Monday, June 6, 2016

1985-1996 Mercedes-Benz T-Model modificado



"Mercedes-Benz automobiles have changed over time; the Mercedes-Benz automobile philosophy has not. Today as for the past century, function rules. The engineers see the automobile not as a status symbol or fashion item, but as a machine meant to efficiently convey people."

Here's an interesting hybrid from Matanzas: the front end of a 1959 or 1960 Studebaker is crafted on to a posh Mercedes T-Model. In the 1950s, Mercedes cars were distributed through Cuba's Studebaker dealers, which makes this mash-up in some way "historically correct".

Even without this "facelift", the Mercedes qualifies as a rarity in Cuba. There are a few modern Mercedes around, but most of them are either state-owned or in embassy service, which limits the general Cuban Mercedes-Benz ownership to pre-revolutionary models.

The mid-size Mercedes sedan, also known by its internal designation "Baureihe W124", was a very advanced automobile when presented in 1984. With its aerodynamic shape and a cladded underbody, the W124 achieved a drag coefficient of cd=0.28, one of the lowest at the time. Mercedes' extensive research and experience in safety matters came into full effect in this model, too. A safety cell with defined crash-zones, ABS brake system, seatbelt tensioners and a novel SRS airbag in the steering wheel made it one of the safest vehicles at the time, perhaps only beaten by the Mercedes S-Class. Besides, the W124 was a supremely well-engineered automobile that is still today highly regarded as an ultra-solid used car in many parts of the world.

In October 1985, Mercedes-Benz added the station wagon to the lineup. With its functional and elegant design, this model is a paragon of classic Mercedes values and one of the truly timeless designs that were developed under the lead of Bruno Sacco, who was Mercedes' longstanding head of styling between 1978 and 1999. Its name, T-model (T as in "Touristik und Transport"), nicely echoes the corporate mindset which genuinely focused on engineering, rather than marketing finesse.

Mercedes nicely outlined the dry, no-nonsense corporate approach in the American brochure of 1986: "A MACHINE MEANT TO efficiently convey people from one place to another; this refreshingly simple definition of the primary function of the automobile allows Mercedes-Benz engineers a refreshing degree of freedom.

They can shrug off such ephemeralities as annual styling changes. They need waste no time contriving artificial novelty. What will perform best in the status arena never eclipses what will perform best on the road. Today as for the past century, the engineers of Mercedes-Benz are free to concentrate on designing and building the most efficient possible automobile."

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