Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Twofer Tuesday strikes with a rural Mercedes duo nestled amidst other faded foreign beauties

In the spirit of summer vacations I'm featuring a unique garage in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains. Halfway between New Paltz and the rural home of some friends of mine is Beek's Auto; a full service repair shop in an impossibly lovely location.
Ringing the parking lot is a motley collection of European classics. I pulled over and was granted permission to take some shots of the lineup.
This rusty rump belongs to a 1956-'59 Mercedes Benz 220S. From the outside this ride is almost identical to the 220A it replaced. The original color by the way is Anthrazitgrau (or Anthracite Gray to you plebs).

Here the classy lines are on display. Mercedes of this vintage were known as Ponton (German for pontoon) due to the shape of their fenders. On the smaller Mercedes the look is charming and rounded, but on these larger saloons it cuts a powerful yet elegant stance.
The only surefire way to identify a 220S from one of its elders is that the front bumper is 1 piece as opposed to 3. I think this ride has the earlier bumper from a 1954-1955 MB. Of course this hood ornament is long gone!
The roof is what got me most excited about this ride though. This car is fitted with the Webasto sliding sunroof which, when opened, provided an enormous amount of fresh air and sunlight. I had a Beetle with a similar canvas sunroof and it was like a convertible where your hair wouldn't get messed up.
Down the line a bit seems to be a parts car for the other Mercedes. This one looks to be an earlier 220A by the fact that the lower portion of the taillights are orange as opposed to red. The color might be Indigoblau.
Oh poor 220 had its schnoz stolen right off its face! My guess is that this ride provided the 3 piece bumper and grill to the 220S. These older rides had slower 4 cylinders compared to the 6 cylinder of the 220S, which along with the sunroof makes the choice of which to save obvious.
Next down the line is a car that's so English it may as well have a cup of tea. What we have here is a 1952-'54 Austin A40 Somerset Saloon. You rarely see these in the States!
Everything about this diminutive little ride is cute as can be. Rounded overall, with scooping lines, a smug face, and the coolest flying-A hood ornament ever add up to one sweet cruiser!
The grill sports a wheel at the top with a set of soaring wings, and this crest behind the crazed glass. The engine was a tiny 1.2 liter inline 4 cylinder that managed to get this car up to 70 or so mph.
The Austin was sweet and all but there is legit gold hidden in the back!
What we have here is a Jaguar XKE Series 2 roadster. It's missing almost every little identifying feature so getting the year straight is beyond me, but if it is Series 2 it would be '68-'71. 
These odd headlights are why I'm guessing Series 2 as they look like they were meant to be open as opposed to the glass covered versions on early US and all Euro models.
Being a convertible means that this car will be restored at some point. Most likely the bumpers, door handles, and everything else are resting inside Beek's somewhere.
The bubbles of rust creeping around the trunk lid allude to potential horrors beneath.
Nestled next to the Jag is a Fiat 850 Spider from the early '70s. The most unique thing about this car is that its tiny (843cc) engine ran counterclockwise as opposed to almost every other engine out there.  Despite the size of the engine this car managed a top speed of 90mph when new. 
The 850 was universally praised for its almost perfect balance and clean lines. They were briefly infamous though for a recall in the U.S. due to rust! The recall was for cars going back 10 years that had prematurely rotted out. To see one at all in the Northeast is rare.
Well that completes the Beek's roundup. This place has always seemed to acquire incredible old rides, even having an early '50s Packard hearse/ambulance for a while. Can't wait to see what they get next!

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