Re-1998 Part 7 : Mercedes CLK 320 Convertible

£41,140 got you a 3.2 litre dohc 18 valve V6 engine that could pull the car to 60 mph in 8 seconds. Do we need more facts?

1998 Mercedes Benz CLK 320: source

The sky overhead is metallic grey

The steel roof gone too – a sky for a canopy

Among the wild horses of Swabia again?

Asphalt blurs, rolls, rips under alloy wheels

Each moment embodies the weight of the steel

Moulten, liquid, burning: a cauldron

Drops violent heat and from it cold metal, makes a throne

For frail human flesh. Weakness styles human choices.

Red: those lights disappearing into the night

Light on the road. Oil so cold and hard gripping the wheels

You grip the wheel and drive.

Stuttgart. The Neckar flows eternal.

And the road too. Always different.

Like a generation of cars or people, changing yet trying to be the same.

You think too hard. You blink.

Convertible, over and over over.

From the dark sky the stars look upon the undercarriage.

Author: richard herriott

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

4 thoughts on “Re-1998 Part 7 : Mercedes CLK 320 Convertible”

  1. The 18v v6 was actually quite decent, while not better than the m104 inline six that preceded it. The interior fittings were a revolution (of cheapness, of course!) for MB. Still, the CLK and the closely related W202 C class are, in my opinion, the most likable cars of a time when ‘Das Beste oder Nichts’ vanished into the altar of the capital providers

    1. After the stupid policy of the Schröder era that lead to disentanglement of capital structures in German industry, thereby abolishing the ‘Deutschland AG’, Mercedes is the manufacturer of the Big Three that’s most exposed to capital market effects.
      BMW and VW/Audi are more or less family owned businesses and as long as the Quandts or Porsche/Piech clan are happy, the danger of a sale or takeover is next to nil.
      Mercedes is under permanent thread of being taken over because they no longer have one single major shareholder as they did in the Flick/Deutsche Bank era.
      That partly explains their madcap model policy because everything they do is done to keep their share price up.

    2. Dave,

      Schröder was elected in 1998, so his actions would’ve had little impact on this CLK.

      It was well before the end of the Deutschland AG that Daimler-Benz decided to shift its focus from engineering excellence to shareholder value. The earliest of these changes came about in the mid-’80s, when DB felt forced to buy AEG, Dornier et al – for fear of getting taken over, due to the unusual combination of a) being too small an entity to fend off such advances by one of the industry giants and b) being excessively cash-rich.

      Friedrich Karl Flick was hardly a role model in terms of leadership. Having his share taken over by Deutsche Bank in ’85 was hardly a undesirable, from any perspective. He was, in many ways, the opposite of Susanne Klatten or Stefan Quandt.

      To me, it was the sacking of Werner Breitschwerdt that marked the end of Daimler-Benz as we knew them. And that took place well before Gerhard Schröder went shopping for Brioni suits.

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