German cars

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71

Sir,

You have entered into my serious notice some years ago as a gallant Champion of the truth, no matter if the people like it or not. Don’t worry since the days of Pilatus the question “what, is truth” remains still to be solved….

When I saw the cartoon in the last November issue “the editor looking at the world with one VW and one Mercedes eye,” I felt that I should do a little towards cementing your position, by telling you of our experiences with these two makes and perhaps, also, why in my humble opinion this must be so.

I may add that I grew up as a boy with my father’s motorcycles around 1900, starting with a range of N.S.U.s and finishing with the 4-cylinder F.N. from Belgium in 1906. Ever since 1907 our family had big and small cars, several fine Italian Fiats, two of Porsche’s Austro-Daimlers, a few American Chryslers in the ‘twenties, four Horch 8s in the ‘thirties up to 1939. The curse of pre-1914 motoring were the tyres and the fuel drawn from the barrels (water and dirt).

In the ‘fifties, beside a fleet of our firm’s Opels and Fords and VWs, we had for private use in 1952 a Mercedes 300 black limousine, in 1954 a Mercedes 220A limousine, in 1956 a Mercedes 220S limousine, the latter replacing the 300 of ’52 after more than 100,000 km.

The 220A of ’54 and the 220S of ’56 are still in use, giving excellent service all the time, the former having 75,000 km., the latter 110,00.0 km. None of all these Mercedes, including the 300, ever had the engine dismantled for valve grinding, neither were major repairs necessary, only a clutch was renewed once or twice and brake linings changed.

These cars give remarkably troublefree motoring, engine and mechanical parts as well as the very spacious body are safe and sound, and free from rattling in spite of their age.

Early in 1963 we bought a 220SE limousine with automatic gearbox and servo steering and a few weeks later a 300SE limousine. These two cars are the younger brothers of the cars mentioned before. This makes it so interesting to see and experience the steady development and refinement of these old basic designs over a period of more than ten years.

The two cars have retained all the good properties of their older brothers and in addition show a smoothness near a steam engine, so that very slow driving is a great pleasure to me for the first time in my life. This is due to petrol-injection, in connection with the automatic transmission. The servo brakes of both cars are excellent and so is the power steering. Immediate starting has never failed so far; it is better than with any carburettor we had.

Of the VWs, I can say that also these cars have been developed during a period of many years by steadily improving the original good qualities to the excellent products of today, doing their duty day after day and year after year, remarkably free from trouble, replacements, etc. This refers to the passenger cars as well asto the transporters we have had since 1950 or so.

I have promised to give you my opinion, why this is so with these two makes. It is so for the same reason, why the old Ford model-T, the “Tin Lizzy,” of the cheapest range and Rolls-Royce at the other end were and are such excellent cars: there is an old Roman saying: “Natura non facit saltus” which may be translated into “Nature turns no somersaults.” This is exactly what these four makes have avoided. Instead they have developed their good products steadily and reasonably over a long period of years, retaining the good basic properties and carefully adding improvements, thus reaching the present state of refinement for their own benefit as well as that of their customers, who certainly can expect to turn remarkably few somersaults [“M.L.T.” will query this however! – ED.] with these excellent cars. That is why they buy them … I am sure there are a few more makes like these. Wise people are on the lookout for them.

Furth. Konrad Kurz