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Late night shopping, another car with an Impreza scoop and the Mercedes Benz W124

By Rigval on 23 Jun 2010

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Last saturday night I was out and about in the fair City of Singapore. I ended up in the area around Mustafa at about 11.00 at night. Little India is one of the places to go if you want to endure traffic jams at night. Usually, people will find it hard to even wake up in the morning and dread facing the morning rush hour traffic but when things are cheap at a certain place, people are willing to suffer things they do not want to suffer. But tell this to people who love shopping and they will say that shopping is different. It is always worth suffering if you want to do some shopping when all the other stores are closed and it is different as it isn't work therefore it's alright to suffer a little.

Anyway, some you you readers out there would realize that I have a certain fascination about cars other than a Subaru utilizing a Subaru Impreza bonnet scoop. I managed to find one more right in front of Mustafa's. This time the scoop resides on a Toyota. Yes. I suppose since Toyota now owns some shares it must be okay for this Toyota to use the scoop. Wait, I have mentioned it before.

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And now before some of you out there say “Enough with the scoops!”, I am going to change the topic again. I saw a car that had attracted my attention sometime earlier that night. A Mercedes Benz S124 TE station wagon (photo below). This is the station wagon version of a car that is destined to be a future classic. The Mercedes Benz W124series. The picture quality of this (and the Toyota photo too) is quite bad as it was taken at the spur of a moment but it is posted here so that it helps explains this article.

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The W124/S124 is Mercedes' mid-sized luxury vehicle platform made between 1984 to 1995. Due to Mercedes over-engineering the car, the W124 is solid like a tank and feels like will last forever. This unique characteristic explains the surprising number still on the road 15 years after the last one was manufactured. In fact, the car was so over-engineered that some Smart Alec within Mercedes convinced the management that the cars were as such and got them to cut costs. And were they wrong. The W210 E-Class that replaced the W124 and the smaller W203 C-class had tons of quality issues that took them a whole generation of cars to get it right again.

The TE station wagon I saw must be at least 20 years old and still in good nick. It may even outlast the owner by a good hundred years at the rate things are going. I see a few of these cars still plying the roads of Singapore and tons in Malaysia. In fact I also saw a W201 190E parked in a shopping complex at Orchard Road the same weekend I saw the W124 wagon above. The older Mercedes Benzes are still going strong and the owners must have paid to get their COEs (Certificate of Entitlement) renewed for another length of time.

I suppose some of you may have noticed that there are more W124s on the roads of Singapore than W210s. This is because of the fact that the W210 was sold at a time when the COE was at an all time high, S$110,500 for a COE (2001cc and above) in December 1994 and it may have been wiser to send the W210 for scrapping after about 5 years down the road so that the owner could actually buy a newer car and get some money in return as COE was again seemingly normal a few years after that 1994-1997 record prices for the COE.

But the thing about the W124 is that it is indeed a piece of automotive history. Even to this day it drives pretty well (even with the lack of steering feel and brake feel) and has a nice solid luxury feel to it (although the dashboard looks slightly spartan nowadays). It also looks modern with flush fitted doors, moulded bumpers and modern safety features like airbags, ABS and crumple zones. This from something that was designed almost 30 years ago. Then you add the comfortable yet firm ride and high speed stability, ease of maintenance as well at the three pointed star on its bonnet. It is worth every penny for its owners to keep running this car.

The photos below are of a car I recently drove (and thoroughly enjoyed). Driving it changes your demeanor, making you waft unhurriedly instead of being pressured into driving fast. A Mercedes somehow does this to you. If it isn't an SL or one of those AMGs that is.

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Motoring, Future Classics and 9 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Ake109 Oct 13 2014 05:41 PM

Love the W124. I miss mine so much. Just not worth keeping with the current crazy COE prices. In another country, I would keep it forever even if just for a lawn ornament!

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