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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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January 2009 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Loving Mercedes-Benz Quality
By Robert McLellan
 

For most Americans just after World War II, Mercedes-Benz was associated with the enemy — Germany. For those who had fought in the war and lived through those years, the sight of anything German was an affront, and was uniformly frowned upon.

However, a couple of dealers in the USA began importing the 300S model, and car magazines began touting the engineering and quality. Although it should have been the engineering that impressed Americans, it was the quality and durability that got their attention. Rich youth imitated Elvis and bought flashy Cadillacs. But Cadillac, Lincoln and Chrysler suddenly had a competitor — a very expensive competitor, and clearly a cut above. The wealthy old upper class now took to driving the Mercedes.

Studebaker-Packard entered into a distributor agreement with Mercedes-Benz in 1958 and going to the Studebaker-Packard dealership became a lot more interesting. Brochures were now much easier to obtain, even if most of them were double-sided sheets.

Paradoxically, the oil embargo and high inflation of the 1970s actually enhanced sales for Mercedes-Benz sales in USA. American automakers at the time had no option but to produce cheaper cars to stay in the market. Quality was compromised to cut costs. This was not acceptable to the discerning (and well-to-do) customer, and a shift in loyalty became a matter of natural progression... Rich American customers moved over to Mercedes-Benz, and the quality and reliability it stood for.

Quality products usually indicate collectibility and Mercedes-Benz has a proven record of quality and collectibility. It is a car many collectors love along with the literature.

 
My Picks of the Best 1950s Brochures
 
     
     
     


My Picks of the Best 1960s Brochures
 
     
     


My Picks of the Best 1970s Brochures
 
     
     
 
Yes, Mercedes-Benz also made sports cars. We will save that for another time.
 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, January 2009
 
 
 
 
 
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