We got the front end of the Mercedes fixed. Lower ball joints, steering damper, and new Bilstein shocks. There's still a lot wrong with the old girl. Engine is down on power and burns oil. There's a probable vacuum leak or two and some issues with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, which means occasional hard starts and some irregular idle when the engine's cold. And just recently, the speedo cable broke, so the speedometer and odometer are nonfunctional for now. She needs new tires, badly. And I need to save up the $80 for a shift linkage rebuild kit.
It doesn't matter, though. With the front end fixed, I can trust the car and the steering is what it's supposed to be. When I slip behind the wheel, my blood pressure drops and the worries of the world fade away. My mind clears; I can stop crying. The interior of the car feels like the Mercedes engineers climbed inside my head and created a car just for me. Everthing is sized right, feels right. The car's small. Me-sized (I'm only 5'-3" tall.) It's kind of spare and utilitarian inside, because although it's a Mercedes, it's an old one and a base model, too. The seats aren't even leather - they're vinyl.
But, as a fellow car enthusiast friend of mine says, it's all good. Me and my little piece of obsessive German engineering, we get along perfectly. I saved her from sitting unloved on a corner car lot (who wants a stick shift Mercedes in this town? Nobody but me.) And she saves me from emotional collapse and nervous exhaustion. Over and over again.
It's definitely all good.