Book review: My Mercedes is not for Sale ~ Jeroen van Bergeijk


Jeroen van Bergeijk (2008)

On starting this slim book my expectations were that, along with a title that may well work better in Dutch, surely there’s not much to be written about driving a Mercedes to West Africa and selling it? But journalist Jeroen van Bergeijk has a pretty good go and, much like Mercedes’ renowned emblem, succeeds in doing so by diverging in various directions: taking a tour of the Mercedes factory with the three-pointed Mercederatti, discussing topics such as the cult of this still much-admired brand, the ethics in selling an old banger to ‘poor’ Africans for a profit, and even the very ethos of the travel experience by way of the 1970s cult book Zen and the Art of… There are many other interesting topics which, I’m sorry to say, months after reading the book have slipped my mind. All this helps pad out the usual overlanding misadventures along the way.

You get the feeling My Merc.. is aimed at a more credulous North American audience who may not know such a zany adventure is even possible, let alone commonly undertaken by Europeans where it appears the book has had less of an impact.

You can find more on youtube. Cover your ears at the start if you find Janis Joplin’s obligatory track a bit like running your nails down a blackboard. Hang in there, some nice West Africa music follows.