Wednesday, 18 January, 2006

Hauling off the Mercedes

My dad bought this car (click for a larger view), a 1972 Mercedes Benz 280 SEL, when I was in my first year at the Air Force Academy.  It was a beautiful car, with a shiny dark brown paint, leather seats, and the kind of engineering that Mercedes was known for.  The 4.5 liter engine pushed the car along nicely at well over the posted 55 MPH speed limit.  The ride was smooth, but not cushy like in a Cadillac.  I thought it was a classy car, but not ostentatious.  Understated elegance.

I was never one to get emotionally attached to cars, but for some reason this one had special meaning to me.  Perhaps it's because my dad and I spent a lot of time in it, driving from city to city in the early 1980's, trying to get a business going.  We had some good discussions that summer.  Or maybe it's because he let me borrow it a couple of times when I took a date to a special function and wanted to arrive in style.  I have fond memories of one or two of those occasions.

Dad bought a different car in the late 80's, but kept this Mercedes running.  I guess it started having some trouble, and by the time Dad passed away in 1992 it wasn't being driven much.  It sat mostly unused in Phoenix until 1997, when I towed it out here and parked it behind the garage.  My intention at the time was to restore it to its original condition.  That's an expensive and time-consuming proposition, though, so after almost 9 years of watching it rot back there I finally had it towed off.  The American Lung Association will part it out or have it crushed and recycled, and I'll get to claim a small tax deduction.

I find myself a little saddened to see it go, and that surprises me.  But I'm also happy to get it out of the yard.  That's one more long-term project that won't be weighing on my mind, and Debra's happy to see it go.  It really was kind of an eyesore.