Maxximum Attakk! – Mercedes A160 Formula Hakkinen Edition

Having a special edition named after you is normally something of a compliment. But there’s an exception to every rule.

1999 žMercedes A160 Formula Hakkinen Edition. Image: mercedesclass.net

The world of Formula One is brutal and uncompromising. Few make it to its pinnacle, fewer still achieve greatness. Double World champion, Mika Häkkinen appears to have been one of Grand Prix’s more pleasant individuals – famously taciturn when fixed in the camera’s glare, but said to have been considerably better company once they were turned off. Quick too – perhaps the only driver of his era who gave seven-time champion, Michael Schumacher a genuine run for his money. Continue reading “Maxximum Attakk! – Mercedes A160 Formula Hakkinen Edition”

Fake reverse rake C-pillars

Monovolume and estate cars tend to alarm designers. In Britain such vehicles are habitually likened to “breadvans” even though nobody has seen a breadvan in about four decades. One way to try to disguise the actual profile of the car is to play about with the graphics of the windows and create a false reverse-rake C-pillar. To my knowledge the first to try this was Honda who deployed it on a supermini concept car in the early 90s. I have not been able to find this but someone at Toyota saw it and used it on the Toyota Picnic.

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In 1997 Mercedes used the stratagem on the A-class which we all know and love. Peugeot rather spoiled what could have been a nice estate car when the 407 got the reverse c-treatment (along with two other Peugeots of the same period). In the same year Kia pasted some c-pillar fakery onto the Ceed estate (which is a memorably forgettable vehicle). Ford´s Ecosport completes the tour to show a related ruse – though it´s not a very convincing example – rather it shows the effect of making the rear glass look as if it wraps around to the sides. Continue reading “Fake reverse rake C-pillars”

Mercedes’ First Wheelie Bin

It may have been 2001 or 2002 when I said to myself that in the A-class, Mercedes had finally built a car to be driven and thrown away without a care.

1997 Mercedes A-class bootlid badge, or part thereof.
1997 Mercedes A-class bootlid badge, or part thereof.

I can even remember where I was when I had that thought, in a Wimpey housing estate carved from a chalk pit near Greys, Essex. Now, 13 years later, my mental note was verified. If you want to get access to Mercedes privilige, €580 is what you need for a 1998 A140 Elegance with 186,000 km registered. For an equivalent VW Golf with 185,000 km you will need €450. That’s exactly the same ball park. Continue reading “Mercedes’ First Wheelie Bin”