Thursday, September 17, 2009

Never sign up for a car sight unseen

I have always been a HUGE fan of the 300SL "Gullwing", produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1955 to 1963.  The car has classic lines that takes me back to the golden age of automobiles.  The overall form is very organic and the car is just put together wonderfully.  I was introduced to this car through pictures (and I'm sure Matchbox toys) at a young age and I can probably credit this car (along with the 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo) to my current fascination with automobiles. 

Now imagine my excitement when I learned that for 2010, Mercedes is planning on taking inspiration from the 300SL for their SLR replacement, the SLS.  The recent string of redesigned vehicles that has came out of the Stuttgart factory has all looked amazing - the SL55, the redesigned E-class, and the C300.  I had very high hopes for the upcoming SLS and wanted to be one of the first person to experience that vehicle.

This opportunity came with the AMG Driving Academy.  Now normally if someone told me I would be spending $2,300 to drive a car for a day on the track, I would tell them they're crazy.  Personally, I would probably rather spend a week in Maui with my gf, invest that money, buy a new watch (just as wasteful but at least there's something to show for it), or just plain waste it on something else more mundane.  Because this one day even was with the new SLS, I signed up for it with the only picture of the vehicle being of a car completely covered in camo. No refunds?  Who cares, right?  This is an once in a lifetime experience!

As eager in anticipation as a kindergartner's first day in school, I happily waited for that faithful day in November.  The anticipated price of this "SLR replacement" was around $120,000 USD, and the spy photos I have seen of this vehicle was simply amazing.

Several days before the Frankfurt auto show, the SLS was revealed.  The first image that shot across my screen was this amazing front and front 3/4 picture of this upcoming supercar.  I thought to myself, "OMG, this car is gorgeous!"

As I continue to read the article, I all of the sudden came across the expected price of the car - $175,000 Euros.  So that means the price in the States for this car will most likely be $250,000 USD.  Now wait a minute, I thought this car was suppose to be priced around the same as a Mercedes SL!  Ok, so now I have just wasted $2,300 to drive a car that I will most likely never purchase because I cannot justify spending so much on an automobile at this stage in my life. But at least it looks great, right?

The final coup de grĂ¢ce came from this picture of the rear of the SLS.  What designer in their right mind would design the rear of this car, mind you the replacement for the SLR supercar, to look like this?  The rear reminds me of the failed attempt of a marriage between the old Acura CL and the BMW 6-series.  Now compare that to the graceful lines of the rear of the original Gullwing.  What where they thinking?

So end of the day, I'm stuck doing a track day with a car I will never purchase, and I don't like the look of.  Shit.

Moral of this story?  Never commit to something unless you fully understand what you are committing to.

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