From Tractors To A Classic Mercedes Coupé
Owner and Photographer: Hermann Snorri Hoffritz
Year, Make, and Model: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 230CE
Location: Selfoss, Iceland
I’ve always been interested in two things: cars and photography. They go well together. I grew up driving tractors on a dairy farm, but the first car I drove on a regular basis, after I got my driver’s license, was my parent’s 1993 Mercedes 220E. It was very rusty, the suspension was worn, the exhaust was held up by a bit of wire and every gear change with the 4-speed automatic had a chance of breaking your back. But driving that car had left quite an impression on me. I couldn’t look at all the Toyotas, Hyundais, Renaults, Peugots and whatever people were driving to work and back everyday without feeling sad for the owners. I knew that I didn’t want to own anything but an old Mercedes as my first car.
A year later I drove past the local Toyota dealership and saw a beautiful 2-door W124 parked on the lot. I went to check it out and found that it was a 230CE from 1987 that had been driven only 165,000 kms and whose previous owners included an older German gentleman, a younger German gentleman, a local gentleman, and an older woman (who sold it to the dealership the day before). I wanted it. I needed it.
It would be mine but only after I managed to convince my father that it wasn’t going to break down, explode, or otherwise disappear after a week of ownership. I bought it for 350,000 ISK, which is around $3000, plus 50,000 for a set of 17″ alloy wheels that came with it. Why the old lady owned a set of 17″ alloy wheels remains a mystery.
The hubcaps were quite scratched when I bought the car. So I used them for one winter, then sanded them down and spray-painted them black. I did the same with the grille and replaced the glass in both headlights because the right one was cracked and didn’t look right with new glass on only one side. Next came the resurrection of the handbrake, new brake pads, rotors, ball joints, rear wheel bearings, and a new intermediate lever. So now the car is almost like new until I get it repainted.
I love the simplicity of it. The only optional extra is the sunroof, the windows are manual and there is no ABS or airbags. It doesn’t beep or make noises to babysit you like most modern cars do. It doesn’t assume you’re a moron. The only thing it does for you is shift gears. It carries me to school and back everyday in comfort and luxury while the 2.3L four-cylinder engine (with mechanical fuel injection!) has plenty of power to go fast. If you want to. I prefer cruising, though. Did I mention how gorgeous it looks? I also love the little ’80s quirks such as the automatically retracting antenna and the “butler arms” that pass you the seatbelt if you’re sitting in the front seat. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t smile when the car hands him his seatbelt. These cars are truly timeless.
Want to see your vintage car on Petrolicious? Click here for more information.