W124 Mercedes E-Class: Mirror Minutiae

W124 Mercedes E-Class: Mirror Minutiae

I once had a W124 500E. This was very impressive, but only to me and about three other people. Everyone else mainly said: Why the hell did you buy this crappy old Mercedes? This is especially true because I sold a 2001 E55 AMG to get it, and I actually paid more for the older, crappier Mercedes.

But there was one impressive detail about my W124. In fact, it was an impressive detail of all W124 models, which – by the way – is the chassis code for the E-Class made from 1985 to 1995. And that one impressive detail is the mirrors.

You see, all W124 models had two different mirror sizes. The driver side mirror was upright and narrow, while the passenger mirror was flat and wide. The theory was that W124 drivers would be in the left lane so often that they’d need a larger mirror to see right lane traffic. Obviously, the people who came up with this idea never drove a 200E.

Unfortunately, the advent of cost-cutting (which really had never before been undertaken at Mercedes-Benz) killed the dual-mirror setup when the W210 came out in 1996. And although I was happy to own both a W210 E-Class and its predecessor, the W211, nothing ever felt as stately as the 500E. Of course, my passengers would disagree.

17 Responses to “ “W124 Mercedes E-Class: Mirror Minutiae”

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for jogging my memory. I remember the asymmetrical mirrors, though my favorite feature of the W124 was the mono-arm windshield wiper. I have a W211 and it doesn’t compare to my aunt’s 1996 W124 for solidity and quality. Plus they killed the mon-arm wiper.

  2. Greg says:

    M-B Minutiae Request:

    When I was a kid growing up in Kennesaw (in the ’70′s), our neighbor had a Benz that had a speedometer that spun and changed colors. I remember it being kind of like a barber shop pole. Never saw anything like it since. Any ideas which M-B had that?

    Great blog, BTW, and love your work on TTAC, too.


  3. Mario says:

    An impressive detail about this car, could also be that it was build in Zuffenhausen not in Sindelfingen… build by Porsche (at least the first years) with some hand building included.

  4. Pete says:

    “The driver side mirror was upright and narrow, while the passenger mirror was flat and wide.” I beg to differ. The driver side mirror was regular and the passenger mirror was more like a square, more vertical. Included picture is either mirror image of the 500e or it’s not a 500e because it was only made as right hand drive car. Google image search for 500e will prove my point.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Obviously you’re right, with the reasons being obvious – my mistake. I assume the car must be RHD. It’s not a 500E because the lights are different; the 500E had a very pronounced set of oval headlights between the lights and the grille.

  5. NickNyack says:

    As a child of the 90′s I remember being completely fascinated with the 300E I carpooled to school in. The single windshield wiper, the center mounted window switches, and the asymmetrical mirrors. The features seemed so foreign compared to the American and Japanese cars my parents had. More than anything, I loved the power seat controls that resembled the seat itself!

  6. JSF22 says:

    Audi used assymetrical mirrors for several years as well, I think on both the C4 and C5 generation cars, but the large mirror was on the driver’s side. The mirror on the passenger side was so small it was useless unless very precisely adjusted. Apparently Audi figured you would need the big mirror on the driver’s side so you could clearly see the tow truck arriving when you were stopped on the side of the road.

  7. miktvk says:

    Yep, its an RHD W124. Sadly, the car has been cheapened by nasty fuse-blowing, melty aftermarket lighting units (the equivalent of all those super-swanky ‘angel-eye’ units made for every pre-2004 BMW ever) and silly W140 600 S-class wanna-be grill.

    Have had 124 wagons, and 2 211s, E350 and E550; still have one of the wagons. 211s…they’re gone. Nice cars, but they had demons.

  8. Brian says:

    Doug, we talked about your Manhattan driving piece on Jalopnik but a few days ago after one of your latest bits on there, I visited this blog. I have to say, this blog is FANTASTIC! Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s great to know I’m not alone in noticing the stupid little details of the industry.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Hah! Thanks so much Brian and I promise you’re not alone. There are a few of us, some of whom comment on here, and most of whom know way more than i do!

  9. Max says:

    That is something people always like to giggle about when sitting in my car. Plus the monowiper should the weather ask for it.

    I actually think the Golf 4 was the last car to have different sized driver and passenger mirrors.

  10. mark says:

    I moved to Wolfsburg, Germany last year, and there are all these VWs around. Even ones that should have disintegrated into a pile of no-longer-soft-touch plastics and cracked coils are still somehow roadworthy. Things like Bora V5s, which also seem to feature the asymmetrical outer mirrors! http://www.netcarshow.com/volkswagen/1998-bora/800×600/wallpaper_02.htm

    I don’t think these were featured on mk4 US Jettas, though.

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