Mercedes taxicab still rolling on

Berlin, August 14:

Genuine classic cars are seldom found waiting at the taxi stations or parked under a streetlamp. Yet the 1970s Mercedes W123 saloon with its chrome-embellished retro look has managed to become iconic in Germany without ever have vanished from the everyday scene. Many of these workhorses ran in beige taxicab livery and anyone who has visited Germany will instantly recognise the car that was first introduced in July 1975. Countless numbers were exported new and used and Mercedes W123s can be found plying the streets from Beirut to Belarus. Thirty years ago the car world was not exactly bowled over by the debut of the 123. The shape of the mid-class saloon from Stuttgart harked back to the pre-windtunnel days of the 1960s. It was conservative, even a little staid. The emphasis was on durability and on convincing loyal customers of the marque that the new car was a worthy successor to the now legendary stroke 8 saloon. To the layman the outward differences could be quickly summed up. The W123 had gained rectangular headlights and broader rear lamps. Of course the modern headlamps were not just there to illuminate the road. They made it quite clear whether the owner was affluent or not.