It's been a month since I bought my 1984 300D turbo diesel, and I'm still absolutely smitten. I wake up in the morning, look out my window, and see the beautiful, white Mercedes staring back at me, ready to tackle the day.
The paint is starting to crack a little, and some of the vinyl is starting to fade, but for a car that's been in the hot, Southern Californian sun for the better part of 30 years, it looks about as good as any car.
I unlock the driver's door and hear a little creak as the trunk and fuel filler unlock, open the vault-like doors, and put the key in the ignition. Turning it into the second position, I hear the archaic buzz reminding me to fasten my seat belt, as well as the antennae rise from the rear of the car. As soon as the yellow glow plug lamp extinguishes, I turn the key, and the loud, clattery, syncopated purr of the 3.0L inline-five diesel engine greets me.
The seats ride on springs, the suspension (to borrow Jeremy Clarkson's quote) is softer than the journalism in an in-flight magazine, the steering is responsive but relaxed, and there's an air of elegance and class about the whole thing. It truly floats.
Recently, I drove from my home in suburban Southern California to Malibu and back, driving in mixed conditions - ranging from the notorious LA freeway traffic, to cruising comfortably at 50 mph on Pacific Coast Highway, to an 80/85 mph jaunt on the 10 East - and the trusty, reliable Mercedes returned 27 MPG. Coming from a car that got 22 in the best-possible highway conditions, it was a good feeling.
My experiences with Mercedes-Benz dealers have been excellent.
Overall, this car is just that - it is a car. I like to think that when Karl Benz built the first car over 125 years ago, this was the vision he had in mind.
There's a reason Mercedes-Benz's slogan is "The Best or Nothing".