Germany is both the accepted home of the automobile and the source of the most popular high-performance driving machines in the world today. Most automakers are slouching towards international blandness, but the German marques still embody a particular cultural mindset. What's the most quintessentially German car of all time?

Regardless of competition, Mercedes is still the master of taking definitive Teutonic vehicular traits — impeccable engineering, excellent roadworthiness, unsurpassed quality, dignified comfort, formal style — and giving them form on four wheels. The W108 cars of the late Sixties and Seventies are the zenith of this mindset. They are machines in the purest sense: intensely mechanical instead of electronic, free of unnecessary padding or frills, and perfectly designed to transport humans in comfort and security. It is a particularly intelligent solution to travel, and a perfectly appropriate representative of the nation of Goethe and Beethoven and Kant.


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Photo Credit: Otis Blank

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