If you’re not familiar with ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”, you may find it a bit (ok, considerably more than a bit) out there. The show has the liberty to explore a whole universe of fairy tale characters and because ABC is owned by Disney, the whole Mickey Mouse catalog is on the table as well. Beloved classics like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Peter Pan”? They’re in there. A “Frozen” mashup? Why not? All that was missing was “let it go”.
For those of you who never watched the show, Once Upon a Time (OUT) is anchored around the story of classic characters Snow White, her step mother the evil Queen and of course, Prince Charming (I know…but bear with me). Departing from the traditional depiction of a girl who cleans random houses she finds in the woods because no one wants to trespass and crash on a dirty cabin, right? OUT’s Snow White is a seasoned fighter whom, along with Charming, wages war against the evil Queen Regina in order to take back the kingdom. Things seem to go well for #teamheroes until the Queen comes up with the ultimate curse, banishing everyone from their wondrous land to a magic deprived place, a little town in Maine in which people forget all about who they are, doomed to live mundane and unfulfilled lives, out of sync with real time. The Queen reinvents herself as the all powerful Mayor and since she’s the only one who retains memory of past events, revels in tormenting and ruling over her now depressed and miserable subjects. However, things change when Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter Emma arrives in town.
Not gonna go deeper into the plot because despite how it sounds in this little synopsis, the show has fantastic actors and has been worth the watch, so give it a shot when you have the chance. As in every show, there have been hits and misses…the writers/show runners have dropped the ball lately, something which creates concerns for the future of OUT, but the series still developed a very loyal fan base and that’s in no small way due to some great acting.
While you’re supposed to be rooting for the good guys, the villains steal the show, namely Robert Carlyle as “Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin in an underrated but amazing performance which puts a lot of the best Hollywood has to offer to shame, and of course Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills/Evil Queen, an absolute fan favorite who had everyone rooting for the bad guy (well, bad girl in this case) from day 1. It’s because of the character Regina that we’re focusing on OUT today, more particularly because of her car: a sexy, sleek – and sinister in a really good way – black Mercedes Benz 560SL. Had to be black, right? What kind of self respecting villain would have a ride in any other color?
The R107 Mercedes Benz is a thing of beauty. For a long time it was overlooked by classic cars enthusiasts who were lost in the endless pit of charm, class and glamour that is the W113. But those days are over, so if you’re thinking about picking up a great, cheap R107…you probably won’t be able to, not a good one at least because that ship has sailed and it is never, ever coming back. But there’s still hope in case you really do fall hard for these and absolutely need one in your life. As with every collectible car, there are a few years and specs more desirable than others, so you can still find something relatively affordable from the mid/late 80’s (since enthusiasts usually want the early stuff; let’s not forget Mercedes made the R107 for almost two full decades). If you want to spend 20 grand or so in a super clean SL with no need of any major overhauling, now is the time. And with that kind of money you can do like our evil, sarcastic, charming and glamorous Mayor did and pick up a 560SL.
Sometimes shows just get stuff right and this particular car for this particular character became one of those fortunate occasions. Wish it would fit the timeline of the story perfectly, but that’s a detail that only car people would give a second thought to. You see, Mills drives a 560, a model focused for non-European markets, predominantly the US one. This spec was introduced in late 1985 and sold from 86 on; the evil Queen´s car – now there’s something you don’t write every day – is a 1988 or 1989 model; we know this because the brake lamp at the back is particular to those years. However, the show’s (main) story starts in 1893. As a little extra in one episode some day it would be interesting to see the origin story (if you will) of the car, how the character came to own it and why that gap…but I might very well be the only person in the whole world interested in seeing that…
[Wanna make sure to say a big thank you to Tamar V. for very kindly allowing the use of the above picture here on AV. Stop by Tamar Loses It to check out all the nice rides that wonder around “Storybrooke”]
So what’s particular about Regina’s 560SL? Well, a couple of interesting things. As mentioned, this is a (mainly) US model, so it does have the ugly US spec bumpers on it. The European market models had far better looking ones. Interestingly, the car has European headlights on it which, again, are much more attractive than the US versions. Someone made a great decision changing those. The rims are not stock nor are they period correct, which is a shame. R107’s always had fantastic options (common to other Mercedes models) in this department, but someone chose to go with 7 spoke factory OEMs from a W208 CLK 320 on this one. It’s an interesting option if a little odd. It doesn’t look terrible at all but still, stock would be a much better look.
Can’t really tell under the hood for obvious reasons, but originally the 560 had an interesting V8, common to the 350 to 560 range, the 5.6L being the bigger displacement one obviously. Interestingly enough, because the European 500SL spec had fewer restrictions in terms of emissions, it was faster than the 560.
The R107 is not a hard core sports car; it’s a comfortable, charismatic 2 seater cruiser that can move along at a brisk pace if you need it to do so. It looks incredible (the optional, factory Pagoda style hard top upgrades it to achingly beautiful), especially in black and it’s a home run choice for a villain’s car.
However, these days our beloved evil Queen is not so evil anymore, transitioning steadily from villain to hero. The character’s path has been very interesting and Lana Parrilla did an incredible job at humanizing Regina Mills, making her transition from murderous megalomaniac, to honorable ally, to love struck champion for the good guys. But all that change doesn’t mean the stylish Benz has to go…
Image credits: Screencaps: Episodes “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” and “Heroes and Villains”
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2 thoughts on “Cars & TV – Evil Drives a Mercedes”
I loved this so much. Regina’s car is *chef’s kiss* – and I really like that this was written by someone who clearly enjoyed the show and liked her character.