Shifty Merc: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250 4-spd

The Mercedes-Benz W114 occupies one of those weird niches in the classic car world – it’s old enough to be gazed upon fondly through the tint of nostalgia, yet not particularly revered among Euro car guys. Perhaps it’s because it’s the successor of the hipster-cool Heckflosse / Fintail sedans, but the predecessor of the granola munchers’ standard-issue W123, and doesn’t stand out as much as either of those generations. Regardless, it’s a classic Paul Bracq design underpinned by relatively modern engineering and a great choice for Find this 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250 (with a manual transmission!) for sale in Montclair, CA for $7,500 via craigslist.

Today, Mercedes-Benz is starting to emulate BMW by releasing a new body style every week – there are sedans in 4 or 5 different echelons, coupe versions of the sedans, four-door versions of the two-door coupe versions of the sedans, crossovers in every size and flavor, personal roadsters, grand touring roadsters, AMG everything, a 911 fighter (and somehow, still, the Gelandewagen). Back in the late 60s however, you had two basic flavor of Merc 4-door to choose from: the W108 and the W114. No fuss, you’ll get your two choices and you’ll like it.

Yes, they made the SL roadsters and the dictator-spec 600 ubersedan, but your average distinguished older gentleman bought a W108 (S-Class) to be driven around in, and the aspiring youngsters bought a W114 because they couldn’t afford the bigger car, or wanted to drive themselves around. To my eyes the smaller car looks like a truncated but still attractive and well proportioned version of the Bracq-designed classic W108 but without that car’s ancient swing axle rear suspension or link pin front end.

True, you couldn’t get a V8 in the W114 but the handling probably makes up for it. This was the sporting man’s Merc, the one that could look equally at home in the valet section at the golf course or on a lively backroad cruise with a few tartan blankets and a picnic basket full of wine and hors d’oeuvres in the trunk. The interior has all the style of its bigger brother. The car shown here is priced at big bucks for a W114 but is an early example with small bumpers and narrow grille, has the 2.5L inline six, and a four-speed manual transmission – rare for any used Benz worth considering.

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