Don’t like cars? Try a classic Mercedes-Benz?

Photography by David S. Wallens

If you’re reading this, you obviously have some interest in classic cars. However, we all know that one person who despises them. Arman Khazraee understands that situation all too well. His father, Aram, aka Lee, is one of those guys who couldn’t care less about classic cars or any cars for that matter. Unless … that automobile is a vintage Mercedes-Benz.

My dad hates cars,” says Arman. “He calls them a ‘mule’–it just takes him for one place to another place. We change our new cars every two to three years.”

A mule?


Lee Khazaree calls today's cars "mules," even if it's a Maybach.

But a classic Mercedes-Benz seems to melt Lee’s hardened heart toward automobiles.

We are Iranian,” Arman explains. “In Iran, it was a statement in society if you had a Mercedes. He wanted to get the cars his father had. So, we had a ’75, and then a ’81, and then he wanted to get older ones.”

Arman Khazraee.

They tried newer Mercedes. For example, the Khazraees bought a brand-new Mercedes-Maybach SUV Night Edition, one of the first in the U.S. It didn’t excite Lee. They traded it in within a year.

It’s me trying to convince my dad to buy a new car,” says Arman. “The old cars, he appreciates them and how beautiful they are.”

Six years ago, Lee started his love affair for classic Mercedes with a 1975 240 D. Yes, his father had one. Now the Khazraee family has seven vintage Mercedes. Lee particularly dislikes one thing about today’s cars that the classics lack: the technology.

It’s easy to work on,” Arman says of the older Mercedes. “If you have a problem, you can fix it yourself–you don’t have to take it to the dealership.”

The 2.2-liter inline six that powers the 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220 S.

Then, there’s the quality that came back in the day.

They don’t build them like they used to,” says Arman. “The craftsmanship. The woodwork on the inside. They don’t make that anymore. Everything’s plastic today.”

Inside the 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220 S.

Two of the family’s latest additions to the collection are a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220 S and a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 220 SEb. The 220 S, aka W180 II, had been on the radar for the Khazraees.

We were going to get a convertible,” says Arman. “The problem with the convertibles, they have a lot of mechanical pieces, and it develops problems over time, and [my father] doesn’t have time for that. And, the coupe is more appealing because it’s much more rare. Plus, ours has a sunroof. Only 200 had the sliding sunroof option. Ours is also a manual, with four on the tree.”

After the Khazraees filled their storage space to capacity with Mercedes, Lee showed up with another one, the 1965.

That came as a surprise,” Arman says. “He bought the ’65 because he loves the style of it. What’s special about it is that it has the four captain seats, with the Safari seat option. Only a few hundred of those were made with the Safari seat option.”

Interior of the 1965 Mercedes-Benz 220 SEb.

The Khazarees enjoy bringing out the Mercedes to car events, where the 1959 and 1965 cars turn heads, albeit for different reasons.

The ’65 is a car that’s much more loved by car enthusiasts,” says Arman. “A lot of Porsche enthusiasts love it. It’s because of the shape and body style. It’s a sexy, sleek, chic car.

The ’59 gets a lot more looks, like a celebrity,” continues Arman. “I don’t know if it’s because of the pontoon look. I personally like the ’59, because it’s much more rare.”

1965 Mercedes-Benz 220 SEb.

However, don’t think that Lee views the cars as something like stocks, bonds or cryptocurrency.

He does care about [the Mercedes as investments] to an extent, but that’s not his main goal,” Arman explains. “His focus: Enjoy it, drive it. Some people buy cars and keep them in the warehouse. You got to drive it or it’s going to start causing your problems. We drive it. He takes it for groceries. Takes it to work sites.”

Work sites? Yes, Lee earns a living as a civil engineer for his own construction company. He isn’t afraid to get these classics dirty. The Mercedes have certainly stood the test of time and cause no issues, which Lee likes. Besides, Arman quickly adds that he’s there to keep them clean. Lee doesn’t enjoy washing them, either, but make no mistake that vintage Mercedes are his go-to for a drive any day.

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