Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting the Editor, I have read “his” magazine for ten years, and have seen him being interviewed on television. I have found that his views are well thought out, and it is not often that he is wrong, even though at times I have not liked what he has said, probably because it is true.
He has written that the Mercedes-Benz is the Best Car in the World, and he has been attacked by people who either do not like what he says, or who do not know the relative merits of the two marques.
The Editor has at no time said the Rolls-Royce is a bad make of car, but he has said that Mercedes-Benz is better.
Any open-minded car enthusiast who sees the two cars parked side by side can see at a glance which is the better.
The Rolls is beautifully made, but it is not very practical, whereas the Mercedes is also beautifully made but is also very practical, so on this simple fact, the Mercedes comes out on top. The basic engineering is truly wonderful in both cars so I have no gripe there.
Body Shape.—The Rolls has a high bonnet line, so that the driver cannot see the near-side wing, and the rear window is akin to looking out of a porthole. If I had to drive a Silver Cloud all day, this would tire me quicker than anything else. When sitting in a 220SEb or 300SE it is possible to see all four corners of the car without turning around. I agree that you do not need to watch your tail in the mirror but this shows the all-round visibility. Of course one can also see both front wings, and so place the car quickly and effortlessly.
Interior.—The Rolls is luxurious but it is not very practical for a car.
(1) The instruments are not directly in line with the driver.
(2) There is a wonderful silver, sorry chrome-plated button in the centre of the steering wheel, so placed that if the driver should be involved in an accident, he will be crucified against his driving seat. Not very pleasant.
(3) The mirror is placed to give someone a real good smack in the teeth. Rolls have a bench front seat. The mirror is fixed in place like the Queen Mary at anchor.
(4) Rolls-Royce have not got a contoured steering wheel after all these years as the Best.
(5) I have yet to see a Rolls with anatomically shaped seats.
(6) The door levers and window winders are not recessed: another source of injury.
(7) The facia is a beautiful piece of wood, hand carved and polished, just the job for a split skull.
Just to keep things level, the Mercedes-Benz has:
(1) All the instruments in front of the driver.
(2) The steering-wheel boss is padded.
(3) The mirror breaks off on contact.
(4) The steering wheel is contoured, just feel one, one day.
(5) All models have anatomically shaped seats, front and rear.
(6) The door levers, etc., are recessed.
(7) The facia is padded. The Mercedes range also boasts first-degree air-conditioning as standard.
Oh yes, when are Rolls-Royce, said to be Best in the World going to fit independent suspension, air suspension, disc brakes made under licence, self-locking differential and fuel injection?
If the best car in the world and the most advanced car in the world are not the same vehicle, is the most advanced car more advanced than the best car, and if it is, why isn’t it the best? Then again, if the best car is better than the most advanced car, how can it be less advanced? I suspect that you, Sir, are trying to have your car and drive it. Motor Sport is without doubt the best and the most advanced magazine of its kind in the world.
[No, I don’t think so, unless, perchance, I was dreaming of a front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz 300SE. In fact, a car can be very advanced in design without being constructionally the best, while a good all-round car, by perfection of construction allied to modern but not so advanced design, may well be the better car on the road. The Rover turbine car is more advanced than any production model, but is not yet regarded as good enough to market.—Ed.).