It is Saturday 20 March, the digital time display in the Astra indicates that it is 16.10 pm. More than half an hour earlier I said goodbye to Peter and Mike in Roden. I decide to stop the car at a gas station between Drachten and Leeuwarden. I get coffee and outside I let the impressions of a beautiful Mercedes-Benz day continue to affect me.
The alarm rings ten hours earlier. I start my day very early with cappuccino and sandwiches. I calmly browse my new auto motor und sport expenses 69/12 en 69/13 by. And I briefly think of the past, of the Sturm family. My old neighbors are deep in my heart, besides, they plunged me into a bath full of Mercedes-Benz love during the 115s. And today I am going to experience that affection again. It's icing on the cake. Such as a ride in the W220 XNUMXD from a neighbor or neighbor that always used to be.
I am getting ready for a report day with the Mercedes-Benz 400 SE from the 140 series. Richard Steenbergen from Leek bought the car from a collector. In 2017 I already made a report with another special Benz that he owned: a 250TD more than two million on the clock. And now he has something special again. Ietching with eight cylinders, Pullman and colossal dimensions.
Four years later I return to the Mulderspark in Leek. The reunion is pleasant. Bart Spijker and Peter van Wijk are joining us. Bart is the photographer, Peter reconnected me with Richard. Here, pure Mercedes-Benz love shines in an organic, pure and natural way. Moreover, this takes place in an atmosphere of solidarity, camaraderie and old-fashioned conviviality. They are qualities that I am very good at. Yes, there are reasons why I really enjoy being in Leek and the surrounding area.
We catch up. Bart then gives the signal that he wants to take pictures. We are going to start. Richard first drives the W140. In a column, Spijker, van Wijk, Richard and I look for photo locations. We make a choice, it will be the dolmen at Steenbergen. Today's protagonist is perfect, also because he is in top condition. Bart Spijker shoots one photo after another of the immense Mercedes-Benz. Peter, Richard and I talk about everything. Benz man Peter goes with his specially designed V70 D5 towards Roden, I agree to connect with the 400 SE after the report and Mike also elbow to shake.
Now it's my turn to be the conductor of 400 SE. You thought so. There is nothing to direct, this is a very well preserved car of monumental level. Everything goes by itself, the Mercedes-Benz floats. I'm floating. This is the eighteen carat reward for enthusiasts. I do not have to get used to this car for a moment, this does not feel like the first time. There is room for nice conversations with Richard. That can almost be done in a whisper, because the V8 in that large front is extremely cultivated.
Driving this car is child's play, it is astonishingly easy. Accelerate too, the Mercedes-Benz never changes color. For a moment we hear the V8 sound, which greets us briefly and civilized during the intense acceleration. I know. I drive in the superlative of the brand, which invested three billion Marks to develop the S-Class of this generation. That did not happen without a fight, by the way. And when the car was launched in 1991, even the Germans were shocked by its size. The sentiment of the time (reunification, Gulf War, possibly lean years) cast doubt on even the greatest German advocate. Aber that is long her. Today I am especially proud that I can drive this.
After a cup of coffee I say goodbye to the jovial Richard. I am heading for Roden. And not much later, the specific Mercedes feeling reappears. Because Peter offers his C 220 CDI Avantgarde zero four through his comrade Mike de Jong in Roden. Three and a half tons on the clock and maintained in a way that only enthusiasts own. And Peter is someone who combines the concept of hobby with precision. I notice it in this Mercedes-Benz. He immediately feels as if he has been mine for years.
Just like in the morning and just as always, I don't have to get used to this Benz for a second. The 220 CDI Avantgarde Combi is also straightforward in all respects own. And different from Peters' current and special Volvo V70 D5. That is also a hell of a car, but it can handle this excellently maintained Benz overall not on. And that is significant, because this 220 CDI also dates from the period when Mercedes-Benz left a spring in the quality area. I don't notice anything, nothing at all.
After a beautiful day I am on my way home. It is 16.10 pm. I decide to get coffee at the gas station and then have a cigarette in the parking lot. I relish the camaraderie. From the report with the 400 SE. From the afternoon rides. And of the realization that days like these have even more value in pandemic times. Because they have everything to desire not even that long ago to fulfill. I'm going home, and I'm even floating in my earthly Opel. It is such a day. Beyond categorical in every way.
You will read a lot more about the Mercedes-Benz 400 SE driven in the foreseeable future.