Classic car magazines are an excellent resource and they run regular back to back tests to help readers decide which car to buy. We regularly use them to find new additions to the fleet. When it comes to discovering which cars are more popular though, you can’t beat market research. We’re not talking about finding out which cars are better out of a range of choices, merely what is more popular. Sadly, they’re not always the same thing. Take the Triumph Stag and Mercedes SL. They’re regularly put back to back as fine examples of that rare thing, a useable, practical classic convertible for all the family. Usually opinion is equally divided , the Stag winning for its v8 burble, the SL rated for its sheer usability. We have run SLs and Stags on our fleet for several years. Both live up – or down – to their reputation. The SL is virtually bulletproof, save for a remarkable propensity to rust. The Stag, well it’s no surprise we’ve nicknamed it The Snag. When it goes, it goes brilliantly. Thanks to a lot of tlc we have probably got a pair of the most reliable Stags in Britain – one made it to Monte Carlo without problems – but we’re never entirely sure what might go wrong next. Luckily, this usually happens to us, not hirers. We sold our Mercedes SL a year ago because the colour and spec weren’t quite right. Since then we’ve concentrated on the Stags we have in Yorkshire and the Cotswolds. The problem has been that customers haven’t exactly thrown themselves at our Stags. Who knows why? There are a lot available to hire but then there are a lot of MGBs and ours fly out the door. The situation made us ponder the Stag anew and we came to the conclusion that despite it’s multitude of advantages it has remained a bit of a niche car. If you know them you quite rightly love them, if you don’t you don’t. So we’ve made a decision. We’re moving on our Stag in the Cotswolds in order to concentrate hires on our Yorkshire car, which is a virtually concours example with an exemplary hire record. In its place we’re adding a beautiful sky blue metallic Mercedes SL convertible. The spec of this car ticks all the boxes as the photos show. We particularly like the chrome steel wheels. The SL we had was always popular and it is always a car we get asked for. Although I’m sad to lose the Stag, I’m more than made up with the SL. There is nothing a hirer of classic cars likes better than a car he can trust. And the Mercedes is such a car. Sure, there are some bad ones out there but their problems are self inflicted through poor maintenance. The quality of the SL is such that it could have been built yesterday. Like the VW Beetle and early Porsche 911 we hire, it is a solid, no-nonsense classic car that you can depend on. Of course, I’ve probably jinxed it now. But isn’t that ultimately what we all want from a classic car? Sure, the not knowing whether it will start or arrive adds a soupçon of fun to any journey, but it isn’t enduring is it? We have made our fleet of classic cars dependable but with the SL it starts further along on that journey so it needs less work. So you, the people, have spoken. It’s Mercedes SL not Stag. We’re still making the choice available because the Stag remains a fine car – and ours is a good one – but for now it’s Germany 1, England nil. For more details visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.