CC Outtakes: Berlin 2019 – 2020, part 1

Family life, beautiful as it is, takes its toll on my writing time and before my second child arrives I will try to get some of my archive shots from the last two years out in the CC sphere before I won’t have time to do that. Excuse some of the not so great photography as some pics were snapped from behind the wheel and on some shots, time was a limiting factor in choosing an appropriate frame with my two year old always ready to run off…But hey, here they are: Berlin’s CC outtakes 2019 and 2020, part 1!

Ah, the W201, Baby-Benz, as they are called in here in Germany. This example pimped out in 1980s, well, German-Pimp style, think Koenig Specials. Even the a most disastrous face job like this can’t completely ruin the 190’s clean lines. Although I do prefer the below specimen.

This being the fourth of our family’s cars, I – needless to say – have more than a little weak spot for those. 15 years after I have last been behind the wheel of our venerable 190D 2.0, I have yet to be convinced that there ever was a better set-up for any rear-axle in automotive history. CCommentariat, I wait to stand corrected!

Staying with the Germans, I ran into this beautifully kept 944 next to my son’s default playground, on the last day before it was closed due to Covid-19…What I would give to know if the paint is original, it sure can’t be, but then, miracles happen.

And happen they do. When did you last see someone daily drive his FIRST generation Toyota Corolla? Neither did I.

I can never decide on which generation 5-series is my favourite one. Probably the E12, with the E34 coming in second. What do you think? The E28 is right in the middle, and the 524td is one of its more curious versions. The strange amount of displacement of the M21 apparently stems from the fact that diesel engines in the Italian market at that time were taxed very high when having more than 2.4 litres of displacement, therefore the 524td stayed just below the critical mark.

I live less than a mile from what used to be East Berlin and yet it happens once a year that I spot a car from the other side of the Iron Curtain. Even more strange, the license plate of this Wartburg tells me this car is registered some 300 miles to the west of Berlin…

There is not much that makes me happier than seeing an ordinary car from a long time ago in great shape. It’s been more than a decade that I last saw a Mazda 323 wagon, maybe even longer. Someone has kept this gem not just running, but seemingly spotless. What a joy.

One of my neighbors recently acquired a VR6 Passat wagon from the B4 chassis. Apart from failing clearcoat (red colors seem to be overproportionately affected by this) which was “fixed” with a new coat of black paint on the roof and hood and a questionably yet recently fashionable (in Berlin) pink license plate surrounding, this example has held up rather nicely. The VR6 Passat never sold well in Germany, where the car didn’t enjoy an air of German sophistication like I gather it did in the US. The typical engine here was the venerable EA827 in its 1.8 liter iteration and of course the 1.9 TDI, but those were workhorses that have all but disappeared from the road.

And, to stay in the fam, the B4 Passat’s father, or more like older brother. He hasn’t kept in shape quite as well. Maybe his parents secretly always preferred the younger sibling, calling the B3 a bottom-breather behind its back.

This shot was taken at my favourite car spotting space, a half-legal operation that buys used cars in the sub-3k range from Germany and Eastern Europe and exports them to West Africa. The writing on the windshield in these cars usually give information about the buyer and the port of destination, but I can’t make sense of this one.

And while we are climbing up the family tree…! Look closely and you will find this B2 closer to the red B4 than to the B3 because yes, it is the ultra-rare GL5, with a three speed auto at that. In Germany, it must have had an even lower take rate than the B4 VR6. This is my first one.

An old Saab is always a sight to behold to me, particularly in sedan body-style which is seen very rarely around these parts.

It’s not a great angle, but what can you do if your son is tired and hungry and it’s still a two mile walk back home from the park because you thought it was a good idea to walk…The only ZX from the generation that I have seen in Berlin in 15 years.

Old ordinary wagons! Nothing will warm my heart quite like them. Nissan Bluebird Traveller, “three quarter view”.

Who ever said the W210 wasn’t quite as well put together as its predecessor?

And back to old wagons! Unlike the E30 who has been shown some love lately from enthusiasts and easily will break 10k if properly cared for (and sporting an M20 under the hood), the E36 wagon is in a super dead spot of the market right now and with the very few examples still on the street, this examples proves just that. While enthusiasts’ interest is mostly focused on early coupes, M3s and convertibles, the E36 wagon asks more questions than it answers – for most people, that is. I find it so awkward and lovable, I was two feet away from buying one when I got my 94 Toyota Carina wagon in 2016 – if only there were any nice examples left.

And to finish off, two Americans in the mix.

I’m fairly certain the Corolla from above would fit in the trunk of this one. Who will identify the exact year for me?