How good were those days: us, the little nippers, with the top trump cards in our hands. The one with the top trump in his hand was king. Vehicles of the calibre of a Mercedes Benz 450 SEL 6.9 had the quality of being one. 286 HP, 550 NM torque, at that time, the highest torque of any German personal vehicle, a top speed of 225 km/h and reached 100 km/h in just 7.4 seconds. My, my, that was the genuine article! If any of the other players still wanted to protest, they were quickly and convincingly defeated with the argument: “My 6.9 also has air suspension!” Then there was peace and the winner was decided.
Do you still remember that sweets advert … the sweets with the delicious caramel taste? Yes, those! And now, close your eyes for a moment and imagine sitting on your grandfather’s lap and he is talking about Aunt Elisabeth’s /8 and his first Mercedes Benz, a W180 which the family took on their first Austrian holiday. And at some point, as if nothing had happened, he asks, with a telling smile: “And, my boy, shall we go for a ride in the Mercedes (the grandfather then had a tail fin)?” What do you think the boy thought, his eyes lighting up at the thought?
Over the last decades, Mercedes Benz designed many automotive gems which people are still talking about today. Although with the small difference that these little rascals grew up a long time ago and yet are still children at heart. Their hearts suddenly beat faster when, from nothing, a 280SE C, a tail fin, or perhaps even a wing door model turns around the street corner, or when, at Bensheim castle, for example an SSK trumpets from afar like a formidable baritone.
In the meantime, the small boy has become a grown up image of a man who knows that today it holds something … not just for the memories, but something much more beautiful: he overcame the child within and first enjoyed Aunt Elisabeth’s /8 and then grandfather’s tail fin, with which he linked so much experience, but you already heard that, even then.
With all this emotionally charged enthusiasm for the past decades of automobile culture from Sindelfingen, it isn’t just the fans, but also the notorious complainers out of your “friendship circle” who speak up and say: “You already know that the fenders look nasty, you need new hydraulic tubes, your pontoon joint shafts need done, right?”
How good are those days: …but we are not alone. As well as Ifam (Interessengemeinschaft für alte Mercedes-Fahrzeuge), MVC (Mercedes Veterans Club), Retro Classica, Techno Clasica and Vetrama, there are many valuable addresses: these are enthusiasts who have made a job out of their passion. There is an address that has to be mentioned: Mr Niemöller and his team in Mannheim. As early as the 1970s, this began to grow into what has become an institutional address for lovers of old Mercedes Benz cars today. The company does not just offer spare parts, it also reproduces them. “We don’t have it”, doesn’t exist there. Do you need a back light for a pontoon? Niemöller has it! Do you need an air channel for your 190 SL? Not a problem!
And thus, the circle continues in a harmonious fashion. What once was, is today more than ever: “ a historic Mercedes in front of your door and Niemöller Mercedes Benz classic car spare parts will tidy it up for you.”
PS: The 6.9 described at the beginning has a clear nickname among the nippers: Löffelmann’s hunting dog. This is sufficient as a slogan for everyone to understand that the writing was on the wall.