• Family treasures.

    Text: Jan-Henrik Muche | Photos: Roman Rätzke

A Mercedes-Benz 300 D – sheer common sense.

The 300 D was always there and always will be. His grandfather bought it. His parents drove to their wedding in it. Now, the third generation of the family takes loving care of it. For Silvan Ernst, the understated 124 series saloon marks the small beginning of a big collection - there are eleven Mercedes-Benz cars in his garage. Not bad for someone just 23 years old.

Viewed with today's eyes, the 300 D, which boasts merely a Blaupunkt “Heilbronn” car radio and an electric sliding steel sunroof in the way of extras, has lost none of its spartan charm. Yet it has gained in importance. The car has evolved into a story that its latest owner is continuing to write.

Silvan Ernst

Bought at a discount in 1991 by a Mercedes-Benz employee.

"It all began with granddad’s 300 D. He acquired it in 1992 from a Mercedes-Benz employee who had bought it one year earlier under the company's car purchase scheme. The sale had already been agreed when the vehicle was ordered." The car was not simply an object of utility, it was an object of value: to date, it has just 105,000 kilometres on the clock, which is nothing at all for a 300 D.

"My grandfather Egon would have liked a few more extras, but the first owner was against it," says Silvan Ernst from Neu-Anspach near Frankfurt am Main. "I was born in 1993, so the car's been in my family for longer than me."

Mercedes-Benz cabriolet instead of university.

In the meantime, Silvan has collected three saloons, five estates, a coupé and a cabriolet. They are housed in a building constructed by his father in an industrial park. Silvan Ernst works directly opposite as an after-sales employee at a company.

The 300 CE-24 Cabriolet Sportline, also known as A 124, was a present from his parents for his 20th birthday. "I decided against going to university. In a way, I got the car instead of having my studies paid for," says Silvan. Yet another car.

Silvan Ernst

By now an entire collection of the first E-Class series.

The collection has long since also grown into a hobby for parents Adrian and Ina Ernst. The couple travelled to Cologne together to buy an exceptionally beautiful A 124. Silvan bought the first W 124 of his own six years ago: a 500 E.

It was affordable because the price level had not yet reached today's heights and because a previous owner had trimmed the high-performance mid-range car of the first, original series to the looks of the E 500 after the 1993 facelift, despite the loss of originality. "For my next project, I'd like to return it to its original state. I'm already collecting the parts."

Visit from the old lady.

Silvan's grandmother Helga used to drive the malachite green 300 series as an everyday car, although not a great deal. On passing his driving test, Silvan was given the heirloom. He likes taking his parents and grandmother to Mercedes-Benz Club meetings in the local area. "What fascinates me about the 124 series is its great diversity and timeless design," says Silvan.

“There's everything, from the big eight-cylinder saloon to the two-litre four-cylinder cabriolet. Six-cylinder coupé and estate with four-valve six-cylinder engine: each of my cars is different to drive, each gives me pleasure in a different way. I always find driving a W 124 an experience rich in variety.”