A Mercedes workhorse from Portugal

A Mercedes workhorse from Portugal

Long before Mercedes-Benz produced their own stationwagon, the Portuguese were doing it for them.

It took Mercedes-Benz a while to discover that there was a demand for stationwagons.

During the 1960’s, stationwagons got really popular in Europe and brands like Opel, Ford, Peugeot, Fiat and even Borgward produced combi-versions of their best selling sedans already in the 1950’s.

But not Mercedes-Benz.

This was probably because the image of the stationwagon in Europe was that of a workhorse.

While in the USA the stationwagon was embraced as the family car for suburbia, European consumers regarded it as a utility vehicle for shopkeepers and salesmen.

Lifestyle car

It took until the 1980’s for the stationwagon to become a lifestyle car.

Once the BMW 3-series and the Volvo 850 stationwagons were introduced, people started to realise that a car like this could be a fashion statement as well as a luggage carrier.

 

 

The image of the stationwagon was turned around, it now became a car for people who wanted to show their active lifestyle.

Mercedes-Benz made that turn in 1977. That was the year that they showed the T-version of the W123. For the first time, the Stuttgarters produced a stationwagon themselves. And it immediately became a big hit.

In the years before, the predecessors of the W123 could only be converted into stationwagons by specialised coachbuilders.

Firms like Binz or Miesen in Germany, who specialised in the production of hearses or ambulances, would make small series of stationwagons based on the W110 Heckflosse and the Strich 8.

And even in the 1950’s the odd stationwagon would be built, based on the Ponton-models (W120/121).

Movauto

Not only in Germany there were firms creating Mercedes stationwagons.

In Portugal, there was Movauto (1963 – 1994), which assembled passenger cars and vans of Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Datsun, Honda, Audi/NSU, Jeep/Willys and Mercedes-Benz.

The vehicles were imported as CKD-kits (Completely Knocked Down).

The assembly, including welding parts together and painting the bodywork, was done by the factory in Portugal.

Because there was a tax-reduction in Portugal for commercial vehicles, there was a market for stationwagons.

Therefore, Movauto developed a stationwagon-version of the ‘Heckflosse’ W110 and later of the Strich 8.

This here is one of them, it’s offered for sale on eBay.

 

Foto’s eBay

The present owner is in Germany. He bought it from the first owner in Portugal.

The car is not in great shape, apparently, it needs some welding and there are also some technical issues.

But it is a very special Mercedes, a real ‘hinkucker’, as the Germans say.

The owner apparently is in a divorce, so the Movauto Mercedes has to go. If you’re interested, you must go and see the car in Mönchengladbach in Germany.

 

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