In 1968 Mercedes Benz launched the midsize W114/W115 series which was to feature an all new chassis, distinguished by it’s semi-trailing rear arms and ball-joint front end suspension that would replaced the low-pivot swing axle and king pin/double wishbone front suspension dating back to 1945, on all new models until the introduction of multi point suspension in the 1980’s.
To keep things simple the W114 series were all powered by six cylinder motors and marketed as 230, 250, and 280 models according to engine size while the W115 series were all powered by four cylinder engines and marketed as 200, 220, 230, and 240 models, the exception being the five cylinder 3 liter / 183 cui OM617 Diesel 300 introduced in 1974 which counts among the W115 series vehicles.
The design was over seen by Chief Engineer Paul Bracq and was available as a 4 door saloon or attractive 2 door pillar less Coupe, a W115 220D pickup was also available in Argentina which had it’s own W114/W115 assembley line for a brief period in the 1970’s.
In 1974 the W114/W115 series received a face lift that included the ribbed tail lights to minimize occlusion of the tail lights with road dirt, US variants included unique sealed beam head lights and a variety of different bumper styles which thanks to the 1974 Department of Transport (DOT) 5mph impact edict grew significantly for the last two years of US spec production from 1974 to 1976.
Over 1.8 million W114/W115 series were manufactured in Germany, South Africa, Portugal, Venezuela and Argentina, the ultra reliable W114 / W115 saloons were and in some places still are, particularly popular among cab drivers.
In 2004 Greek Cabbie Gregorios Sachinidis donated his 1976 240D to the Mercedes-Benz Museum Collection after it had clocked up over 2.8 miles / 4.6 million kms, including 2000 trips from Greece to war torn former Yugoslavia where it served a medical support vehicle, to become the highest mileage Mercedes Benz known to date.
North Carolina born artist Geraldine O. Lloyd rescued the 1975 US spec W114/W115 4 door saloon, seen here at Mercedes World at Brooklands, from the scrap heap in 1994.
Over the next ten years her courage, strength and unbridled will to live helped her transform the car into the artwork “Unchained” as she battled cancer and transformed herself from empty-nester to world renowned artist.
Thanks for joining me on this “Unchained” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Renault. Don’t forget to come back now !