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1971 Mercedes-Benz 220 Diesel 4 door

Saw one of these down in the West Bottoms today, only the one I spotted was a really tasty shade of wine red. Similar solid, original, but grubby condition. I’ll take my camera tomorrow and see if I can snap a decent shot of it on my way home from work. It really was a beaut. The hubcaps are painted red to match the bodywork, with the little Mercedes emblem picked out in chrome. I think that is my favorite detail on the car.

I’ve long harbored a bit of a soft spot for these old juggernauts because they are so indisputably stodgy and respectable. This is not a car that was ever chic, hip, or sexy. Stately, proper, faintly aristocratic, but also sluggish, and a bit pompous. If a car could wear spats and a monocle, I reckon this one would.

My first boyfriend’s mother drove an old diesel Merc. Hers was a ’73, if I recall correctly. I didn’t date a rich kid; his dad was a diesel mechanic and had picked up a shelled-out Mercedes for pennies on the original dollar. The previous owner’s son had filled up the tank with gasoline, swiftly rendering the aging luxury car inoperable and practically worthless. Mrs. Weare’s car was an unpleasant butterscotch-pudding-color, but it had cream-colored leather interior with darker brown piping which seemed pretty deluxe to teenaged me. Leather seats tend to hold up beautifully; I’ve seen a number of old cars with leather interiors in nearly perfect shape, while the rest of the car is rusty, shabby, and in a general state of decay.

The best thing about that lumbering old Mercedes was the sound the doors made when you shut them. The entire car was essentially a tank with the tracks taken off and pneumatic tires stuck on. When you shut the door, ever so gently, it made a satisfying clunk. The heavy, wood-trimmed doors hung on stout hinges, and even at 20 years, the car was solid and well-sealed, so the doors didn’t have to be slammed, just given a firm push and whumpclik they were shut and latched.

8 Responses to “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me`”

  1. John says:

    Very nice! As you might imagine, I love this. It kinda goes with the icky Lands’ End jacket. ;)

  2. Mark says:

    The car next to the Mercedes is a fantastic shade of shit brown. I once owned a car that was metalic shit brown with black interior. If I ever have the spare cash/time again before I drop dead, I’m gonna find a suitable project car and paint it metalic shit brown.

    Oh, leather seats will crack and get nasty looking when left out in the sun long enough…happened to my Cadillac. I repaired the seats by removing the upholster, stripping off the affected dye with lacquer thinner and refinishing with this stuff http://www.leatherrenew.com/ they stock all the auto maker OEM colors.

  3. Meetzorp says:

    I’m pretty sure the doody-colored car is a 1940 Ford.

  4. Mark says:

    Yes, it’s a 1940 Ford, the iconic rear split window gives it away. I’m surprised this one survived in stock form. Most were hacked into hot-rods and customs decades ago.

  5. Meetzorp says:

    There’s a ’48 Ford coupe parked in a shed along one of my cycling routes that I ogle and daydream about periodically. Looks to be complete and solid. My Dad had a ’48 Ford Coupe back in the day. Good looking car, IMO.

  6. Mark says:

    The 46-48 cars were warmed over 42s…..no cars built during the war years. The big thing was the new “modern” 49, the Mercury version being especially desirable today. They even wrote songs about it.

    Hey now mama, you look so fine
    Ridin’ ’round in your Mercury 49
    I’m crazy ’bout a Mercury
    I’m crazy ’bout a Mercury
    I’m gonna buy me a Mercury and cruise it up and down the road

    Mercury went off to the big turnpike up in the sky in 2010.

  7. Meetzorp says:

    Yeah, but all the same, I like that body style, and the coupe especially. I’ll be featuring that very car in an upcoming blog, so you can see from the pictures that it’s a pretty fine specimen of the species.

    The Merc was a fresh new look, but a bit flash for my tastes. For my money, the first post-war generation Ford tudor sedan with the “bullet” grille would be the car to have. They were properly modern looking. Good, simple, straighforward styling.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I tend to have a penchant for the cars toward the bottom of the range of any given make or model. I can’t exactly explain why other than to say that I am not usually a bells-and-whistles sort of gal.

  8. Mark says:

    The 49 in the linked article is interesting in that it is a fully stock restoration that retains its original flat I6. Most of the 6 cylinder cars were used for parts, or had the flat in-line replaced with an overhead value engine of some type.

    Yes, let’s see that 48 you keep writing about.

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