Search Cars for Sale

Remember When Mercedes-Benz Had Cute Little Antennas To Help You Park?

In the great era between curb feelers and parking sensors, someone at Mercedes-Benz apparently had an epiphany. Presumably, this happened while they were repairing a power antenna mask that broke in a car wash just minutes after they had backed into a parked BMW. Someone in Stuttgart was having a bad day, perhaps.

The idea was simple enough: Two tiny antennas were deployed from the rearmost corners of the trunk lid when the car was put into reverse. The tiny antennas only extended a couple of inches, but that was enough for a cognizant driver to look back and see exactly where the end of their brand new Mercedes-Benz was.

Mercedes debuted the feature on its w140 generation S-Class in 1990, the most über S-Class of all S-Classes ever built. By the time the car was facelifted a few years later, Mercedes was installing little radar sensors into the big 4-door’s back bumpers (such as on this exceptionally clean 1997 S600). The little antennas are therefore only a footnote in the annals of automotive history. Even Mercedes-Benz had to dig well into its archives in Germany to provide us with the photo above of one of the antennas in action.

The short-lived feature is positively adorable in the event that you happen across an early-1990s S-Class backing out of a parking spot. They don’t go high enough to hang a flag on, though I imagine a creative 500SEL owner might be able to rig up an antenna with a longer mast.

That S-Class earned a deserved reputation for being arguably the most over-engineered car ever made, though the Volkswagen Phaeton could challenge its title. The S-Class was so advanced that it even had a power-adjustable interior rearview mirror, because reaching up is so gauche.

These now-vintage S-Classes have become difficult to find, but clean, low-mileage examples do pop up periodically. The S-Class was a cherished possession for many — or at least one member of a fleet of fine cars. Here’s a nice V8-powered 1995 S500, or you can find your own on Autotrader.

Video | Here’s How the 2020 Land Rover Defender Compares to the Wrangler, 4Runner and Bronco
Remember When Isuzu Was a Dumping Ground for Weird Rebadges?
Video | Can You Still Get a Good Car For $400? Lincoln Navigator Edition

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...

Most Popular Articles

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best SUV Deals: November 2020

Now is a great time to buy an SUV. Those who can afford a new ride are in luck because there are some great cashback and lease incentives right now.

How Much Money Should You Put Down on a Car?

Determining the right down payment for a new- or used-car loan or a new-car lease depends on more than just the buyer's finances.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This