As a new generation dawns, we must prepare to bid farewell.
All of the great marques can be characterised by one core model. For Mercedes-Benz, it has largely been what has become known as the E-Class, its heartland product since the 1950s. For most people born prior to the millennium, it is the car (a conservatively styled three-volume saloon or estate) that personified the brand, be it luxurious status symbol, taxi, or ‘lifestyle’ load-bearer. That it could in effect be any of those things spoke volumes of Mercedes’ reach and appeal. The E-Class (in the present tense) also very much the sweet-spot of the Mercedes-Benz car range, possibly its finest, most rounded current product.
Furthermore, given that the flagship Sonderklasse is, for most European cities and towns at least, now something of a leviathan, it is nowadays the E-Class which best represents Mercedes-Benz’s values and ideals. It has, this past generation at least, also represented the closest approximation to elegance of line to see the light of day from the Sindelfingen dream factory. For even if the W213 was no Mercedes design for the ages, the outgoing model was at least coherent, and in non AMG-line form at least, restrained. Continue reading “Empire State”
Thousands of motorists owe their lives to one man’s quest to design safer motor cars. We pay tribute to a engineering pioneer.
The Mercedes-Benz legend was built on principles of engineering excellence; its reputation founded upon the work of legendary engineers, names which include Fritz Nallinger, Josef Müller and Rudolph Uhlenhaut. However, there is another name – one to whom every motorist ought perhaps to say a silent prayer of thanks – that of Béla Viktor Karl Barényi, engineer, inventor, known to some as the lifesaver. Over a lengthy career, primarily at Mercedes-Benz, his innovations led to more than 2500 patents, some of which have gone on to save countless thousands of lives.
Born in Hirtenberg near Vienna in March 1907 to one of Austria’s wealthiest families, Béla Barényi grew up amid the dawn of the motor car. Automobiles were a part of his life from an early age, his family owning an Austro-Daimler, which he is said to have adored. But fate and geopolitics would change his life dramatically, the combination of the Great War (in which his father was killed) and the ensuing depression which saw his family’s fortune dwindle, meant he was forced to Continue reading “Der Lebensretter”
“This matter is best disposed of from a great height, over water”.
Amid a year of cinematic gems such as swords and sandals epic, Ben-Hur and Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot, Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, North by Northwest might not have drawn as many cinemagoers, but if it wasn’t the auteur-director’s finest film, it was probably his most enjoyable. Starring an at-his-peak Cary Grant as the film’s suave but unsuspecting Mad Man, a diverting Eve Marie Saint as the requisite femme-fatale, combined with a strong supporting cast, a sharp, pithy script by Ernest Lehman and some of the best-known set-piece scenes in movie history, North by Northwest remains something to Continue reading “Anniversary Waltz 1959 – Neatness Is Always the Result of Deliberate Planning”