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Enthusiasts and Enthusiasm - Our Relationships to our Cars

Started by John Hubertz, 19 February 2006, 12:31 PM

John Hubertz

Note - I've started this new thread because I love the reply from Michael D  to a comment I put in the old climate control thread.....

Quote from: michaeld on 19 February 2006, 10:39 AM
Yeah to that.  You clearly seem to love your MBZ more than your dog, or else you'd make him quit smoking!
I was playing around in my interior trying to see how I could access the firewall when I bumped my head into the wood panelling.  And it's real wood, not that plastic crap that I've had on every other car I've ever owned.  Mind you, real wood hurts your head more than plastic when you bump your head on it, but it's a touch of elegance that I really love.  It's all those little details that count.
P.S. I hope you don't let your dog smoke in the car.  It makes the interior smell.

I'd love for people to reply with a picture or thoughts on how they feel about their car or cars....  current car, first car, cars in general.

Here are my thoughts from the original thread....

I'm beginning to notice a wonderful thread of similarity across all these discussions....

No matter where in the world we live, no matter the options or Country of origin...  it would appear that every single Mercedes owner is convinced that his or her car is the pinnacle of goodness....

I'll keep my USA bumpers and my all-steel top and auto temp, as al (European-born) races past me in his full-on euro 6.9, and others carefully restore half-million km 300SD's.

Whether yellow or graphite, 6.9 or 2.8, it would appear these automobiles inspire loyalty beyond the ken of ordinary cars.  April cannot come soon enough, when I will meet my new true love.


John Hubertz
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
(Hunter S. Thompson) 

1977 450SEL (Max Headroom)
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Well, what else can I say? The activity on this forum shows the quality of the people who own and drive these cars. Everyone here is great and I feel privileged being a part of it. :)
1977 450SE [Brilliant Red]
2006 B200


I've got something to share here,
Now, aside from the fact that John might very well be an unfit dog owner over the whole k-9 smoking thing, he really strikes me as a great guy from his work relating to this forum.  He's responded to a couple of my car queries in very helpful ways, and I've really appreciated his help.  Our forum administrator is likewise in that class of guys who serve other people who share a common passion.  Kudus to you guys!

Now, as to the substance of John's post, I was just at another forum I belong to - - and read a recent post titled something like "What is going on?!?!" from someone named mbz300sdl.  He's really upset about his perception of a real downslide in MB quality.  I added my own two cents about what I perceived to be the problem, w/o maligning MB.  But the gist of the discussion generated by the post was that MB is no longer the king of quality as it used to be.

The relationship between the two posts is this: the w116s seem to me to have all the benefits of MB quality, and few if any of the downsides of the contamination of hi-tech whiz bang gadgetry that we're seeing on today's cars.

I think this applies to most all of the w116 cars, but the 450 sel's were among the highest priced cars of their day - they cost as much as two nicely equipped cadillacs (and of course, the 6.9's took that price tag and ran right through the roof with it).  There was a commitment to quality, handling, reliability, and safety that was second to nothing.  Most of the owners of these cars were professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers) who maintained their cars far better than other car owners simply because of the high cost of their investment.  And many of us today are benefitting from those owners who took such great care of cars that were built incredibly well-designed and well-built to begin with.

Rush (the rock band, not the talk-show host) has a song titled 'Red  Barchetta' that I've thought of (and I confess, sung!) while driving my 450.  The song is about a man who stumbles across this incredible auto from a bygone age that belonged to his uncle.  He removes all the debris that's been hiding it, and it fires right up.  And he takes it for a drive... and it's like magic.  That's kind of how I feel about my car.

Corvette is making a 505 hp sports car.  I read a review of the beast.  Among other things, the reviewer said, "Inside, I noted the the understated decor of the interior and the hard-plastic surrounding the gearshift lever seemed oddly out of keeping with the car's flashy exterior and $65,690 price tag."  Well, my point is 1) that I am one of those guys who are content to drive along at the speed limit who could frankly care less about the power advertised in today's cars; and 2) boy, I like having a quality berl wood shifter - and REAL wood in general - in my car.  My 450 sel is not a 6.9, but it's more than powerful enough to blow by most of the cars on the road.  And there is a quality to the ride and to the overall driving experience that we're just not seeing anymore.

When I drive my 116, I experience a touch of magic.  I think that many of you regular forum members know what I'm talking about.


Quote from: michaeld on 20 February 2006, 06:01 PMWhen I drive my 116, I experience a touch of magic.  I think that many of you regular forum members know what I'm talking about.

Indeed, indeed!

The (particularly electronic) whizz-bangery has doubtless been a major factor in the downward spiral of reliability in modern Benzes - particularly since the mid-'90s. Quite apart from being (a) overcomplicated and (b) miniaturised - and thus having to be replaced rather than being repairable - a vehicle's engine bay (and similar places) is an inhospitable environment for electronics: heat, moisture, vibration. A recipe for trouble.

All that is compounded by the Schrempp decade ('95-'05). Dr Jurgen Schrempp (a.k.a. "Mr Margins"), with the board of management he headed, was responsible for - amongst other dubious "advances" - reducing the development time of a new model from the former five years to 32 months. This left insufficient time for thorough testing of reliability and longevity. The Schrempp board managed, in one decade, to destroy M-B's enviable century-long reputation for reliability.

I have read one - just one - defence of Schremmp; I have read countless comments similar to the above - many of them from long-experienced motoring journalists, M-B specialist service personnel and dealers, senior club members ...

How long it will take to undo the damage is anyone's guess.

I'm sticking with my Oldies-but-Goodies.
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As I nod approvingly to all that's said above me, I'll just throw in this adapted old saying that sums up my experience with our common interest: a non 116 owner, no explanation is possible.  To a fellow owner, no explanation is needed.

1973 350SE, my first & fave