- Reluctant kilometer millionaire
- “Technically, the car is in excellent shape"
- Nickl bought his wife a Mercedes SLK
- There is also a new company car before retirement
Reluctant kilometer millionaire
Originally, Michael Nickl wanted to sell the 124 Mercedes again very quickly. 25 years later he’s still driving it
Source: Thomas Geiger
It wasn’t love that brought Michael Nickl and his 124 Mercedes together. Actually, he just wanted to do a small business. Now he’s been driving it for more than a million kilometers.
58,248.36 euros for fuel, 53,786.28 euros for maintenance and an average life consumption of 6.15 liters – when it comes to numbers, Michael Nickl is very careful. After all, the 57-year-old is a conscientious engineer and can’t get out of his skin even in his free time. That is why the native of Upper Franconia, who ended up in Swabia, wrote down in pennies and pennies what his mobility has cost him over the past 25 years.
The fact that a driver keeps a record of his expenses is something special in and of itself. But that he put all this money in a single car is rather a rarity. Because Nickl is one of the very few mileage millionaires and looks in his 124 Mercedes at a speedometer whose distance counter has now run completely through.
“It wasn’t planned that way, of course,” admits Nickl. He actually wanted to do a little "business" with the car. Like all his colleagues, he ordered a company car when he started at Daimler in 1992 as a graduate student. Too bad that he traded his rickety Golf for a 200 D..
There is hardly enough space for all the digits, because Michael Nickl’s Benz has now cracked the million
Source: Thomas Geiger
"Because when the usual stopping time was up and I wanted to offer my 124 as a year-old car, first of all the withholding tax had just been introduced, and secondly, diesel soot was suddenly pilloried as a carcinogen," remembers Nickl and had to tick off his planned little rubbish. "A profitable sale was out of the question."
So the engineer made a virtue out of necessity and simply drove the car on – every day 25 kilometers to work and back and on vacation all over Europe. First because there was no alternative and then out of sporting ambition.
At some point, my colleagues started to stink against his old Daimler and bet on its durability. First to the half a million and then to every other hundred thousand meter, Nickl remembers and suddenly has a mischievous grin on his face when he talks about the celebrations at the respective stage win.
“Technically, the car is in excellent shape"
The almost 25 years since the first registration on July 16, 1992 have of course not left the 124er without a trace, even if Nickel is now even parking its blue Baron in the garage: The dark blue paint with the color code 904 has become a bit dull, the star on the hood has lost its shine, and the shells behind the door handles look as if Nickl had polished them with steel wool.
Under the bonnet with its tattered insulation it looks like the boiler room of a rental block from the fifties. In addition, the steering wheel is worn, and the upholstery is slowly breaking open on the driver’s seat, which has been dyed dark with generations of jeans. The lettering on many switches has long since ceased to be read, which after almost 25 years in the same car is no longer a problem for Nickl.
“But technically the car is in excellent shape,” says the kilometer millionaire, who broke down only once in all of the years: at 445,000 kilometers, a damaged clutch forced him onto the hard shoulder.
Michael Nickl logs everything. He even calculated the average life consumption of his car: 6.15 liters
Source: Thomas Geiger
In Nickl’s eyes, the fact that nothing more happened is mainly due to the thorough care that he has given his 124er over the years. The engineer means less paintwork and leather than the drive train and axles. Nickl isn’t one who brushes the rims with a toothbrush every Saturday and blows the last crumbs of pollen from the sheet metal.
But the engineer has meticulously adhered to all maintenance intervals over the years, bravely lubricated, regularly changed all operating materials and repeatedly topped up oil – meanwhile around one liter per 1000 kilometers. And if you don’t believe him, he’ll hold his tables under his nose, in which every oil change is of course meticulously logged.
Nickl sees the second reason for the long durability in the simple technology of his car. At the time, it bothered him a bit that when he was just starting out he couldn’t afford much more than the basic equipment. But today he would even cancel the sunroof, which was his only expensive extra back then.
Nickl bought his wife a Mercedes SLK
“Because what is not there cannot break”, the engineer has learned and points annoyed at the thick silicone sausages with which he finally got the incontinence of the roof under control a few years ago.
For the same reason, Nickl also believes that new cars can hardly achieve the same mileage as his almost 25-year-old classic – even if they are from Mercedes are. Of course, he doesn’t let his employer come up with anything. "But the motors are too sophisticated, the circuits too confused and the equipment too complex for everything to work forever."
Nickl has won all the bets with his colleagues and instead of receiving presents in the department, it is now the millionaire himself who gives one for every round number, as if it were a service anniversary or a big birthday. And his wife made her peace with the “blue baron” after Nickl bought her an SLK for the summer.
No Mercedes is so robust and durable these days, the engines are too sophisticated
Source: Thomas Geiger
But after almost 25 years and more than a million kilometers, the Mercedes man is currently not thinking about changing the car – even if with a 75 hp 2.0-liter diesel one is already a traffic obstacle when threading on the autobahn and needs a lot of patience on long journeys at a top speed of 160 km / h.
At least until he retires, he wants to keep driving it and not let anyone or anything talk him into it. Not even from the TÜV inspector. "So far I’ve still got the car through the general inspection," says Nickl proudly and talks about his favorite defect: In addition to the occasional loss of oil, the inspectors particularly criticize the license plate, which has faded so fading over the years that Nickl does it on everyone Must trace the main inspection with a black felt-tip pen.
There is also a new company car before retirement
If he has to do a little tweaking on his Benz before the next check-up, he won’t worry. The time in the workshop is relaxing for him, and there is still room for a few spare parts in his long Excel spreadsheet.
But no matter how long the millionaire’s car actually runs and how often the TÜV gives it the stamp: In seven years at the latest it will probably be over for the 124. Then Nickl will retire, and before that he wants to order a works car again – just like when he started at Daimler.
Michael Nickl’s Benz actually only has one flaw: the license plate is getting paler. Well, if that’s all …
Source: Thomas Geiger
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