I'm a Canadian army brat. In 1959, my father was assigned to a NATO base at Soest, Germany. He bought a new Mercedes-Benz Type 180 sedan. The car was painted green, and it had a column-shifted manual 4 speed transmission. The synchro-mesh must have been good because I do not remember the gears ever clashing. The Becker Mexico radio had impressive reception, especially on the FM band. It was superior to other car radios we had up until 1994.
We toured much of western Europe, including Holland, France (down to Nice), Switzerland and Italy in addition to Germany. The car withstood a lot of mountain driving and even towed a trailer (not in the mountains, though).
In late 1962 the metric speedometer was replaced with an imperial one in preparation for our move back to Canada, which happened in November. We were posted to Picton, Ontario; Fredericton, New Brunswick; and St. Lambert, Quebec. All of these places have severe winters and use liberal amounts of road salt, far more than in Germany. Nevertheless, our Mercedes-Benz Type 180 sedan remained good-looking and rattle-free for a few more years.
In 1967 there was a major engine failure - either a shattered piston or a broken rod. The car got to a garage on its remaining power, but it was still a frightful event and the rust was starting to show. By 1970 the body looked downright gnarly and we said goodbye (but we took out the radio, which still worked well, and kept it for several years).
My home since 1970 has been in Sidney on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Cars have always held up well here, due to the mild winters.
August 20, 2005
Created: August 20, 2005 / Jeff Miller