What’s This?

Fewer are the classic cars of Dublin. While I saw no Volvo 240s, no W-123 Mercedes and only one Saab 900, I saw several of these things:

1972-1980 Mercedes S-class

One parked up right in front of me as I tried to decide upon my New Year resolutions. The vehicle served as family car: two bulky child seats occupied a heck of a lot of room in the back, defeating the car’s space.

I took a chance to look over the car in detail when the owner had popped off to do some shopping. I noticed the odd way the gutter is handled. Like the W123 it’s actually quite complex and non-intuitive. It is as if they had never seen one of these before and did it as they saw fit. Two chrome edges run up the A-pillar and before they join and head backwards the chrome makes a detour or step. I don’t know why this was done. Also, the body-coloured panel between the two chrome edges is not the body but part of the window and a-pillar garnish.

It reminds me of the conventions of 18th century clothing in that I don’t really know what drove them.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “What’s This?”

  1. I seem to remember this was an early attempt to catch water overflow off the windscreen directing it upwards at the A pillar keeping the side windows clear.
    Good idea and has set me wondering if it’s still being done albeit in a more discrete way, will be more observant of this in my travels.

  2. I pay €1450/ year in insurance and €750 road tax for my ’88 Saab 900, I think that explains a lot…

  3. Mercedes have often had weird A-pillars. A lot of the Sacco models had that design where the windscreen is actually recessed behind the A-pillars.

  4. Having driven a W116 in the rain at speed, i have to say this not particularly beautiful contraption does work as intended, the side windows remain remarkably clear in the wet. What a remarkable car the W116 was, i would love to get a nice 450 SE if i could find one. (Unfortunately for me, the W116 is very rare here in Chile, i haven’t seen a good one for ages)

  5. The modern idea is to build troughs into the roof but like the early Merc use the A pillar itself to direct the flow upwards.
    Many moons ago I used to be fascinated by rainwater flow down the centre of the rear window of my CX keeping it clear without need of a wiper, something modern designers could learn from.

  6. Audi did the windscreen trough inexpensively by simply moulding a half-round into the rubber seal along the A-pillars on the 80 series. Sluiced the water right over the roof. Worked like a charm. My replacement 90 quattro with the blob body dispensed with such frippery, and so the entire middle of the driver’s window had a giant quivering mass of water stuck to it at speed in the rain. Useless. Made me wonder about the continuity of the design staff and whether anyone kept track of decent features or just tossed them in the skip because they “knew” better a decade on. I complained about it along with the rock hard ride on the new one to Audi, and got the most amazingly stupid response, very German. Dumped that turkey after only two years and switched to Subaru.

    I actually like that Merc’s treatment. Very baronial and haughty. Still, I don’t pretend to be a styling whiz. I merely know what I like so I’m a 20 yards away observer when it comes to vehicle design. The overall effect rather than the detail unless something’s crooked. What a pleb, I know.

    I love the variety of topics on DTW. Keeps it fresh.

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