Der große Mercedes and friends

Diego Rodriguez caught some small amount of flak for his list of the ten most glamorous post-WWII automobiles, partly for leaving off the E-Type Jag, and partly for including, of all things, the second-generation Toyota Prius.

I’d defend the Prius on this count. In 2004, when that version hit American streets, “hybrid” was still a word you associated with Gregor Mendel, and Toyota’s little humpback, bristling with high tech, was a lot less Corolla-esque than its predecessor; if you remembered carburetors and ignition points and such, the Prius was a little bit scary, and I contend that one irreducible attribute of glamour is the ability to instill fear.

Which justifies the inclusion of the Mercedes-Benz 600, for many years routinely featured in motion pictures where a large, sinister-looking limousine was called for. Fewer than 3000 were built between 1964 and 1981, and most of them, I suspect, were built to order. Daimler-Benz, seeing that its 3.0-liter inline-six was inadequate to the task, ordered up a monstrous (for them, and for the time, anyway) 6.3-liter V8, good for a conservative 250 hp and enough torque — 369 lb-ft — to pull a couple of tanks.

Then again, if you want scary, imagine this: in 1968, the Benz boffins dropped that same hulking V8 into the one-ton-lighter S-class bodyshell, creating the 300SEL 6.3, which apart from a tiny (and removable!) “6.3” badge was indistinguishable from its brandmates until someone hit the gas. Which means, I suppose, that it wasn’t all that glamorous, unless you were lucky enough to be inside at the time.


  1. CT »

    7 August 2009 · 12:54 pm

    Deft use of the eszett in the title. Lends this post a Teutonic air. :)

  2. CGHill »

    7 August 2009 · 1:04 pm

    Which, of course, looked like hell in TweetDeck, which doesn’t understand these cutesy HTML entities.

  3. John Salmon »

    7 August 2009 · 2:36 pm

    Interesting list, I suppose, but what’s that Range Rover doing there?

  4. CGHill »

    7 August 2009 · 3:11 pm

    Cluttering up a spot better occupied by an E-Type Jag, if you ask me.

RSS feed for comments on this post