The 68 revolution in the upper medium-size category.

Precisely 50 years ago, on 9 and 10 January 1968, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the completely redeveloped saloons in the upper medium-size category in Sindelfingen. They are divided up into the model series W 115 (four- and five-cylinder engines) and W 114 (six-cylinder engines). The model series from the E-Class ancestral line impressed with its clear design idiom and a design autonomous from that in the luxury segment. The success of the “Stroke/8”, as fans later nicknamed this vehicle generation, due to the suffix “/8” in the model designation, was overwhelming: for the first time more than 1 million units of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle family were sold. Alongside the saloons, they also include coupés, saloons with a long wheelbase and chassis for special bodies. Today the “Stroke/8” is a coveted classic model series family from the Stuttgart brand. Particularly attractive specimens are regularly to be found in the offering from ALL TIME STARS, the Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle trading place.

Mercedes-Benz-W114/W115

Stuttgart. 50 years ago “The new Mercedes-Benz generation” celebrated its premiere. At the centre of the vehicle presentation with this motto on 9 and 10 January 1968 were the completely redeveloped saloons in the upper medium-size category. They superseded the “fintail” saloons launched in 1961 with four-cylinder engines (W 110).

Mercedes-Benz-W114/W115

The new vehicle family belonged to the model series W 115 (four- and five-cylinder engines) and W 114 (six-cylinder engines). On the exterior the respective models were identical in their dimensions. They could only be told apart by items of equipment plus radiator grille and bumper variants. At market launch the diesel-engine models 200 D and 220 D and the models 200, 220, 230 and 250 were available with a petrol engine. The range was subsequently extended yet further.

The stylistically and technically very modern vehicles represented a minor revolution. However the new upper medium-size category had nothing in common with the wild student protests of 1968. Instead Mercedes-Benz used the “Stroke/8” saloon to successfully sharpen the profile of this market segment – the future E-Class. This development took on particular importance because the Stuttgart brand extended the model series family in the same year to include coupés (market launch in November 1968) and saloons with a long wheelbase (market launch in December 1968). Mercedes-Benz was thus now offering an extensive portfolio of various body forms and engines in the autonomous upper medium-size category.

 

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