So, the Mercedes-Benz 300E has found a new home. As I write, it’s wafting its way to Staffordshire and I’m looking at a fairly small pile of cash. Large saloons really can be almost worthless.
Happily, I didn’t pay very much for it in the first place, negotiating a very healthy discount on the £700 that the previous owner was hoping for. I still feel I paid a little too much, which tells you just how much metal it’s possible to get for your money.
I bought the Mercedes purely because I wanted a bit of a treat. I think it was a rebellion against the feeble power of the 2CV and the gruff, rattling soundtrack of the diesel BX. I wanted a car with actual power and the sort of refinement that makes a journey a pleasure rather than a chore. On this count, the Mercedes certainly delivered. Driving long distance was very much its forte, where it would sit at motorway speeds in incredible serenity. Spending six hours at the wheel genuinely did feel like no more than an hour. It even made the M25 darned near bearable!
It didn’t take long to scratch that itch though, as long distance journeys are not something we often undertake. Good as it undoubtedly was, it was a thirsty ol’ Herbert that couldn’t match anything else on the fleet for practicality. A point proved when the Golf happily swallowed a mountain bike this morning. If anything, it was a bit too smooth as well. Unless you were really giving it the beans, which could easily result in 16mpg, it was a bit too muted – a bit too refined. I prefer the growl of a Xantia V6, which sounds menacing and loaded with potential even when pottering around a car park.
There’s also the fact that it is huge and hefty. For the endless, twisting roads of mid-Wales, it’s about as ideal as a front door made of wafers. I’m sure it’ll be happier pounding the motorways and highways of the English midlands.
In other news, I now have some funds to spend on the other cars. The Discovery needs two new tyres, the 2CV still needs its brake overhaul and the Golf needs rear shoes and handbrake cables. I’m desperately (and perhaps optimistically) hoping that the expenditure on the fleet will then ease a bit. Whenever you buy a new car, you can expect to shell out on bringing it up to your standards. What I’m really hoping (as I’ve hoped before!) is that the fleet will settle down now.
The signs are good at the moment. Rachel drove the Golf for the first time this morning and described it as very likeable – though she found the steering a bit vague in the dead-ahead. She has a point. She does agree that it is nice and responsive in the bends though, and the low-down torque of the engine was certainly a good thing – reminding her of the Mini. I am surprised at how much I like that engine. It isn’t particularly joyous to listen to and doesn’t deliver anything approaching excitement – it’s just smooth and effective.
Anyway, place bets now for how long this ‘happy’ fleet will last…