What I was greeted with when I arrived though, was not exactly what I expected, as the car was still in daily use – and had lived at the end of a farm track for the last 15 years. So, what I saw was a filthy W124 wagon (see picture, right).
Nonetheless, I fired up the 24-valve 3.6 litre straight six, let it warm through, and then proceeded to drive the 100 miles home down the M4. The four speed auto ‘box changed smoothly and quietly. The engine, although tappety on cold start, very quickly settles into a whisper quiet 600rpm idle, and is smooth and torquey from the off.
What I wasn’t expecting (considering the 250,000 miles staring back at me from the odometer) was the pace once the needle swept past 3500 rpm. This thing really moves! Admittedly it’s hardly a sportscar by modern standards but i have every reason to believe that most of the 270-odd horses under the bonnet have been unable to escape, and given half a chance are very happy to show willing with a modicum of throttle. Even at an indicated 70mph, a decent shove on the throttle (but not enough to kickdown) provides very respectable acceleration.
The journey home was uneventful, this car doing what the W124 range is reknowned for doing – gobbling up miles in silence and comfort.
Once home, I spent a total of 14 hours that very weekend cleaning mud out from the wheel arches, cleaning and feeding the leather seats, wiping down every dusty surface, polishing every window (there’s a LOT of glass on this car!), and checking oil and coolant and tyre pressures. I shall endeavour to take a suitably flattering picture before the next entry.
I can see my tenure with the AMG is going to be an eye opener, a reminder of what a hand built piece of massively over-engineered German metal from a bygone era is really capable of.