In this feature, we will test drive and give a thorough report on some of the finest offerings from primer international automakers*
Ah, the Germans. Where would we be without them? Say what you will about the world wars and the holocaust, say what you will about them being the go-to baddies throughout the Die Hard franchise, (McClane!) those krazy krauts sure do know how to build a car. Their engineering history is second to none, and they even made a road where you can actually drive the damn things. It’s called the Autoroad, or something.
None of this was lost on me as I walked into the Mercedes dealership in Bethesda, Maryland. I had rented a tuxedo from a formal wear shop, (salmon colored, with ruffles. It was the only thing they had in my size ’cause my shoulders be diesel) and carried myself with a sense of regal entitlement. The customer service in this particular dealership sadly left something to be desired, as I stood for a full three minutes waiving around a five-dollar bill before I was approached and asked if I needed any help. I folded the five slowly and palmed it before shaking the hand of Robert, the sales associate.
“Ich bin ein auslander.” I said.
“Pardon me?” Robert asked.
We stood for a few moments, neither one of us speaking. I felt that there was a kind of camaraderie developing between he and I.
“Do you need me to call somebody for you, or…?” he asked.
“No, oh, no.” I said. “You misunderstand. I represent Road & Track magazine, (this is close to the truth, at one point, I held a subscription) and I am here to test drive the Maybach 62.” I handed him a card, which I had printed out that morning. I was very proud of that card, it had the words ‘Road & Track’ superimposed over clip-art of a car travelling at speed. You could tell the car was moving because of the ‘speed lines’ trailing behind it. “Domingo Corleone, at your service.”
“Domingo Corleone?” Robert asked.
“One and the same.”
“So, the Sixty-two, do you have one?”
“Yes, but Mr. Corleone, that car came out several years ago. I’m sure that Road & Track has already reveiwed–“
“Of course we have!” I interrupted . “This is a follow-up review. We are curious to see how Mercedes’ flagship stands up to the competition a few years later.”
“What compitition, I beg your pardon, but–“
“You know, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Oldsmobile.”
“Very good. So, the keys then, a black car if you have one.”
“Wait here, sir.”
“Domingo.” I said, “You can call me Domingo.”
After a conversation with his superiors, (one of whom used the phone) Robert returned with the keys. He led me to another wing of the showroom and pressed the key fob, opening the doors of a sleek, onyx machine.
“The Maybach sixty-two.” he said, sounding less than thrilled. “And just as soon as we get in touch with your bosses at Hachette Filipacchi, I’ll get you set up to drive it.”
“Who?” I asked, Robert had caught me off-guard.
“Hachette Filipacchi, you know, the owners of Road & Track?”
“Of, course!” I said, thinking that my cover was about to be blown. “But there’s really no need to call them. I have a number you can call if you need–“
“If it’s all the same to you, Mr. Corleone, we’ll just call Hachette directly and verify it with them.”
I had to act, my story was about to fall apart. So in the interest of journalistic excellence, I pulled a fast one.
“Hey!” I shouted, pointing at the windows behind him, “I think that some minorities are trying to steal some alloy wheels!”
He turned, and I plucked the keys from his hands as deftly as a New York subway thief. I opened the door and got inside pushing the starter as I sat. I closed the door and stomped on the gas and was rewarded with a visceral growl as the car’s 6.0 liter V-12 propelled it out of the showroom window. Let me tell you, this thing is built like a Panzer. The wheels hit the asphalt, sending only the smallest of jolts up my spine. I pulled a left on Arlington, then caught Randolph, not letting off the throttle until I reached Wheaton.
For such a large automobile, the Maybach handles brilliantly. Not once did the rear threaten to come around on me as I took turns at more than twice the posted limit. I rolled through town with the windows down, Clay Akin playing loud and carrion-clear through the car’s superb sound system. I got a lot of looks. This beast was a real head-turner! Or, it could have been the suit, who knows.
After a few blocks, I realized I was selling Mercedes short. The rear passenger compartment of this car is what it’s really all about, and here I was, driving it, and unable to offer a proper opinion. I pulled up alongside a disheveled gentleman and asked for his assistance.
“Ugh?” he asked.
“Do you have a license?”
“Hell no.” he said, and started to walk away.
Then, it dawned on me. So what if I was driving? This gent could give his opinion, and I could act as his chauffeur!
“Get in.” I said.
“I ani’t gettin’ in that car wit you. Whadda think, Imma homo?”
“Not at all.”
“But tha suit…”
“No, I need your thoughts on this car.”
“You want me to ride in tha back?”
“And tell me what you think of it.”
“What do you drink, my good man?”
“Thunderbird.” he answered.
“I’ll buy you a fifth.”
“And no homo?”
“No homo” I assured.
He looked around, then, reluctantly, got in the car.
After stopping at the spirits shop for my new friend’s libation, and the costume store to procure a top hat and monocle for myself, (look the part) we started our drive.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“Comfy.” he said. “Nice. lotsa leather.”
“You know, my friend, you need a title, riding around in the back of a car like this.”
“Yes. I now proclaim you ‘The Earl of Wheaton’.”
“None at all.”
I continued to drive, The Earl continued to drink.
“You know,” I said, “it has occurred to me, that to get the full experience of this car, maybe you should be with a lady.”
“A lady?” The Earl asked.
“Yes, a man of your importance deserves a lady, wouldn’t you say?”
“Sure. Ain’t had a lady in a while.”
We pulled up to a corner where several woman were doing nothing in particular. An ebony goddess worthy of The Earl’s attention (I would have accepted nothing less) approached the window.
“You lookin’?” she asked.
“He is, “I said, motioning to the rear seats. “that, my fine young lady, is The Earl of Wheaton.”
“No he ain’t.”
“What is your name, darling?” I asked.
“With an ‘i’.”
“Juici, I assure you, this is The Earl of Wheaton. How much would it be for your company?”
She looked at The Earl, then to me. “A hunndred.”
I grudgingly paid her. She got in the back.
As I drove down Capitol View Ave., I decided to test the cars performance again. I dipped the throttle. We were off.
I looked in the rear view and noticed that I could see The Earl, but not his companion.
“Juici?” I asked, and was answered with a mumble. I craned my neck and saw that The Earl was smoking a cigarette, with what appeared to be the back of Juici’s head bobbing up and down in his lap.
“Earl, are you being filated?” I asked. I didn’t get an answer.
I looked back to the road, and noticed a sharp right coming up. I took it without issue, but got a complaint from the back.
“Shit!” The Earl exclaimed, “You made me spill my fukkin’ drink!”
“My hair! My hair is on fire!” screamed Juici.
I looked in the back and saw that yes, The earl had spilled his drink, and ignited Juici’s weave with his smoke.
I sped up, thinking that the wind would surely put out the flames, but it only made matters worse. Juici screamed, removing her hairpiece as she did so, then threw it on the floor of the car.
“Aw Christ! Now the floor is on fire!” The Earl shouted.
I looked back, and saw he spoke the truth. My attention was diverted enough so I didn’t see the side of the building until it was too late. I hit the brakes, but we hit it going at least thirty miles an hour.
We staggered out. Juici ran up the road, screaming that someone named ‘Double Ray’ was going to shoot both of our honky asses. The Earl and I looked at the burning car.
“Fuckin’ thing is a death-trap.” he said.
So, there you have it. The Maybach 62, a comfy death-trap.
*No, we don’t. This is all complete malarkey.