There is something of a terrible beauty about a down at heel luxury car.
Here on Ireland’s storm-lashed rural South coast, we are routinely assailed by Atlantic weather systems, meaning that precipitation is very much a fact of daily life. (Albeit, not in the photos here appended). Hence, throughout the winter months, nothing stays pristine for long and even if it did, it would only very quickly become wet and grubby again.
Because of this, only the truly fastidious car owner endeavours to keep the endless road grime at bay. However judging from the current state of this particular vehicle it has witnessed neither sponge nor chamois for some considerable time. But what makes this down at heel example all the more interesting to me is the fact that it isn’t some throwaway econo-hatchback, but a large, (at one time) expensive, ergo valuable luxury car – one I might add which remains in daily use.
Mercedes C219 CLS was never a particularly common sight in this part of the World – the standard E-Class saloon being the preferred choice for those who elected to display their monetary successes – a tradition which arguably dates back to the E-Class’ W123 predecessor, which was employed as official government transport here throughout the 1980s and ’90s.
Irish luxury car buyers for the most part, are traditionalists, so when it comes to the three pointed star they have a broad tendency to shun the more decadent coupé models – certainly outside of Dublin’s fleshpots at least. Furthermore, while in the UK market, the horizontal Sport grille treatment has become the default (indeed the only choice in many cases), Irish Mercedes-Benz customers routinely cleave to the traditional upright grille complete with bonnet ornament – by a factor (by my not empirically accurate reckoning), of about three to one.
I digress. This particular Mercedes CLS is a regular sight in these parts, being owned for some years by a local businessman who runs a respected and successful enterprise of long standing. Clearly a busy man – who has neither the time, nor the inclination to do much towards looking after the visual wellbeing of what was once a desirable motor car and one which continues to be (one imagines) an commensurately expensive one to run.
Distinguishing it further however is the fact that not a single panel doesn’t bear some scar, scrape, abrasion or missing component. A thirteen year-old example, it’s probably in reasonable enough mechanical fettle and assuming it’s serviced regularly, should keep going for a few years yet, but one has to wonder how many bodily adulterations it took before the owner determined that matters had progressed too far to fret over?
Of course the irony is that in this neck of the woods, an off the shelf equivalent would now set you back in the region of (or over) €100,000. Given the potential outlay of any putative replacement, the owner of this well-used example really is best advised to run the car he has into the ground – a rationale he does rather appear to have embraced with gusto.