Mercedes R129: One to Watch.

First of all I’ll start by apologising. I’m apologising because I’m about to define a late 80’s- early 90’s car as a “classic” and I’m well aware it may make some readers feel a little old, but as someone born in the 90’s. I feel your pain… It happens to us all eventually and now it’s finally happening to me. There is nothing more sobering than a car from the year you were born being referred to as a “classic”, but we are where we are.The classic car market of course is more or less totally dictated by men who after some time can afford to buy the cars they aspired to have when they were teenagers, by which time those cars have become “classic” and are far less available. It’s therefore one of the most easy to predict markets there is (although I think it will start becoming less predictable over time as there are now so very many cars in the market, which means far less “it” cars). But I digress, let’s talk about my new favourite classic but let’s call it a “modern classic” so I don’t feel old πŸ˜‚The Mercedes R129 SL is something I’ve just started to see grace the streets of West London a little more often recently. It’s very hard to find cars that are cool, but don’t make you look like a wanker (anyone in a Jaguar E type looks like a wanker, anyone in a vintage Aston IS a wanker, I don’t make the rules, it’s science). The thing about a well preserved 80s-90s car is that on the wanker-cool matrix, these cars lean heavily in favour to being very very cool. And that’s because this was a time when what it meant to be cool was changing. In came new beauty standards in the car industry – a car didn’t have to be curvy and wooden inside to be cool, she cool be angular and slick, she could look like with the press of a button she could fly to the moon. Cars before wore tweed suits and brogues, but the 90s car was something different, these cars wore sunglasses and leather jackets. The difference between a pre 70’s car and a post 80’s car is the difference between making love and having a fantastic shag. In an ideal world one does not have to choose of course (big smile). But I’m a 90’s baby and if I MUST choose, I’m picking the shag (forgive me!). I saw at a car show 2 years ago a SERIOUSLY well preserved ’89 SL that made my heart beat so fast it was so beautiful, a dark purple aubergine colour (iconic colour of the time), everyone gathered around to look at it and talk about engines (as is very common at car shows. I have been to maybe 50 car shows and they’re all the same – once the engine is on full display the men stand around staring at it, sometimes not talking. I have seen men stare at engines with such a sense of arousal and desire that I’ve felt the sudden urge to become an engine myself!). On this occasion it was a hot summers day and I was in a pair of denim shorts so small you needed to squint to see them, and despite this, mine was the second most appreciated backside at the car show after this beautiful SL. Outrageous!Some Good Things About the ’89-’97 SL:1. Not crazily priced (yet), in fact, affordable. I’ve had a quick look and they’re broadly speaking about the same price as my Mini Cooper! But will creep steadily up in value in a way my mini could only dream of. In 15 years time people who were born in the 90s will be in their 40’s, and I believe at that point the value of these will boom.2. You will not need to sell a kidney to find the price of spares or restoration. The colours of that era for this car are black and red – no tricky mustard or bluey grey tones to contend with, although I admit that dark purple is gorgeous. There’s a lot less wood involved in the interior, and for obvious reasons the availability of any part that’s 30 years old is going to be greater than those 50 year old parts you have to find when restoring a 70’s SL.3. Billie will think you are the coolest man alive and ride your cock accordingly.4. Despite it being more modern it has the hallmarks of a true icon. Bruno Sacco, who designed 6 Mercedes from the mid 70’s to late 90’s describes it as β€œthe most perfect car of my career”. And also, there were 35,000 less sold than the previous R107 model, yet despite this, more sold per year. This makes it, in numerical terms, a car that was very desirable, yet simultaneously, less were built. These 2 things, plus the designers endorsement, and the fact that it was one of Princess Diana’s favourite sports cars, makes for a car that I believe in approx 10 -15 years time (if good condition, low mileage etc) will be not only exceptionally cool to own, but also a fantastic investment.5. The car equivalent of a person who’s both attractive but also… actually a nice person. This is a good looking car. Those lines! That design that embodies so much of what that time was about and says “I’m a car of the future”. But it’s also an extremely reliable car. Something 1993-’97 probably offers the best combo of looks and build. Classic cars are like people: some smell funny (I can’t stand classic car smell), some are life companions, some are on the constant verge of a breakdown, some never stop whining. This car is such a good all rounder. I can probably count on one hand the amount of cars you can take to Waitrose (looking cool and not like a wanker) but you can also bomb round the south of France in (still looking cool and not like a wanker). This is one – a Swiss army knife of a vehicle!(I do feel that reason #3 should probably be enough, even if you hate the car πŸ˜‚)That’s the end of my unsolicited rant about the R129… This car will return to greatness – don’t say I didn’t warn you!Love,Billie x