Many credit the W201 190 range to be the first of the smaller, attainable cars from Mercedes-Benz, adopting the nickname “Baby Benz” shortly after its introduction. Look back towards the beginnings of the company pre World War II, you’ll find another kind of “baby” Benz, the W15 170. The worldwide economic downturn of the 1920s drove Mercedes to create a new model for lesser classes, and in 1931, they debuted this six-cylinder sedan to much acclaim. With 32 horsepower, you aren’t going to get anywhere quickly, but it did approach a 60 mph top speed which was decent for the time. This example is for sale in North Carolina and was sourced from an overseas collection.
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I was watching a very interesting piece about mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders last night; a trend which started in the 1980s, some people have been thrown into jail quite literally for the rest of their lives for being involved – even in a minor role – in the war on drugs. In drew into sharp contrast the dichotomous nature of the 1980s, where as a society we declared that drugs were a horrible thing while simultaneously celebrating a community of music, art and even Wall Street that was built around them. In some aspects, one can see that dichotomy in some of the tuner cars from the 1980s, and I think that the mega Mercedes-Benz products are a great example. Starchy, upright and conservative, Mercedes-Benz used to be the standard by which engineering was measured; the automotive bar for luxury automobiles. Yet, at the same time, various tuners took them and turned them into monsters; lowering the suspension, fitting giant wheels and motors, they transformed the conservative Republican into a Punk Rock idol. Some of these creations are more celebrated than others; AMG, for example, has a near faultless reputation which is backed even by Mercedes-Benz themselves, who decided to buy them later in life. Others are…well, not so highly regarded, such as the numerous Koenig specials that were created from otherwise unassuming ’80s Benzs:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody on Autoscout24.it
Last week we took a look at the big boy of the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL lineup, SL73 AMG. Sandwiched in between the first year the SL73 was offered and the last few years of its production is the SL70 AMG that we see here. As the badge denotes, this SL has a 7.0 liter engine under the hood, a V12 in this case, producing 490 horsepower. The SL70 AMG was a little more common than the SL73 AMG, but not by much, with only 150 produced over a two year production run.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL70 on Mobile.de
The W124 Mercedes-Benz E-class had big shoes to fill when it debuted for the 1986 model year. After all, it was taking over the mid-sized mantle from one of the most legendary and durable Mercedes models of all time, the W123. The W124 became an icon in its own right, expanding the lineup into product niches the W123 never touched, such as a four-place cabriolet and a wicked fast super saloon, the Porsche built 500E/E500. When the W124 first arrived in the US, it could be optioned with a 5-speed manual gearbox, as we see with this 300E here for sale in Florida. The option would be pulled in short order, as there were few takers for an E-class without an automatic gearbox.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300E on eBay
You could say that the Mercedes-Benz R107 has finally attained classic status. This was the Mercedes to aspire to for two decades and spanned a period of great change in automotive performance, safety and technology. Through it all, the R107 kept going on and on and on. Towards the end, we in the US market had but one model to choose from, the 560SL. Only Japan and Australia would see this model sold new. The rest of the world could chose from two V8 models, the 500SL and 420SL and the car we see here, the six-cylinder 300SL. For a car with such a storied number on its boot lid, few here in the US know about it. For the more spirited driver, you could even spec one with a 5-speed manual. This car is so equipped, showing less than 40,000 miles on the clock.