The unmistakeable face of the S-Class, three-pointed star hood ornament front and center.
As a young boy growing up in Dallas, Texas, these cars were a “dime a dozen,” as my mother used to say. Perhaps they were, but these were the days before Lexus, Infiniti, et al. As common as they may have been in more metropolitan communities, the S-Class was special to me. I admired every line, curve and silhouette. I loved every part of this car. – the ribbon-like door pulls, the unique windscreen wiper patten (if you know, you know,) and most importantly, the “zig-zag” gear shift design that would be copied by most major auto manufacturers about a decade later. Each detail made me swoon. Maybe one is into Architecture or Astronomy… Frank Lloyd Wright, Copernicus would do it for you. For me, however, it was cars. I wouldn’t learn until years later that the architect of this Mercedes-Benz marvel was the famed German automobile designer Bruno Sacco. (More about him in the future.)
Classic and stylish lines of the S-Class.
Years later, in my teens I was finally able to drive one, It was “like butter.” I experienced the same thrill that most kids my age would’ve gotten from a roller coaster ride. This vehicle was a tank, but a beautiful and luxurious tank. It was everything I hoped it would be. I wanted nothing more from a car than what it had to offer. I loved the feel of tugging open the heavy door, the odd, but luxurious “bounce” of sitting in the driver’s seat. The “whine”, rather than chime, that sounded when you slid the key into the ignition. I loved it all. Grasping the door handle, starting that glorious motor and finally guiding the leather-wrapped gearshift handle along its arc into the perfectly calibrated station of “Drive” made me week in the knees. As a youngster, I wondered if I would ever possess such a magnificent example of automotive engineering and design. Indeed, I would.
Form and function were the rule of the interior.
The “zig-zag” gear shift, later emulated by other automakers.
Resident Euro car aficionado Matthew Megar is based in Henderson, Nevada, and is part of TMT America, parent company of Trissl Sports Cars, Schönox HPS North America, and Küberit USA..