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Me And Mercedes - A Personal View

by Andrew Carter

posted in Automotive

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I have a friend who is very much into his cars, and quick with an opinion based on a couple of decades around the motor industry. He tells me categorically that the best marque in the world today is Mercedes Benz. This from a man whose last car he got to collect from the factory in Stuttgart, such was its level of luxury. He's been telling me for years that we should have one, but I've always regarded them as too expensive - beyond our means.
Back in 2008, when we wanted to invest in a Taxi in Africa, we ended up buying a Nissan Bluebird from Belgium for a family in the Gambia - this because of their reliability, price and the fact that it was built in the UK. What our African friend really wanted though, was a Mercedes (just out of our pocket unfortunately). This because they are seen as indestructible, desirable, unbreakable the world over. No wonder so many city taxi fleets around the world rely on the brand.
So, this year, we've finally caved in, and have bought a turn of the century E-Class estate. The 'E', or 'Executive' Class that we now own is a silver (with some rust bubbles thrown in, E240. The class has been in production since 1993, and ours is the second (W210, "New Eyes") of the four generations currently on the roads around the world - the one with the round headlights and the flatter nose. The fifth generation should be with us in 2016.
We love our Merc. She's the size of a small barge, but still has a half-decent turning circle; a fairly large family with fairly large dogs can be comfortably accommodated; her 'toy' level is genuinely 'Executive' (rain sensors, headlamp washers, integrated dog guard, CD multichanger etc. etc.); and it's a smooth, powerful ride with the benefits of a 2.6 V6 170 HP engine, a good automatic box and cruise control, and the downside (therefore) of poor fuel consumption. At only 130,000 miles the engine is barely broken in - one of the main selling points of the brand being that their engines go on and on.
Is the Merc a Granddad's car? Maybe. As the Honda Civic is driven by elderly gentlemen in flat caps, so the Merc seems to be for empty-nesters with beards, a good salary and a sound sense of what life is about: these are people who have 'arrived'. The car speaks of affordable luxury, understated elegance, reliability and status, a great big scary wolf in the clothing of a well-bred sheep. Actually the range includes a wide variety today, from small A Class family cars to the huge salons beloved of dictators through the decades; from the 4 wheel drive wagons to the very quick sports versions.
One thing's for sure, the manufacturer has been at it a long time. Herr Benz made the world's first automobile back in 1886, and the first Mercedes branded car was made in 1901. The 1926 merger founded Mercedes Benz and the three pointed star trademark still familiar worldwide. I discovered I wanted one in the twenty noughties, now I own one - it makes me happy.
About the Author: Andrew is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with twenty years agricultural (mainly Pigs and Research) experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automotive industry. He's now breeding bait / garden worms and selling quality used cars, the latter being on show at http://www.dlfmotors.com, the former shortly available on-line!

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