As I collected our things from the glove box, the trunk, and various cubby holes and cervices, and sat in the car for the last time, just before I was to hand over the keys to the new owner, I wasn’t ready to start bawling like a five-year old, but I wasn’t completely detached from the moment either.
A little pang in the stomach, a little regret that I would never roll down the highway again, with its M-B star hood emblem leading the way and my elbow out the window. I always seemed to drive that way, because the bottom of the window frame was at the right height — a perfect armrest — and because the air conditioning never worked, from day one.
Air conditioning was always a fair way down on its “need to get fixed” priority list and never had a real chance to move up. Keeping it in its place were other various recurring ailments, which got the better of me, and our bank account.
I always had a “thing” for these well-engineered “baby” Mercedes models — timeless styling, smooth and torque-laden inline six, Autobahn-approved handling.
And we shared some good times.
I once interviewed Dr. Werner Breitschwerdt, the chief designer of the car, former CEO of Mercedes-Benz, and current inductee in the European Automotive Hall of Fame. After our talk he came out to the parking lot and game me a personal engineering tour of my own car.
Another highlight was getting stuck on Sauble Beach in Ontario. Some friendly beach volleyball guys, volunteered to pull me out of the sand and water with their 4x4, but only if I personally attached the chain to something structural — they were towing people out all day, and were tired of tearing off bumpers. I basically had to dig myself under the car, to get the chain around a cross member. But it worked. So I got a little muddy (see photo).
At any rate, she's down the road now. I see now that I was just a temporary custodian.
I’ll end this column, and my salute to this particular Mercedes-Benz 190, with a line from a Neil Young song.
The line is also the title of the song, an elegy to Young’s first car, a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse … Long May You Run.