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ONE of the world’s most iconic cars is celebrating its golden anniversary with a trip down memory lane and a look to the future.
Mercedes-Benz released the Stroke Eight saloons of the 115 and 114 model series in 1968 and set new stylistic and technical standards and helped establish the tradition of today’s E-Class coupes.
The coupes of the 114 model series rounded off the top end-of-the-model range of this first independent upper mid-range series by the German marque.
The third Stroke Eight body variant to follow in December 1968 was the saloons with a long wheelbase and, later on, chassis for special-purpose bodies. Technically, the coupe closely resembled the saloon. Its design, however, clearly set the sporty-elegant touring car apart from the four-door model; the front and rear windows were flatter than those of the saloon and, together with the roofline, which was 45mm lower, created a dynamic silhouette.
By the end of production in August 1976, Mercedes-Benz had built a total of more than 67,000 Stroke Eight coupes of the 114 model series. The most successful model, with 21,787 units, is the 250CE. The top-of-the-line model – the 280CE – was built 11,518 times.
Some 60 per cent of the coupes were exported. Today, they are among the most sought-after classics on offer from All Time Stars, the Mercedes-Benz Classic dealer.
The four-cylinder models are grouped as the 115 model series, whereas the six-cylinder variants form the 114 series and also lay the groundwork for a coupe.
Mercedes-Benz used a 130bhp six-cylinder carburettor engine for the saloons, and in the coupes they used a variant of the M114 engine with Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, worth a staggering 150bhp at the time and making the capable of hitting 199kmph.
This was speed considered almost magical at the time for passenger cars, although despite thousands of laps around the Hockenheimring race track, it could never quite hit the mythical 200 mark.
From 1972 onwards, the engine becomes the standard for the 250C, when Mercedes-Benz presented the new 280C (160bhp) and 280CE (185bhp) coupe models. In 1973, Mercedes-Benz introduced the facelifted coupes of the upper mid-range series. The company retained the 250C, 280C and 280CE engines.
Here, the focus shifted from performance to safety, which translates into movable outside mirrors that can be adjusted from the inside, dirt-repellent trim on the A-pillars and dirt-resistant tail lamps.
As early as 1973, the coupes of the 114 model series were fitted with the four-spoke safety steering wheel from the S-Class, head restraints and automatic safety belts for the front seats as standard equipment.
The simultaneously revised design included elements of the S-Class 116 model series introduced in 1972, such as a low and wide radiator grille and a redesigned front apron.
Now, 50 years on, the current E-Class coupe of the C238 model series aims to advance this excellent history by impressing with its wide range of models and regularly enjoying top sales numbers when it comes to new sports car registrations around the world.
For more details, ring 17785454 or call into the Al Haddad Motors showroom in Tubli.