Remarkably, it took Mercedes 20 years to follow up the 1971 280SE with another four-seat convertible — but when the 300 CE-24 Cabriolet joined the saloon, coupe and estate of the W124 series in 1991, it was well worth the wait.
Known internally as the A124, it offered a far better driving experience than its predecessor thanks to its multi-link independent rear suspension and shock absorber strut independent front suspension. To ensure it was up for drop-top duty, its floors were strengthened along with the doors and windshield frames and it would require 130kg of additional sheet metal to structurally compensate for the 28kg lost by removing the roof. Most open top cars of the era suffered from body vibrations but they were reduced on the Merc somewhat thanks to several vibration absorbers fitted on the chassis. The fully retractable top (which featured a heated rear window made from safety glass) had 27 linkage parts, 34 joints and only took up 80 litres of boot space.
Powering the handsome 300 CE-24 was a 3.0-litre four-valve straight-six which made 217 horses. The motor was basically bullet proof; 500,000km on the clock meant it was just getting started.
Two years later, all 124 series models, were revised (and renamed as the E-Class) with the radiator grille redesigned after the S-Class being the most striking feature. The Cabriolet was offered with a 2.0-litre four-pot which generated 134 horses but enthusiasts opted for the E 36 AMG which was equipped with a 261 horse 3.6-litre.
Production ended in 1997 and a total of 33,952 units of the convertible 124 were made. It’s one of those cars you may have forgotten ever existed but they are a pleasure to drive, look fabulous, are rock solid, loaded with kit and can be had for as little as Dh35,000.