Buy­ing Guide

Solid, prac­ti­cal, stylish and rare – does the Mercedes W114/ W115 fit the clas­sic bill?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

Mercedes W114/W115

‘Plenty of Ger­man taxis served as tes­ta­ment to their qual­ity’

Re­plac­ing the ‘Fin­tail’ Mercedes was never go­ing to be easy for Mercedes-Benz, but while these won­der­ful barges looked lovely, the ori­gins of their styling was rooted firmly in the 1950s. The job of bring­ing them up to date fell to de­signer Paul Bracq, who came up with a neat de­sign for the new model, dubbed W115 (for the four-cylin­der cars) and W114 (for the six-cylin­ders).

Launched in 1968, the range re­tained the stacked head­lamp styling that buy­ers loved but there was an all-new chas­sis and re­vised rear sus­pen­sion, ditch­ing the pre­vi­ous swing axles for semi­trail­ing arms. It could be or­dered as a sa­loon or coupé, and while the en­gine range would be­come a bit baf­fling – the 2.5-litre 250 model would later gain a larger 2.8 mo­tor, but keep the 250 badge – the so­lid­ity of the en­gi­neer­ing un­der­pin­ning the W114/W115 was never in doubt. Plenty of stel­lar-mileage Ger­man taxis have served as tes­ta­ment to their ro­bust build qual­ity and im­pres­sive longevity, and al­most two mil­lion ex­am­ples had been made by the time the range was re­placed by the W123 in 1976.

Not all ex­am­ples stood the test of time so be wary of cor­ro­sion, but find the £10,000plus needed for a sound one and you’re in for a typ­i­cally Ger­manic treat. That in­te­rior might be on the aus­tere side, and equip­ment lev­els are mod­est un­less the first buyer got busy with the op­tions list, but it’s spa­cious, com­fort­able and ex­tremely durable. Throw in a de­cent-sized boot and you’ve the recipe for an ex­tremely prac­ti­cal fam­ily clas­sic.

Don’t be put off by the per­ceived lack of ex­cite­ment from the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. B-road thrill-seek­ers should prob­a­bly look else­where, but if you’re the sort of owner who ap­pre­ci­ates the three-pointed star’s qual­ity en­gi­neer­ing, then you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

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