A 90s dream
Businesswoman Julia Seiter learned to drive in her mother's 124 Saloon. Her Coupé Sportline from 1990 made her childhood dreams come true. We spent a day with her and her beloved car in Berlin.
The 90s are enjoying a revival and Mercedes models are now more in demand than ever. For some they are a status symbol, for others a memento with nostalgic value. Julia Seiter, founder of NU Slippers, is the proud owner of a W124 Coupé Sportline from 1990. For her, this car is all about tradition and family history. The 27-year-old comes from a dyed-in-the-wool Mercedes family. At home near Freiburg, the Seiters have been driving Mercedes since the 50s and as a child the cars made a profound impression on Julia. She was allowed to practise in her mother's 124 Saloon on the family land. It’s no surprise that a Mercedes Benz was her first car and big investement.– following right in her mother's footsteps. After a long and fruitless search for a 124 Cabriolet, Julia finally opted to buy a Coupé Sportline.
Her 132 hp model in blue/black metallic with dark burr wood, leather appointments and wide sports tyres has been a loyal companion since 2013.
The social and economic communications graduate founded the footwear brand NU Slippers together with her aunt, with whom she has been selling simple 400-gram summer shoes made of nylon mesh for the past couple of years. 'Nu' is the Portuguese word for 'naked' and stands for the breathable material that gives the wearer a feeling of walking barefoot with a polyurethane sole that hugs the foot. Julia found inspiration in Portugal, where some of her family members live. The NU Slippers are produced there and then distributed all over Europe.
I learned to drive in my mother's 124 Saloon. I never touched a bicycle again.
Julia values aesthetics and design, not only in her job but also when it comes to her car. For her, the most important thing is to maintain originality. From the interior appointments to the body, she spared no expense caring for her automotive treasure. For instance, she had a Jensen trucker radio imported from the US to replace the missing Becker Mexico 830. Although this radio is more modern and even has a USB connection, it matches the style of the dashboard perfectly. 'The display just had to have an amber colour with no bright LEDs,' stated Julia. She had her Mercedes star fitted with a magnet and converted so that it can be removed and re-inserted easily: 'Otherwise I'd have to buy a new one every week in Kreuzberg.
Looking around Berlin, you hardly see any old Mercedes models sporting their original star. Most owners decided to display the emblem on the radiator grille instead.' But that was out of the question for her. As a true aficionado, Julia does not like compromise. She made a special trip to Copenhagen just to get her parking discs from Torben Rasmussen. She's often asked whether she inherited her car from her father. The question annoys her. 'Men don’t assume that I made a conscious decision to buy my old Mercedes or that I am a fanatical car lover. It's a shame, but I’m fine with being the one to surprise them.,' adds Julia. One of her regular pastimes is going on long drives in her Coupé, like a trip to her home state of Baden-Württemberg some 850 kilometres away. For Julia, this is the best time to chat for hours, enjoy the countryside and experience the pure joy of driving. But even on shorter trips in Berlin, Seiter really appreciates her 90s jewel: 'Even though people often say you don't need a car in Berlin, it's unbelievable how much my quality of life has improved. I'm now much more motivated to do things, like take a drive out to the lake, go to dinner in a new restaurant or see a movie on the Potsdamer Platz on the spur of the moment.'
What's tucked away in the glove compartment?
In it she carries a Leica X2 camera with Voigtländer viewfinder, a Leatherman multi-purpose tool, Hark von Doppelgangaz (a rap album from the Becker radio era), a leather case for important documents, sunglasses and a notepad.