Brooks's Cars

My Mercedes

1985 Mercedes 190E 2.0 

 

After the MGB, I knew I'd had enough of convertibles and small cars. I wanted something big and solid, something I could cruise in on the motorway in peace and quiet. I decided to look at Merc's, BMWs, Saabs and Jaguars. No Jags or BMWs came up for sale for £4,500 and I didn't see any Saabs but I did see two Merc's.

The first was a metallic grey one, with alloys, a spoiler, an electric sunroof and an arm rest. I think it was badged up as a 2.6. The price was good but unfortunately it wasn't tidy enough. The driver's seat was badly worn, a rear door was in need of a re-spray as the outer lacquer was peeling and the owner said it had a FSH but he couldn't find it (He later did, but I had bought the other Merc).

The other Merc' was a mustard colour, it had power steering, ABS, a sunroof and heated seats. It was very tidy and drove like new. The stereo was out of a Ford and could have done with being changed. The colour wouldn't have been my first choice but it was by far the tidiest for the money. My offer of £4,400 (in 1992) was accepted.

My friend Nigel Howson, drove me to Sheffield to pick up the car. It was raining very heavily and on the drive back I knew I had bought the right car, the windscreen wiper was coping effortlessly with the rain and the drive was straight, solid, quiet and very reassuring.

I was surprised how many people liked the car. Most couldn't believe how little it cost. I would say, of all the cars I have owned the Mercedes 190E was the one which most people said they'd liked to have owned.

The 190 was great fun in Jersey and one of the best motorway cars I've owned. 70 mph was at 2500 rpm, it cruised well at 90mph and could return 33mpg. This was helped by the econometer on the dashboard. When you accelerated it shot into the red. Its amazing how this changes your driving habits.

I was impressed that a dealer service for a Mercedes was no more than a Ford dealer service for a Sierra. The practicality of the car, the heated windscreen water nozzles meant they wouldn't freeze, the Hazard Triangle, first aid kit & tool kit in the boot. Everything was very solid, no rattles even though the car was 6 years old.

I spent £400 on a service and having the rear brakes replaced. I sold it for £4000 when I thought the CV joints and the clutch were going. I had visions of Porsche sized bills.

The Mercedes 190E: You won’t be disappointed. Make sure you get all the options you want (electric windows etc..) and it will be a car you can afford and it will drive the neighbours green!

I wanted some luxury, electric windows, air conditioning etc. from my next car, so I thought it was time for a Jaguar. I looked at over ten Jaguars over a 4 week period and was disappointed by them, they were rusty and the owner's all seemed to have not owned them for long. I was in need of a car for my forthcoming holiday and a friend of mine was selling his Saab.

 1989 Mercedes 230CE Auto

 

After owning the BMW 316i for 3 years (the longest I've owned a car), I decided it was time for a change. Not the kids, nor the pending house move was going to stop me. I had not given up looking for the perfect car, but I'm convinced that it doesn't exist any more. I wanted something big & luxurious, but quick and agile and of course cheap to run.

I liked my BMW 525e, my Jaguar and my Alfa so I knew I was looking for an automatic. I liked my Mercedes 190 and I had my eye on the E class coupe. The one with the relatively small 2.3 litre engine, I was debating whether the coupe was worth the extra money compared to the E class saloon and I had noticed the E class convertible but they were about double the price of the coupes. I also considered the idea of an older SL and even spending £15,000 on a '92 J reg. but while I was looking a 1991 230CE came up for sale in a Sheffield garage. It was priced right. It was the right colour (metallic dark grey) and it had the right optional extras, leather, air con, alloys and the ABS brakes. So I knew it was the car for me, I bought for £4,000 in 2002.

The Mercedes came with a Full Mercedes Service History, a 4 speed auto box, power steering, remote central locking (with Clifford alarm, TOAD immobilizer and a tracker device), electric sunroof, windows, mirrors & ariel, a Blaupunkt CD player, front & rear fogs, climate control and a cream leather interior and a wooden AMG steering wheel (Plus the original in the boot).

I got 30mpg out of the first tank full and about 17mpg when commuting in Sheffield traffic jams.

The running costs during my 2 year ownership were acceptable even including the £600 spent on repairing a blown head gasket. I only got £2,500 for the car when I sold it (in 2004) which was a bit disappointing.

 

1996 Mercedes C200 Estate Auto

I was looking for a nice estate car for the family.

 

This Mercedes came with a Full Service History, a 5 speed auto box, power steering, remote central locking (with alarm), electric windows, mirrors, a Blaupunkt CD player, front & rear fogs, climate control & cruise control.