A few days ago we featured a W211 E63 AMG wagon that is one of the baddest long roofs you can buy. In the later half of the 2000’s, getting that kind of power from your wagon was easy. You could ride down to your local Mercedes-Benz dealer, write a large check, then ride off and answer the question that no one ever asked. Why does someone need a station wagon that damn fast? In 1996, it wasn’t that easy. In order to pin your groceries to the back window when you accelerate,Â you needed to do a little more leg work. Enter legendary Mercedes tuner Brabus. This 1996 E430 Brabus 6.0 Wagon located in Estonia was transformed from an adequately powered kombi to supercar with a hatch.
One of the things I’ve liked about moving back to Washington State from the SF Bay Area is that seeing rare, expensive cars is special again. Living next to the most expensive zip code in the country meant that pretty much every luxury car was the top-of-the-line model, from BMW M5s and Alpina B7s to Audi S8s and RS7s to Mercedes-Benz E/S/CLS/SL/ML/G/GL63s and 65s. I got desensitized and disdainful, scowling at the 80 year olds puttering around El Camino Real with 500-600hp on tap. The Mercedes AMG 65 models always caught my attention with their gunmetal wheels as the main giveaway besides the badges, a nearly $200k car just hanging out next to the yoga studio and completely unnoticed by the general public.
Well, they were roughly $200k when new. Depreciation hits them harder than their (transmission-limited) 738 lb-ft of torque and now this twin-turbo V12 GT is roughly a third of its original price. They’re not the most attractive roadsters, but it’s certainly a more balanced design than the “umm… copy-paste-update new shape here!” look of the current R231 SL. This R230 looks a bit more classic in black on black and has the Panoramic Roof option on the folding top so you can see the sky without exposing yourself to the commonfolk. Carbon fiber puts a performance veneer on the interior, but this will never be a canyon carver. It’s a 604hp highway bomber, and hopefully having covered fewer than 12k miles will keep scary-expensive maintenance on the V12 at bay for a while.
Click for details: 2007 Mercedes-Benz Sl65 on eBay
Looking around today’s world, it’s hard to imagine what the next “big thing” might be. Is it Elon Musk’s re-imaging of the entire automobile industry or efforts like his and Richard Branson’s efforts to bring humanity towards Space? Perhaps it’s something much smaller, such as the recent proliferation of drones and smartphones. One thing is for certain; head back to 1880, and it would have been hard to imagine what the three competing inventors in Stuttgart would have produced in a short time. When the first production automobile was unveiled to the public, it was – in fact – far from a guarantee of propulsion. The number of hurdles which Benz and others had to leap in order to create the car boggles the mind. Two recent programs bring this to light; Drive recently did a special on Germany where they highlighted Bertha Benz – the real power behind Karl Benz’s invention – and her 120 mile drive to her home village from Mannheim. The other was a classic race undertaken by Wayne Carini on Chasing Classic Cars when he drove in the Veteran Car Run from London to Brighton. That was significant for a few reasons; it commemorates the ruling that so-called “light locomotives” (read: cars) no longer had to be preceded by a man walking and waving a flag to alert motorists, capping their speed ostensibly at 4 m.p.h.. This ruling took place in 1896, a full decade after the car was introduced – and to commemorate, a few motorists sped along at 14 m.p.h. – the new limit – for the 60-odd mile run with a few light slopes to the seaside community of Brighton. Mr. Carini’s journey didn’t go particularly smoothly, suffering multiple breakdowns and even with full support of a team of mechanics, they couldn’t ultimately make it. It highlighted how far cars have come, but underscored even more greatly the achievement of Bertha Benz, who drove with her two sons in what was an even more primitive design over a distance twice as far as Carini. There was no support team. Not only that, there was no anything – no mechanics, no service stations or gas stations, no cell phones, no navigation. Mrs. Benz needed to repair the car herself, and along the way managed to unintentionally create brake linings and reportedly also suggested the first multi-gearbox to assist in climbing some steep hills, since apparently children had to push her up some slopes. With no gas stations – and, in reality no gasoline, either – Mrs. Benz stopped at the local drug stores to pick up turpentine to feed her husband’s creation. The challenges that these early pioneers undertook were simply amazing, and they set the stage for what would become not luxury item for the rich, but a necessity of the modern world:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen on eBay
Produced from 1971 to 1989, the R107/C107 second longest series in the Mercedes-Benz line up (second only to the G series).Â The R107 was the successor…
Keeping with the flavor of my last post on the Gullwing Sbarro I thought this similar aged take on the classic Benz Gullwing take was…