It’s hard to believe, but the first mobile telephone system designed for an automobile was introduced in 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri using the Bell System. The setup weighed 80 pounds and offered just three channels upon which to communicate. This early technology was later overtaken by analog cellular service in 1984. Every so often, a classic car comes along that features a mobile phone.
The Pick of the Day is a low-mileage 1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 roadster listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in San Diego, California.
“Super well-maintained, smooth-driving Mercedes-Benz SLK Kompressor. Low mileage, no rust, garage-kept, cream puff. A rare turn-key ready beauty,” the listing states.
Showing just 62,300 miles on the odometer, it’s hard to believe this roadster is 24 years old. The seller itemizes the car’s equipment into a long list. Included are lots of upgrades including a one-touch power-retractable hardtop, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Sports package, heated and power-adjustable seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Bose audio system, and of course, that mobile phone hidden inside the center armrest.
The SLK-Class originally launched as a compact executive roadster for model year 1996 on the R170 platform. It offered seating for two and used what Mercedes called a “Vario-roof” retractable hardtop which takes about 25 seconds to deploy or retract at the touch of a button.
The drivetrain is one of the things that makes this example so unique: the Getrag-produced five-speed manual transmission seems to be a rare and sought after find in the collector community. Power comes from a supercharged 2.3-liter inline-four that puts out 194 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. This car is also outfitted with AMG treatment in the form of special 17-inch wheels, accented by body-colored side skirts and a chrome tailpipe. The seller states that the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are new.
As far as that phone goes: the analog cell phone system became overtaken in 2008 by more modern “hands-free” systems that used a Bluetooth or wireless link to connect to a network. These days, an analog car phone is more of a conversation piece or novelty than anything else. If I could pair my cell phone with a traditional-looking car phone, I would totally do it just to look like a 1990s executive.
The seller is asking $12,450 or best offer for this SLK, which includes a Mercedes-branded car cover.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.