My taste has changed somewhat... With a Dad who was a native German & a car guy, so there was always a near-genetic bias towards German cars. Mom & Dad had a pair of 356s “B. C.” (before children), and we grew up hearing many tales of their days in PCA & SCCA. I grew up wanting nothing so badly as a 944 Turbo.

Thing was, we never actually had any German cars when I was a kid. Mom & Dad were extremely frugal, and just weren’t willing to spend the extra cash.

Then came the Jimmy. It was bought for towing our small boat after we learned the hard way that just having a big engine wasn’t enough. (The hard way being Dad sliding our mid ‘70s Buick Century down the boat ramp into the water due to lack of traction.) However.... The Jimmy was a lemon of the first water. It had 16 repairs on it in the first 3 months of owning it. Dad *loathed* that car & swore off American cars because of it. He hated it so much that when it was time for me to learn to drive, he conveniently wrecked it so that it was sufficiently beater-ish for me.

For me, it wasn’t a bad car, but it wasn’t fantastic, either. By that point, most of the major issues had been fixed, and for a student, something you can easily pack with stuff was ideal. It also taught me the value of a practical, highly useful car. It wasn’t exciting, but it was reasonably fun to drive and worth its weight in gold as far as usefulness.

Fresh out of college, I dinged it up pretty badly in a minor accident. That, plus its age & inherent lack of reliability meant it was time for something new.

I’ve always been a very practical sort, and so much as I wanted something fun, I got something useful instead-a Civic sedan.

And, as expected, it was a great little car. Drove nicely, super practical, and needed minimal amounts of money sunk into it.

Now, going backwards a bit, my Dad had sworn off American cars after the Jimmy debacle. And other than a Buick sedan (hey, we stuck one on a lake & it still ran), he never did buy another US-made car. Now, about my junior year of high school, the Buick was getting a bit too old & a few too many miles to be considered reliable. Dad was going to simply get the newer version of the same Buick.... Except that model now cost over $30,000.

Direct quote from Dad: “I’m not paying $30,000 for a g-ddamn Buick!!”

Every Sunday morning, Dad would sit down with the newspaper & a cup of coffee. Just for the heck of it, he’d always browse the classifieds. Sure enough, one day he saw an ad: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 260E, pristine, low miles, full books, you name it, $27,000.

Dad had always been really big on Mercedes-Benz, ever since he was a teen in postwar Germany. So he saw the ad, then talked about it constantly for a week straight. At that point, my Mom, fed up & sick of hearing about the carb got irritated and snapped, “Werner, just go look at the damn thing!”

The following Monday, he did. I got home from school to be greeted by my Mother saying, “You’re not going to believe what your father just did.”

So now we had a Mercedes. And even with Dad knowing all about Mercedes-Benz, that car still blew everyone’s mind. It was just so far beyond anything from an American manufacturer, in every way-comfort, performance, and most of all, safety. It was very telling that about 6 months later, my Mom & I were discussing it, and she point-blank told me, “If your father wrecks that thing, I’m going to make him buy another one.”

But the years passed, and sadly, both my parents passed with them. Dad first, in 2000, and Mom in 2010. Mom had Parkinson’s, and it fell to me to take care of here those last 4 years. I moved her back north from Florida to Indiana, where I was.

Minor problem.

Her walker didn’t fit in my Civic.

But guess what was sitting down in the garage in Florida?

Yup. I ended up with the same 1988 260E, still in amazingly good condition.

So I would switch between my Civic & the Mercedes as needed. But something happened...

I got completely & utterly *spoiled* by that damn Mercedes. Not just for the comfort, but by the driving experience. I dubbed it “automotive Prozac”, because it just felt so good.

Now, all this time I still lusted after a Porsche, mind you. But after looking at the maintenance costs on a 911, as well as getting 2 weeks in Germany with an SLK 350.... I was seriously considering passing on ever owning a Porsche.

A few years after Mom died, I had to sell one of my two cars. Now, the logical thing would have been to unload the gas-guzzling, extra-expensive German tank.

Yeah. I sold the Civic.

Why? Because I was having to force myself to drive the Civic. It sadly suffered from a critical flaw....

It wasn’t a Mercedes-Benz. And driving it bored me stupid.

And that is the story of how a Porsche-addicted kid grew up into a diehard Mercedes gal. I still love and have a soft spot for things out of Zuffenhausen, but my dream car is now a 2013-2015 SLK.

I’m still driving the 260E, but as soon as I can afford it, I need a second car.

I'm really hoping I can find a decent "beater" W124.