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Station wagons from Ford, Mercedes and Volvo: three people's station wagons of the seventies

Gargolov, Rossen
Station wagons from Ford, Mercedes and Volvo
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E an elegant woman in high heels invites the boutique -Clothes one. An architect stows the model of a suburban housing estate. The happily smiling one-child family pushes a grandfather clock into the carpeted hold. Three colored brochure episodes from the debut year 1977 tell of the perfect, elegant world of the Mercedes-T-Model.

Mercedes discovers the combination potential late

Long awaited by a large freelance clientele since the days of the Belgian Universal, it was already ready for production as a line eight. However, the conservative Swabians did not dare to venture for the time being, the potential customers went to Ford, where even a real luxury station wagon in the form of a 20 M XL 2300 S was waiting for them. Or to Citroën and Volvo. Americans, Swedes and French had already discovered the station wagon in the sixties and carefully cultivated it with more performance and comfort.

In this country, the leisure society was not yet defined, and the tinny, sparse station wagon, like the diesel, had the stable smell of the hero of the working class. The elegant rear design of the Strichacht, drawn by Paul Bracq, finally got the W 123 sedan one-to-one. It was just as pragmatic at Ford when Ford Granada II and III had to perform the rear end of the original tournament. At the Volvo 245 is not only the rear, but also the window compartment between the axes completely from the predecessor. The wheelbase remains with the T-model, wheels and tires grow to more resilient sizes. The standard hydropneumatic level control prevents your knees from falling back when loading. 'T' means tourism and transport in Mercedes jargon, internally it is called S 123, S - like station car. As a station wagon, the W 123 looks far less stuffy than the leisurely sedan or the graying coupé.

At Mercedes, T also stands for luxury

After all, for the station wagon in its five engine levels up to up to the 280 TE, everything that the versatile price list has to offer can be ordered: aluminum wheels, metallic paint, sunroof, individually foldable rear seat backrests. Later, from 1981, airbags and ABS, automatic air conditioning or even one are availableLeather furniture with foldable child bench in the cargo area. Our Mercedes 200 T is modestly withdrawn, it is a latecomer from autumn 1980. As a new basic model with a modern M 102 four-cylinder at the time (finally it has a cross-flow head and hemi-combustion chambers), it replaced the 230 T carburettor with the same output old 'whitehead engine'. The color English red suits him - a bright terracotta tone that harmonizes nicely with green-tinted panes. The chrome-plated roof rails as a docking point for roof racks add value to it - a typical T-Extra, subject to a surcharge, like the individually foldable rear seat backrests.

Fitness cure for the pompous Granada

The passenger in the Granada prospectus wears fashionable strappy sandals, the gentleman a body-hugging turtleneck sweater. The tournament you are currently entering with an advertising smile is as dayton yellow as our 76 Ford Granada 2.3 GL S tournament. However, the pictures show an early ornate 72 without headrests, still with the polished stainless steel hubcaps and the deeply recessed instruments. Bob Lutz, then Ford CEO, prescribed a strict fitness regimen for the plump Rubens-Granada. It consists of matt black chrome parts, additional high-beam headlights, stiff chassis with gas pressure shock absorbers and Ronal aluminum. There was also a sports steering wheel from the Woolworth auto accessories department, thick as a meat sausage ring. Well-stocked black and white instruments ensure ascetic rigor.

Whereby the neatly drawn tournament doesn’t look as playful as the sedan with its slightly concave chrome-framed rear section, decoratively overloaded with matt black trim and individually draped F-O-R-D letters. The charismatic Ford V6, a tried and tested old cast iron with a low specific power and a rather high specific consumption, hisses enterprisingly even with a slight acceleration. It sounds like twice as much displacement and power. Even when driving, you feel more than just 2.3 liters and 108 hp, which are still kept in check by a rather sluggish three-speed automatic. The Granada looks noble and important as you drive by, its authoritarian carpet of sound turning the heads of passers-by. Its black and yellow silhouette attracts attention.

Ford with sex appeal, Mercedes with dignified warmth

He arrives, has sex appeal in voice and shape. With the automatic upshifting early, it creeps up quietly like a cat - the low engine speed suggests power and suppleness. Inside, the Granada is a black salon with an almost eerie cosiness. The seating comfort and feeling of space are just as impressive as the view of the long bonnet. Unfortunately, the tournament did not exist as a nobly draped Ghia. The Granada is the one that inspires.

Acoustically unspectacular, for a four-cylinder surprisingly quiet and refined, the Mercedes 200 T sounds ten-liter consumption and nimbleThe heart of the thrifty will enjoy performance. However, the emotional kick of this clean engine is missing. The strength of the S 123 lies in its comfortable housing. The real wood inlays of the second series conjure up warmth in the compartment. Even the splendid plastic living area of ​​the instrument panel is impressive. The large, massive steering wheel suggests a solidity that is also noticeable when driving. Smooth rolling, coupled with the stoic calm of the body, expresses the Mercedes feeling of the lush road holding.

Volvo 245 with Nordic melancholy

The young lady in the Volvo brochure wears brown knee-length boots. She is alone. The car, a green Volvo P 145, model year 74 with the thick US bumpers, is parked on a dirt road in front of a paddock. It is the predecessor of our pastel green 245, at least from the A-pillar, and the interior is technically and stylistically the same except for details. In terms of character, it is anyway. This melancholy Nordic, even Siberian melancholy is in his thoroughly functional Lego lines. It is expressed in the narrow window surfaces, in the high-sided doors and in the deep black, coarse-grained clunkiness of his instrument panel.

When you drive it, the Volvo 245 suddenly no longer a Volga station wagon, but a Triumph 2000 Estate - with gnarled precise gearshifts, paired with gentle overdrive, with precise and nimble handling that even works without power steering in the tightest of turning circles. The rigid rear axle needs 50 kilos of ballast, otherwise it will give out heavy shocks.

A lot has happened in the bow since the P 145 - a new, more responsive Mc-Pherson strut axle, a contemporary OHC toothed belt motor with a filling-friendly cross-flow head. The engine also seems somehow English, a rough leg, but warm, not averse to high speeds, at the same time enormously elastic and also quite hard-drinking - the Granada only barely tops the Volvo. The 245 has inherited the chunky, very serious front design from the Volvo VESC safety study. The only thing that is playful on the Volvo is the shape of the tailgate handle, so it is taken very seriously. The speedometer shows 568,000 kilometers. A number that paradoxically calms you down because you really believe you will never get stuck.


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