E55 Retired from Daily Driver Duties

As we emerge from Covid I have been enjoying the E55, because it is so nice and cosseting and comfortable, yet still not too big for the city. I love the way the fury of the Germanic barbarian tribes is always under your right toe, awaiting the next on-ramp. Those clever Germans, tweaking the throttle action, gearbox kickdown, and the engine’s torque band just right, so when you come in the gas at 65mph+ it leaps forward. l lit up the TCS in a tunnel exploring this element of the character recently, felt the car step sideways as it launched after kick down. Truly a marvelous thing. It is also meaningful on bends. Of course, it is not track fast, but get it slowed nicely and pointed at the apex, and it loves to “take a set” and launch up the straight. And it is that almighty giddyup from freeway to autobahn speeds that sets this car apart. 

No filter here, I promise. Just bad light and ash from California’s wildfires

The 20,000 miles since my last report on this car have not been kind to it; corrosion grew on the roof, around the sunroof aperture, because I live by the sea, and the ocean air and rain is full of salt and all sorts of rust-accelerating electrolytes. The leather of the driver’s seat squab has split. A halfwit tyre fitter managed to break one rear wheel center cap while damaging the new (and generously priced OEM Dunlop) tire. A small boy swang on the hood ornament, causing it to become separated from the car. The CD boot changer no longer plays endless Virgin Steele, alas it no longer does much of anything at all. All of this serves only to enhance its understated “flying couch” character IMHO.

The neighbour’s “Cuda. Its a 340 slapstick car, absolutely lovely

Due to some reshuffling of the collection, it now has a berth inside, out of the hostile saline air. It came out of its first few months of battery-disconnected hibernation running fine, except for a wrinkle with the windows, which now only work on the gentle-press setting. Depress the button fully, and you get no function. Odd, but I can live with it. I think the valve cover gaskets need replacing; certainly, there’s often a pong of burning oil around it especially after a time sitting. The moral of the story here is to buy cars towards the end of their lives, not ones that are possibly already there. I still love it though.

Guess I’m an Asshole then

Update: we’re now at 24,000 miles in my “care”, and 153,000 in total. Since this was written I’ve had Winco, the independent Mercedes specialist I use and highly recommend, change the oil, apply sealant to the leaking head gaskets, fit new sparkplugs, change a wheel bearing and fit new front brakes and rotors. Not content with this spend, which exceeded the price I paid for the entire car, it has also “cupped” its tyres, and needs another $1000 in rubber. Rather than doing this, I have it in storage at the moment.

Visually, the tone has been lowered further. While performing an Italian tune-up on the Express Toll Lane section of 580, the high level of air resistance caused a large chunk of rusty bodywork to tear free from the roof, exposing a rusty gash in the roof wide enough to get four fingers into. Lord knows how I am going to repair it. More than ever, the E55 is feeling like Withnail’s Jaguar.