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A Ubiquitous Pair: Two Approaches to the Classic German Coupe

Ubiquitous - The word implies one cannot imagine something without the association of another. Some items are found together so often that’s hard to remember they were ever apart to begin with. Peanut butter and Jelly. Pepperoni and sausage. Mariah Carey and her lighting man – They all go hand in hand. How they earn the title can take on many different paths.

Some, like the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette or any number of Ferraris, are storied heroes of motorsport. Some like the Mustang or VW Beetle are heroes of pop culture. Some earn the title due to sheer practicality and function (I’m looking at you Toyota Prius and Honda CR-V). Finally, some arrive at the title from a combination of all of the above. These cars are truly special: The Mercedes-Benz W123 E-Class and the BMW E30 3 Series.

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Designed by Bruno Sacco (who also penned the r129 SL and many other storied Mercs), the W123 was introduced in Europe in 1976 and was an instant hit. In fact, the C123 was so much of a hit a black market for C123’s emerged in Germany due to production scheduling delays! Even today the W123 sedans and S123 wagons are still commonly in use in places like Africa as taxis.

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This particularly well-kept car is a 1984 300CD featuring Mercedes-Benz’s storied 5-Cylinder Turbo Diesel. The car is fortunate enough to enjoy its original oil based paint in the glorious hue of Petrol Green (Petrol Blue in Europe) on classic Palomino MB-Tex seats. The interior pallet blends well with the complementing wood accents offering a traditional personal coupe experience. An experience that is vanishing as tastes shift toward utility vehicles.

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Vehicle number two is anything but a runner up – The BMW E30, a car that defined a genre. Much like the W123, the E30 captured the hearts of drivers all of the globe with its classic BMW design language and spirited driving experience. The car is a true athlete and steeped in racing history, but refined enough as to not jar its occupants in to hysterics. It’s no wonder E30’s are still common on the road being enjoyed by enthusiasts and normal drivers alike.

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This Alpine White E30 318is has spent the last 11 years in the hands of its current owner – and he has no plan to part ways. This car has been tastefully modified to suit its owner’s needs with upgraded suspension components and braking bits. The upgraded leather seats are a subtle period correct and functional upgrade. 

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Both of these cars take very different approaches to accomplish two very different goals. Yet, they both arrive at the same destination: Ubiquity.

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Photography: Cory Mader and Andy Carter
Text: Matt Jackson