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Bought for an Australian couple to explore Europe with, this Mercedes-Benz has lived a life of adventure from the start. Words RICHARD MASON Photography LAURENS PARSONS THE LIFE STORY OF A 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190D 2.5 Turbo Automatic W201 Toured Europe, cosseted by a codebreaker, now a classic.
Boy, was it hot at the weekend. Perfect weather for being out in the BMW with the roof down. Thing is, it had been garaged for three weeks since our last trip. It’s kept a couple of miles away in a lock-up, while the Boxster lives on the other side of my office wall. And something had slipped my mind. As we headed out, I was revelling in its refinement. Sure, it has one of the smoothest engines in existence, but I suddenly noticed the ride and the lack of underlying vibration.
Events bringing Ferry Porsche and his four sons together became rarer as the years passed. Yet for his 80th birthday in September 1989, most of the family and a few close friends descended on Zell am See, the traditional Porsche home south of Salzburg. In the foreground, beside the Panamericana that the company had presented to Ferry for the occasion are Hans-Peter, Gerd, Butzi and Wolfgang. It’s said that Ferry disliked the “beach buggy” Panamericana intensely.
In its day the fresh-air Ford XR3i MkIV was the best front-wheel-drive, mass-produced four-seater cabriolet in the world. Ford of Europe’s first convertible in 20 years arrived in 1983, when just 45 were registered in the UK, but by the late Eighties, production was running at 20,000 units a year. Although you could have it with fuel injection, the sportier XR3i version wouldn’t be available until the MkIV facelift of 1986.