 1960’s. Most middle and upper middle class moms and dads drove American cars. Cadillacs…big Ford sedans or station wagons. Maybe a General Motors badge of some type. My mother drove various versions of gas-guzzling-giganto station wagons throughout my childhood. Small Southern towns were staffed in the 1960’s by adults still holding on to various regional sequelae. But perhaps one thing they had in common with Detroit was that they usually bought and drove…American.
Butcept a very select few. My childhood memories, admittedly, are wrapped in imaginative largesse. It’s my way of reconstituting things in order to make them more palatable. But my aforementioned select few observation remains lucid and correct. There were less than a dozen adult drivers in my hometown who didn't buy and drive American. They were what I call the Prussian Outliers. And to a person, maybe excepting one lawyer (Southerners pronounce it LAW-(like slaw)-YUHR. It’s a pronunciation “where did you grow up” dead giveaway), they were doctors. My total n for this childhood observation was small. But keep in mind, Florence back then was a fairly small town.
Prussia…one historian referred to it as “an army with a country attached.” Yep. Prussia…the antecedent to Germany and assigned by anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille, in his book The Culture Code, such culturally thematic descriptions as Order…Precision…Engineering. Prussian King William Frederic Louis, caricatured by J.J. Tissot, appears rather stereotypically Prussian in appetite.
And Mercedes Benz personified to my childhood noggin’, a unique Prussian morphology…before I was even close to knowing anything about Germany and the cultural precept for their engineering and mechanistic legacy. All I knew was that when my mama was taking us someplace in her gigantic Cub Scout troop carrying station wagon and there was one of the ten Mercedes in town stopped beside us at a light; I could tell it wasn’t originally from around here. For some reason I thought that that…was cool.
Mercedes' Germanic boxiness has always appealed to me. I suppose partly because there’s no ambiguity regarding what you’ve pulled up beside in traffic. Same can be said I guess, for older Volvos and BMWs. And we haven’t yet taken up the issue of engines and drive trains.
Sadly, 1990 represented the beginning of the end for Prussian feelings and Germanic morphology. And it’s been a sad decline. I’ve had love affairs with many different cars but my longstanding, immutable, unwavering affection has always been for the pre-1990 SLs. The Sport Leicht…so practically impractical and geared for the American market, the gas guzzling 560-SL could climb a tree upon request. With a 227hp V-8 engine, the 1989 560-SL arrived about as fuzzy as you could request it. There were only a few options available…heated seats and electronically controlled back rests. Otherwise, this baby was maxed out from the get-go. The 1969 sticker? $64,300.00.
And I’ve wanted this car for years. LFG’s mom used to laugh and say that the 1989 560 SL could be my fortieth birthday indulgence. But LFG would be in need of diapers and her mother fancied Manolos when my fortieth rolled around.
So on my fortieth birthday I was still driving and enjoying quite frankly, the car that today remains one of my favorites…a BMW 318is. Then the newly reset for my forty-fifth year of life...560 SL procurement goal was trumped by check writing to entities non-Prussian and non-car. Maybe I should have hired a Prussian divorce lawyer. (Southerners pronounce it LAW-(like slaw)-YUHR) Shut up.
Post 1989 saw Mercedes begin to slowly lose its unambiguous form. Prussian softness and Continental roundness began to show. Softness began to also characterize their quality ratings. 1999 saw LFG’s mom in need of a car and I declared that I would have no vote in the matter. Or did she declare such? I can’t remember but I do recall that I was good for my word. And it wasn't easy. See the Mercedes above? My former wife was test driving it and the Mercedes sales guy is in the passenger seat extolling the virtues of this little buggy. And I’m in the backseat…silent…but praying to a Jesus that doesn't answer such foxhole yelps. “Please don’t let her like this car…please don’t let her like this car”. It was an attenuated German Toyota...not a Mercedes. The vault like “clunk” that resonated in older Mercedes when you closed the door…you know…the “solid as a rock” announcement received every time you sealed yourself inside; was replaced by a tinny clink when you got in. And there was plastic. Lots of plastic.
Uhlenhaut (above with his personal coupe) and his cohort of engineers would be appalled to see that aberration sporting the Mercedes badge.
Marketing and finance, not legacy engineering demand the type of product pictured above. Market segmentation yields what suppliers often see as a “niche that we need to be in”. That’s code for 
“I’m being seduced by market segments I have no business trying to play in. So let’s go get some of the money sitting in that down-market niche, even though we don’t currently have products for it. Quick! … Hans and Dieter…round something up for us to sell “down there” "
So thankfully Prussian Jesus prevailed and my frau selected a 5 Series BMW similar to this one. BMW was on the cusp of their slippery morphological slide but they weren't quite as advanced in their decline as the boys from Stuttgart.
A year or so later saw mama trade that one for the 5 Series BMW wagon…a solid-ass Prussian tank. The Maginot line would’ve stood an even lesser chance against the 5 Series BMW wagon. Ergo...the Mother’s Morning Out queue in Old Town Alexandria was a no-brainer.
Let’s get back to happier talk…the 560 SL genesis. I love the ever so boxy SL Pagodas from the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. You can find these in price points that range somewhere between what the mid to late 1980’s SLs will cost you and what you’d have to pony-up for much earlier rag top Prussian iterations.
The predecessor convertibles are sculptural works of art. The 190 SLs are about as Prussian Pretty as I’ll ever need to see. Art and God are present and accounted for right here.
And of course there’s a sister creation…the 300 SL Gullwing. Ralph Lauren has one. Jay Leno restored one and if you are interested in gull-winging it; you’d better have a rather thick wallet. 
Thank God for those with silly amounts of money who restore such classic works of art for posterity.
The Gullwing by the way, is back. And you can have one for a couple hundred thousand bucks. But why would you want it? Take that same amount of dosh and invest in a classic. Why? Because other than the legacy rich impractical doors, nothing about this car’s morphology says Mercedes.
Case in point. Hide the Mercedes badge and you’ve got a Lexus. Or maybe it’s an Acura performance buggy. Or whatever. Oh and by the way, the Japanese luxury segment…Acura and Lexus…why? Unless you don’t want to feel anything…unless your goal is to be transported out of the driving experience versus dialing into the Prussian ride…why?
The ten year old ADG didn’t need a second glance when in the back of his mother’s station wagon; he looked over and saw doctor so-and-so sitting in this. It was one of those cool cars…not from around here.
The much older ADG glances at this 2011 aberration and thinks…Lexus? Chrysler? Acura? And then the lamentation begins.
Stop me now if you can posit a sound reason. Why? …because I’m perilously close to pulling the trigger on this cream puff 560 SL. As soon as I finish this story, I'm calling the owner back to arrange an inspection by a recommended Mercedes mechanic. It’s time.

Onward. From South Carolina. Checking in on my feeble mama.

A.D (ieter) G. II; Traveling.


Anonymous said...

Is that 560SL you are scoping out Thistle Green or silver? Looks like a Sienna interior. Lovely.

I drive a 1985 300D Turbodiesel sedan with 260,000 kms and nary a creek or rattle. Amazing cars, those 80's Mercedes.

JMW said...

One of my good friends drove a Mercedes like the one in the second pic, until just a few years ago. It was her mom's, who hardly ever took it out of the garage; in mint condition. She had a guy try to orchestrate a purchase at a red light one day - he just had to have it for his daughter. She ended up selling it to him. Not to be un-American, but I love my Audi wagon and think I'll be sticking with the Germans on this for a while. I say go with the Mercedes. :)

T said...

Life is short. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

My 1990 Volvo 240 just went to the local Volvo graveyard. It saw me through college, marriage, 2 kids. It's tank like boxiness was a bastion against the modern world.
To solace my soul, it has been replaced with a 2007 Suburban, the largest, boxiest, most tank like car the local dealers had. Watch out, Mamma comin' through...

Toad said...

Our Bentley mechanic, also does MB's. To quote him" eventually all our clients give up English crap for German excess". And so it is. Go forth, pull the trigger. It will only hurt once.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Where we spent our summers, the matriarchs had an ongoing competition to see who could drive the nastiest station wagon. Grandmothers with last names of large industrial conglomerates and financial houses competed for the title of most wet-dog/cigarette/seaweed/mildew smell in the car. Their (always American) cars would spend 9 months in a garage during the off-season, where the festering stench would ferment, and be barely tolerable the following year. One old gal, who was married to Mr. Largest US Chemical Company, drove a wooden-paneled wagon with a muffler that dragged for almost 8 years. She would replace the muffler when it would finally grind down to nothing, but the replacement would magically drag on the ground within a day or so. Grandmother had a white Ford wagon that smelled of all of the above, and after the summer of 1982, her grandsons added the smell of sour milk, cheap beer, and fire-works-melted seat cushions.

TNN said...

I had a 1986 BMW 325ix (x=4wheeldrive), and I really want it back... but not as much as I want a 1960's mercedes.
Buy the car, or you'll just spend the money on shoes. which, by the way, isn't the worst thing to spend it on!

Anonymous said...

Did you ever know anyone in Florence named Miriam Moffat? She was one of my mother's best friends...and she is still rockin' and rollin' in her 90's!

Anonymous said...

Why Lexus?

Because they're well designed, well assembled, more reliable and a pleasure to drive. They also provide more value for the money.

Oh, and they don't have that ridiculous, non-intuitive iDrive.

Anonymous said...

The only car I ever really YEARNED for was a black 560 SL with "luggage" interior. I saw an "ash blonde" lady driving one when they first came out. I was laden with first child on a hot August Manhattan afternoon walk down Madison to take the dog to the park and there she was....stunning in that purring beast piled with bags from Barney's.....me enormous and sticky and feeling very quotidianly "highlighted". Alas, no "frost cap" for me but a far cry from that classy Beekman Place carefully-cared-for Tippi Hedrenesque convertible-coif-in-the-wind. Sigh. Fine. A few days later I had a lovely Native New Yorker daughter and thoughts of cars were for other days or so I believed, until my husband celebrated by buying HIMSELF a brand new black on black BMW 630csi. Damn. But hell. Whereyagonna park a car in NY anyway? My parents gave me a Rolls Royce. Well, it seemed like one. A Silver Cross Balmoral Pram to take my little New Yorker to Central Park with the rest of the nannys. We couldn't afford the nanny but we had the damn perambulator! Thing cost almost 3K in those days. Dad bargain bought it from an older woman who had tried and miscarried but was glad to pass it along to someone needy. Scoot along to 2011. The pram is in the attic awaiting grandchildren. The 630csi is in the third bay of the garage. (I had vowed to get it one day and I'll never let it go!) ImPrussianable husband, having abandoned Porsche for a time, gifted himself another BMW --M6 Convertible this time. Me? I'm still driving a British perambulator for my Bernese Mountain Dogs......a black super-charged Range Rover. WHAT gas prices?

George Littlejohn said...

Sinsayshun will love the 560 SL.

Anonymous said...

BUSTED. I had a MB 220 ( ca 1962) in the late late 70s. It was about shot, but it was a pretty cool about shot. I had a couple of 2002s, which seem to have missed your attention above, then a 5 series that went longer than most marriages, and now the 5 wagon, with well over 200K on the clock. There IS a '66 Bentley (T series sedan) out back in the shed. It's true about the inch or so less of grille and hood ornament making a huge difference in a snooty sense of understatement. But it is so much smaller than your average modern SUV that soccer moms don't even see it. And, like so many of us, it has a thirsty disposition...

Your cousin willie AND June S Doray

ilovelimegreen said...

I've already said I don't have much of an opinion about cars but I do like MGs and I do like SAABs. I almost bought an MG for my 30th birthday; it didn't run but it was green.

Anonymous said...

"My 1990 Volvo 240 just went to the local Volvo graveyard."

Ohhhhhh you have my profound sympathy. I had to do that to my 1991 240 Volvo wagon, it KILLED me. Ever since, I guiltily troll eBay et al for the last year Volvo made that shoebox wagon, 1993. Deep green w/ camel interior, roof rack. The dash decked in Shaker simplicity, remember how that tank would corner? Ahhh, and the visibility? God I loved that car.

Des Esseintes said...

Interestingly, all relevant German car makers: Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, BMW - with the exception of Volkswagen - come from Southern Germany, so, technically, they aren't and never were Prussian.

Also interesting that even in cars, the grass appears to always be greener on the other side: I am German, born and bred, and what do I drive? A British car, for my sins...


Suburban Princess said...

Oh I say go for it! I have fond, fond....fond memories of a man (boy really I found out) who drove one of these. A man is pretty darn attractive when he makes a girl feel like Grace Kelly :O)

ADG said...

Anon….Is that 560SL you are scoping out Thistle Green or silver?…It isn’t silver. So I suppose it’s a thistlesquebeigalatedsilverytaupe. Sienna Miller…lovely indeed.

JMW...Thanks. I was waiting on your affirmation. Do you have the 15k to go with it?
T...Life is short. Just sayin. … Indeed, thanks for the nudge.

Anonymous…1990 Volvo 240…”tank like boxiness” great.

Toad...I’m blaming all of “this” on you.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa...loved your characterization of what I was trying to say…about WASPy folks clinging to their arrogantly shabby Detroit buggies. Now send me a damn check.

TNN ...indeed. I’m shoe-ed out. Butcept my appointment for Cleverley bespoke shoddings next month.

The Classic Preppy...I went to school with some Moffat girls and yes, I think I knew Mariam Moffat’s family.

Anonymous Why Lexus?…indeed. If you like that kind of driving experience. I do not.

Anonymous BMW 620csi...You know that I love you and am waiting to be kept by you.

George Littlejohn-Sinsayshun….Sinsayshun would tart it up absurdly. That’s why I keep her in the house.

Anonymous ...BUSTED….not sure how BUSTED I am.

ilovelimegreen...why am I not surprised?

Flo "My 1990 Volvo 240 just went to the local Volvo graveyard." …get your ass back out there and find yourself one of those babies.

Des Esseintes...Duly noted and thanks. It’s no secret that here on my blog, I focus on thematic posits and broad thoughts/feelings. Specificity and geo-anthropological accuracy will never be a strong suit. But why, why do you drive a British car…except a possibly a Jag…when you’ve got Porsche-BMW-Mercedes amidst your heritage.

Preppy 101 said...

I completely agree with you about the Mercedes of today - totally lost all appeal when it began to look like other cars - We had a 1978 Mercedes. Love the grill on the old ones. Buy the car. You deserve it. Period. Xoxo

Anonymous said...

Busted? Not you, me. Busted for Cherman car lust.

Ever notice how the grille on the 164 Volvo was shaped just like Johnny Depp's glasses? Coincidence? I don't think so...

Your cousin willie. June S has gone away...

Gretchen said...

Oh, what a treat it will be for you to zoom about in this. Good move! Back right before the ex and I bought white trash manor, I tried to get him to let me buy a 1985 300td wagon. In blue. Didn't happen and so I still dream of the car. Still wish I had my 960Volvo tank wagon too, but the stench from the carseat Schmitz was overpowering.

Anonymous said...

ah, did I miss a reference to the BMW 2002?

I had one, 1972 model, sweet-driving car.

Had a 1965 Volvo P122 and a 1983 240.

By the way, the station wagon in the first pic isn't in no South Carolina. That the DF, dude, exico City, the University to be precise. ,

ADG said...

AnonAintNoS.C. ...are you freakin' kidding me? I nick pichers from any and ever-where to make my visual points. Ain't nothin' safe from lil ADG in GoogleimageRightClickland. Now send me a goose or a turkey.

Gretchen...it wounds me to hear a woman of your fortitude say things like "...tried to get him to let me..."

CousinWillie...you need to sell one of those sporting clay guns and go ahead an pop for a pair of them Depp specs. What did you do with/to June?

Preppy101...thanks. Just talked to the mechanic.

LPC said...

I was so hoping this post was going in this direction. I actually thought to myself, "Oooh, maybe Maxiebaby is going to get hisself a Mercedes!" Go for it. Vintage Mercedes attract the right women just as surely as new ones attract the wrong ones.

NCJack said...

My first "own vehicle" was a ten year old VW bus, junior in HS, thought self immensely cool.

My Dad and I did some looking for stuff up in Fayetteville, the final home of the Euro stuff the GIs brought home, and a more amazing assemblage of "rode-hard-put-up-wet" Peugots, VWs, Opels, Renaults, Austins, etc. could not be imagined. REALLY wanted fairly trashed Sunbeam Alpine, Dad just asked "So when did you become a mechanic?", and the dream faded like the Summer.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the 560 SL. My father has one--red, 35k miles, cherry. Great car. Built like a brick shithouse.

Not really a sports car, but a damn fine blvd cruiser. Not quick, but plenty fast. A/C will ice the windshield. Repairs make shell cordo look like a bargian.


Either you love '80s German cars or you're one of those unfortunate souls who simply can't be helped. My 320i still gets a mixture of admiring gazes and confused looks.

ilovelimegreen said...

ADG, I am surprised you haven't figured out WHY I didn't buy that green MG!

Bob Getty said...

ADG, as a German born and raised in the outskirts of Stuttgart, I really appreciate that kind of passion. Your example of the MB without the star is on point. My grandfather had a 1976 W116 s-class and a 1985 W126 s-class. He died in 2002 and my grandmother, although she never owned a driver license, still has it and keeps it in top condition.

Anonymous said...

I got so locked up with my own car grief I forgot to say to you how wonderful this here post is, Max. Give Momma a big kiss from a fellow 8th gen South Carolinian and, honey, that Marsaydus is YOURS. Drive it down to Amelia next March, bring your groupies with you, book yourselves early at the Ritz, you can put Sinsayshun up at one of the I-95 interchange lodges. I'll host the Concours d' kickoff cocktail party, after that you kids are on your own.

M.Lane said...

Oh GOOD for you! Go for it. Just don't take it to Philly and get it "burnt up"...


CeceliaMc said...

"It was an attenuated German Toyota..."

Yeah. Isn't every car now?

The Mercedes that motivated me to put up with the budding Hugh-Hefner (name-- Walter, who ended up being sent to military school...later to law school...and much later to jail by the IRS...) was a massive vintage one that had probably been owned by some German SS member.

I wouldn't be surprised if Walter's dad had it imported from Germany BECAUSE it had belonged to Himmler.

There were plenty of Mercedes owners in my small town at the time, but that car represented a sophistication that I only saw in Courvoisier ads.

Frankly, with my Quaker-esque father, my brothers and I were lucky to ride in a vehicle that wasn't made of stone and propelled by our feet...

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to say, June S Doray
Has gone away, this time to stay
Though I could swear I saw her feet
Sticking out of my back seat
I wonder as the time still passes
When are you going to write about glasses?
Not the kind for drinking with the locals
I'm talkin bout them danged bifocals.
Moscot, Shuron, Oliver P and Tart
Give me the ones that make me look smart.

Don't need no glasses to make me look silly
I can do that all by myself,

cousin willie

MaryBeth said...

I have a 500 sl and love it. My first car was an MG, loved that and still wish I had it. Buy the car you will always love it, especially if it gives you trouble, you will love the fond memories of trying to get it to run.

Gretchen said...

You're so right, Max, about the "let me" bit...back from when I was trying to be a good wife, to not buy shoes and to not be me, basically. But, I can surely imagine you tootling about town, dressed to the nines, causing traffic jams in this beauty...find thee an amazing mechanic to keep it in fine condition and you will be able to drive LFG to her wedding in it. That is, if you ever let her answer her phone....

Anonymous said...

ADG I'm sorry. My error. It is a 635csi. Not a 630. 1986. Beautiful. Sleek. Before they made the mistake of squaring off it's hiney in the later years.
Well. I love you, too, but I think I will have to decline on keeping you. I kept the pram and the Beemer but I am inclined to believe that keeping your high maintenance ass would be impossible. All those little bow shoes and bow ties and lead warmongering dollies on horses and such. I can just see all the 1930s Apparel Arts bound collections charged to my credit card. Vanity Fair caricatures. It would be unending and t'would be my undoing. I will leave you to another lovely and loving "collector" of fine 50 year old thangs. ****schmock****

Anonymous said...

Mercedes SSL

Just say 'yes'

Darcy Lequarr
(anEnglishman in Africa)

Des Esseintes said...

although I am a German, my observation about "None of the German car makers is Prussian" was indeed not meant as a "correction" - my apologies. It just occurred to me suddenly that there is an almost ironic side to the fact that what's left over of the German reputation for accuracy, performance etc etc is nowadays usually somehow related to our engineering, cars or other, but that the epicentre of German engineering is in Southern / Southwestern Germany, about as far away from Prussia both geographically and in mindset as you could be without leaving the country.
I drive a British car because a Range Rover is another great example of an icon gone down the drain ...mine is a Classic, so very much on the iconic starting point of that sad journey, in my view. A major pain in pretty much every part of the body for its British engineering, but there you go.


Anonymous said...

One of those rare things in life that you know is pure beauty when your eyes fall upon it. I say go for it.

Anonymous said...

Go for the Pagoda. Elegance defined. And keep the hard top on-this car looks spectacular with the hard top.

Pigtown-Design said...

I fell madly in love with my best guy friend from college (who is still my best friend) when he rolled in to campus in his dad's early 70's SL. Lovely pale green. Just so sharp. Of course, he also drove an old Land Rover, so that was appealing.

I've driven a succession of Volvos since I could drive. Even when I lived in the UK! My first car upon arriving back in the States was a $1500 Volvo 240 wagon with the odometer stopped at about 250k miles. Drove it for three years until it just wouldn't start anymore. Driving a silver S70 wagon now. But you know that!

ADG said...

MegtownVolvo…Yes I know. And it’s time that you fetched me at the train station in it again. So we can eat and drink and drink. And drink.

LPC…Prunella…” Vintage Mercedes attract the right women just as surely as new ones attract the wrong ones” …Thanks as always for your elegant, witty and sturdy advice. Surely, I don’t need any more “wrong” ones.

NCJack...my first vehicle…the orange MG Midget that I’ve spoken about before, was eventually sold to a guy in Jacksonville N.C. for 800 bucks. Then after the Triumph GT-6 and the death of my father, it was a slippery slide down/away from European buggies to the flurry of Pintos, Mavericks and a couple of broke d_c_ Camaros before I had my own dosh and ability to ride in something respectable. I became…a “mechanic”. It just dawned on me that American cars declined in an almost linear trajectory with the rise of the Quaalude. Loose correlation…certainly not asserting causation.

Anonymous…Good luck with the 560 SL. Thanks…and I’m aware that this automatic transmission, two ton buggy is a tank…not a nimble, upshifting fun-cart like my Saab. That’s why I’m keeping the Swedish muscle car. 320i=fun.
ilovelimegreen...because you don’t have a drivers license?

Bob Getty...I used to stay in a small but somewhat charming Bavarian hotel in Tutzing. Boehringer Mannheim had a training facility there and I did some project work for them years ago. I might do a post one day about eating the same meal almost every evening due to my poor German language skills and the Bavarian indifference to my Southern affability. Of course, I want to project my imaginative youth upon your Stuttgart upbringing and imagine all of the great automotive machinery that you must have seen fly by you every day.

FloMotion...Thanks. Mama is doing fine. My brother and I…both freelance physicians…he’s the lead on my mama’s case since he’s a freelance gerontologist (I only do gyn work) …agree that she’s fine ‘cause she’s now fussing at us. I’ll leave Sinsayshun at home. Even if we park her (albeit fine) butt out in one of the I-95 motels, she’ll get juiced up on some version of malt liquor and roll in to the Concours d’ either waist gripping a beer bellied biker or sitting in the back of some local broke down jitney. This is the kind of thing that I can’t risk.

M.Lane...Thanks. And I won’t take it to Philly. When I’m up there, my man…MainLiner…The Tone with the Touch…arranges transport. Otherwise, my acquaintance with the Touch of Tone wouldn’t be quite as rewarding.

CeceliaMc...I’m still laughing about your ….boys—if we knew—“we’d never stop slapping them”. And yes, all cars are. I’m in Avis rentals almost every week and I get a good sampling of what the current fleets are like. The Crown Vic police car is the exception. I drove one down here to see my mom. My goal is to never again be in the back of one though. You know, the ones with no door handles on the back doors…and the plexi-wall between the back seat and the “officer”. Walter’s dad sounds like a creepy mo-fo … and one that as a kid; I’d have been fascinated by. Sorry about the car/feet environment you lived in. But otherwise, if I recall, your daddy was stalwart.

WilliePoet….I PROMISE to do the spectacles post this week. But Oliver P. won’t make the cut…leastways they don’t for me. Too pricey and they jumped the shark eight years ago. Even their resurrected “legacy” examples of late don’t make it with little ole ADG. I’ll be in Gotham next week and am gonna swing by Moscot.

ADG said...

MaryBeth ...My hope is that trouble will be transient and minimal, if my due diligence and subsequent maintenance tactics are consistent and sound.

Gretchen ...I already know “thee amazing mechanic” from my and LFG’s mom’s BMW days. He’s a European fella and former BMW performance team technician. (Don’t call him a mechanic) And I’ve been informed that the least of my worries will be the phone. It be da texting that they say should worry me.

Anonymous635ci…no worries…I knew what you were talking about and that car is a beaut. I also recall fondly the Volvo p1800 as a unique and cool morphological outlier in the Volvo fleet. The 635ci is a stunner. And it’s ok that you won’t at present, commit to “keeping me up”.

Anonymous...Mercedes SSL…Just say 'yes'…thanks

Darcy, I shall.

Des Esseintes...thanks but please, don’t worry that I might have felt “corrected” and therefore there’s no need to apologize. You and one other of your countrymen have made statements and points that I deem very complementary to my Mercedes story. And I think I understand a bit of the “Bavarian/Southern/Southwestern Germany difference”. As for Rover…I have a buddy who asserts that he will always own at least one. And Thomas Mahon, the cutter/tailor over at English Cut bought a nice old classic Rover. You can see it over on his blog. The industry analysts say that the Rover and Jaguar brands will probably survive. They also say that Saab is done. Saab production ceased two times last week because suppliers hadn’t been paid and were holding shipments of components. Cash flow issues like that are just the beginning of the end. Stryker has no extra cash to infuse Saab with enough nourishment to revive them. Bye bye Saab.

Kerry …I say go for it. I shall.

AnonymousPagoda...I can’t go for the Pagoda. While I don’t need an SL to be a daily driver per se. I need to put it to more use than what I’d want to demand of a Pagoda. Also, with any of these, one needs to go ahead and have a “5k escrow” sitting there at all times for the inevitable whatevers. I fear that with the additional 8-12k that would have to go into getting a decent Pagoda vs. an ’88-89 560sl, the 5k escrow would really need to be a 10k escrow. I don’t play in that league.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

'Bout the only drop-top I love that doesn't come with a strap across the hood. Still a classic. Good luck.

Patsy said...

My uncle had a late 60s early 70s Mercedes four door sedan. He finally replaced it in the early 90s - said his second Mercedes cost more than his first house.

Anonymous said...

Hah! "at present".....

This is what makes you a great flim-flam man, Dear ADG. Never give 'em a chance to say "no".


JKG said...

This has always been the size, vintage and color of my Prussian car-lust: 1975 450 SEL in "English red."


Mrs. Blandings said...

My dad had a 1960 190. Red. Bone steering wheel and shift knob, tan interior. Even though I now realize it was his mid-life crisis car (it arrived just before my step-mother) I still want one. Gawd, I loved that car. Get it. Let LFG name it. My dad did; his was "Harry."

Gawd, I loved that car.

Donald said...

Thanks for bringing back some of my own childhood memories--also from the sixties--in the beginning of your post.

I grew up in the Midwest, and no matter how well-off you were, you drove American. The wealthiest guy in town owned the company where my dad worked, and he treated himself to a new Cadillac every other year. Doctors and Lawyers would drive Plymouths! A Mercedes was a real rarity. I recall seeing only two in my population 100,000 town.

Anyway, we live in a much more affluent land now.

Good luck,

Anonymous said...

One of the best secrets in the Army is being stationed in Stuttgart, DE; home of MB and Porsche. I have taken tours of both factories, lusted after their latest products and have been served cappuccinos by beautiful blondes in their respective flagship showrooms. You can even take test drives on the autobahn! One tour of the MB Museum, an older gentleman, who was a tour guide, once he found out that that I was an American, echoed your lament of Benz’s losing their soul and look like “Japanese toys”. Great post! Bob Macaraeg

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Love Prussia and love Mercedes. Have been driving them for years.

Currently in the market for an old SL to complement my old E320. Also considering Porsche.

BMW? Driven by Young Money-types, spoiled daddy's girls, and Asian yuppies, according to my observations.

Where I come from we pronouce it "LIE-yur", but sometimes "b*stard", "@sshole", and "motherf#cker" will suffice.

Anonymous said...

Funny, where I come from we use those terms to describe stockbrokers and investment banking types.

Barima said...

I am so glad we're e-friends

My mother has a 1980s 300 series SL in Ghana - a beautiful burgundy colour with a thin grey stripe along the chassis makes it such an enticing sight. I've long pledged to make it mine one day

Drive safe,


Summer is a Verb said...

Have ya seen my post today??? I think you'll liiike ittt...XXOO

mistermidwester said...

My first "CAR" was a 1980 Volvo GLE and I have more love for that slightly-rounded boxy beast than anything I've driven since. Talk about a solid "thud" when closing the door; that thing was sort of like driving a miniature 4-door Sherman around. I was hit from behind not once, but twice in it and both times drove away without so much as a scratch. It always seemed to have one minor issue (power window motor on one door, etc), but in 15 years never left me stranded by the road.

Excuse me, I have to go now, I think I'm going to cry...

If the SL checks, get it. That thing is super-fire sweet.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Anon @ 11:57 AM ~ Lawyers appropriating other people's pejoratives? F*cking parasites. True to type, I suppose.

ADG said...

Ok y'all....settle down here about the investment bankers v. lawyers. There are good and bad eggs in all professions. I've already posited on my lawyer beliefs...they've saved my ass...literally and they've demonstrated ,in the case of divorce lawyers,the most despicable, predatory behaviors possible. The same I'm sure can be said for stockbrokers as well I suppose. Let's keep the comments focused on my soon to be money pit from Stuttgart.

Anonymous said...

My apologies to you ADG for my dust up with LBF. My comments were intended for humor. I have myself had to experience the pitbull behavior of a divorce lawyer so I understand the feelings. However, as a deal lawyer I count bankers as clients. LBF and I probably have more in common then he thinks....OPM*(but I suppose divorce lawyers do too)....ala Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities:

"Yes. Just imagine a bond is a slice of cake, and you didn't bake the cake, but everytime you hand somebody a slice of the cake, a tiny little bit comes off, like a little crumb, and you can keep that." Judy was smiling and so was Campbell, who seemed to realize that this was a joke, a kind of fairy tale based on what her daddy did. "Little crumbs?" she said encouragingly. "Yes, said Judy. "Or you have to imagine little crumbs, but a lot of little crumbs. If you pass around enough slices of cake, then pretty soon you have enough crumbs to make a gigantic cake".

Again, my apologies......now pull the trigger on SL and let us know.

Thanks for your efforts....your blog is always a great read.

*Other People's Money

Anonymous said...

My father wanted one ever since he was a child too. One day he came across one for sale at a local mechanic that had been stored for years and barely run. It only had 60k miles on it and everything was original. Total barn find if there ever was one. He bought it for $3k, and restored it himself. He now has a near perfect 1975 450SL, dark green with saddle leather interior. My uncle did the same with a late 60s something pagoda top. We used to race it through the back roads near his house in Fairfax to our favorite golf course.

When I was born my parents had matching Mercedes, my father's was red and my mother's was light blue. I grew up riding around in them, probably why I have such an affinity for the Prussian auto industry today.

As for me, my first car was a 1987 BMW 535is (white with red leather, I want it back), then I had a 1995 BMW 318is (perfect blend of agility and fuel efficiency), then a Land Rover Discovery (would have kept it were I not a poor college kid unable to spend his tuition on $80 fillups), and then I made a mistake and bought an Infiniti Q45. Where it not for the ridiculously comfortable seats, I would probably refuse to drive it. In fact, I hated it so much that I left it parked for years at my parent's house while I finished college. It has all the character of bland oatmeal and thrills me about as much as hearing Ben Stein read the tax code. It's little wonder I find myself drawn to making my next car a Prussian wondercar. Methinks either a Benz 300CDT, a new Mini Cooper, or some BMW something or other.

ADG said...

David...."an Infiniti Q45" ...after all the preceding superb Germanic experiences? Are you freakin' crazy? WTF.

Scale Worm said...

Poking about in my part O' the woods and found this dynamic duo. 'merican AND Prussian.

you can have you cakes and drive them too...

Anonymous said...

Crazy without a doubt, especially because I bought it the day before I was scheduled to test drive a late 90s 7 series (the last of the boxy ones, you know, before they looked like giant Nissans). I still kick myself for that one. Hence why I shall realign myself on the Prussian path with my next ride.

ADG said...

Scale...I want the Caddie.

David...either get back in Prussian shape or I'm thinkin' the only thing that's gonna cure you is an ass-whippin.

Lisa said...

The first photo reminded me of the car most prominent in my childhood, the (ersatz)wood-paneled station wagon. My brother dubbed it the "Mercury land-barge". Provided good service to my mom in hauling us all around but didn't do squat when a certain 16-year-old with a barely dried-ink driver's license tried to drive it down a recently rain-soaked dirt road. Had to call dad/local farmer to haul me out of that one.
Thanks for the stroll down the muddy dirt road.

Mark Willenbrock said...

Just a tiny point. Land Rovers are always called Land Rovers. Not 'Rovers'. Rover made cars, beautifully until the mid 70's when the unions destroyed quality. Land Rover made the four wheel drive vehicles that eventually became Range Rover etc. Rovers were driven by the Queen, as were Land Rovers. Mrs Thatcher was driven in a Rover. You local solicitor would have driven a Rover (no need to elongate any vowels). A gentleman farmer would have had a Range Rover. He would also have had a Land Rover, possibly for his gamekeeper. He would not have had a Rover. A stockbroker might well have had a Range Rover; or a Rover; but never a Land Rover. I hope that's clear.