Driven To Write descends into facelift hell. Pray for us.
Today’s foray into facelift hades stems from recent past. The original 2003 R230 SL series was a good 65% less attractive than its far more accomplished (R129) forebear. Nevertheless, amongst the less than stellar offerings emerging from Sindelfingen under design chief, Professor Peter Pfeiffer during the post-Sacco era, R230 in its original form was at least broadly cohesive.
In the fond past such matters would have been beneath them – largely because the design would have been sufficiently well judged in the first place. In the old Vertical Affinity, Horizontal Homogeneity days Mercedes-Benz were never in the habit of carrying out anything but the most perfunctory of facelifts, but by 2008 Sindelfingen was well and truly in the fashion business.In order to bring the SL into line with the new corporate look, a more important looking nose was grafted on, and there’s really no gentle way of saying this – it was frightful. With Pfeiffer’s retirement that year, this facelift was not to prove much of a swansong. But then, his prior output didn’t amount to much of a legacy either.
As a statement of intent however, it was profoundly eloquent, Gorden Wagener’s current ‘dona es requiem’ demonstrating the whole SL concept is well overdue a decent burial – or a total reinvention.