Before it was known as the E-Class, the mid-range Mercedes-Benz saloon line was very much the firm’s bread and butter. The stacked headlight era ‘E’ wasn’t as glamourous as its larger or sportier ‘S-Class’ and SL cousins respectively, but it was nevertheless revered the world over by those seeking comparatively modest luxury, with engineering and build quality that kept these machines on the road for decades. In fact, the record-breaking Mercedes-Benz museum high-miler remains a 220D of this era – donated by a Greek cabbie, in the mid-Noughties, after he’d covered an astonishing 2.9 million miles in it.
Launched in 1968, to a relatively muted reaction, the ‘New Generation’ W114/5 was the mid-range Merc to take the firm into the 1970s and beyond. Under its fairly conventional three-box-styled exterior – the work of Paul Bracq – lay the first entirely new Mercedes-Benz post-war suspension system; the rest had all been evolutions of past setups. Further innovations saw Bosch fuel-injection for the 250CE in 1969, with a centre console making an appearance for the first time in all W114/5 cabins.