It all started out innocently enough.
On a warm spring day in Nova Scotia, while piloting the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 on its Canadian launch, I spied an awesome photo location. Off to the left at the end of a rutted dirt road was a picturesque old wharf.
Lo and behold, once down on the aging pier, an inviting track led to the beach, promising even better pictures. This is where the story really should have ended. But no. Since there was a truck farther along the beach, I gingerly negotiated the Mercedes down to the gravelly surface.
I remember joking to my driving partner. “Don’t worry, we won’t get stuck. Famous last words!”
And they were the last words … or at least the only ones we can print in a family newspaper. A moment later, the big Merc was sunk up to the door sills. Copious rear-drive power, low-profile performance tires, negligible ground clearance and soft gravel are not the stuff of dreams.
More like nightmares. Made for a few nice photos, though.
Luckily, my colleague’s phone had service … my server was AWOL on this lonely Bay of Fundy beach.
While he called for help, I immediately turned into Bruno Gerussi, combing the beach for something, anything, that might get the Mercedes mobile.
An old shack was nearby, where I found a length of carpeting. But that just got all scrunched up in the wheel well. A big piece of plywood proved equally useless.
At this point, I seriously considered throwing my wallet and phone into the drink and assuming the alter-ego of Nicky Bisby the clam-digger, and move into that old shack.
Eventually, local tow-truck operator Alan and his wife showed up in their rig — a merciful yellow chariot from heaven, to these eyes.
Thankfully, they kept the sarcastic digs to a minimum. In the time-honoured tradition of Maritime understatement, when eyeing $125,000 of beached Germanic luxury, he said, “Well, you don’t see that everyday.”
Another fellow arrived on the scene while Bill winched us out, inch by painful inch. He leaned against his ratty old pickup, smoked a butt and took in the whole scenario. Once we were back on the wharf, he asked, “What’s that thing worth?”
“About 125 grand,” I said.
“No, rear-wheel drive.”
“Oh yeah, 429 horsepower.”
He took one drag off his cigarette, flicked it off the pier and grinned.
“Well, that 429 horsepower didn’t do you much good down there on the beach now did it?”
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