The holiday tale of our cars continues with our faithful A Class, which is showing its solidity and utter reliability. The battery did not quite survive its lengthy sleep, and we had to replace it with a new “Point S” 70 h battery, setting us back some 100 Euros. We decided for the future to take it back home, as we did with the Suzuki and Beetle, and keep it charged regularly. We should of course have done this in the first place!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
But that’s about all we had to do with the still cute and contemporary looking A Class. It fired up without problems and runs quite smoothly, and proved with its 102 hp 1,6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine to be quite zesty and amusing to drive. Acceleration from 0 to 100 is around 11,8 seconds with the auto box and top speed is 180 km/h, so no problem to keep up with today’s traffic…
The engine is admirably supported by a five speed automatic, which is a pleasure to use in the mountainous and hilly areas of the French Midi and Massif Central. For the photo session of our faithful mount we took it on a scenic ride from the charming village Ailhon via a small Départementale 359 to another gem of a village, Fons. From there on to the neighbourhood of Chapelle s/s-Aubenas, leaving it on our left side and continuing in the direction of Chassiers, on the D 103, to the villages of Rocher and Prunet via the D5, through and alongside dense woods, running in the valley of the Ligne river. From there on, the D5 treated us to some breathtaking views to be enjoyed on the Col de la Croix de Millet, at an altitude of 776 meter. On the panorama, we even caught a glimpse of the Mont Ventoux!
With a “classic” electro/hydraulic operated Daimler Benz automatic, your driving style is of course of paramount importance. But when driving with some restraint, the gearbox takes economy well into account. When left in “D” mode, the gearbox keeps revs low at smaller throttle openings, so the engine runs hardly above 2000 rpm, resulting in quite reasonable consumption figures between 6 and 7 liters/100 km.
Further photo was taken after a vigorous rain and hailstorm whilst we were driving from St. Pierreville to St. Julien-du-Gua, 11 kilometers over a very narrow D58, giving us a scenery which was worthy of a Wagnerian opera, and indeed we felt like the Flying Dutchman, only happy to find ourselves behind the wheel of a car with the good three pointed star. After this drive, we crossed the D122, and on these crossroads we photographed the car, driving at an altitude of roughly 1000 meters.
So nothing but good news of our A Class, which proves again the point that quality built cars really stand out when the years go by. To be continued!
Hans Knol ten Bensel