We like how thermometers work. I'm of course referring to your basic mercury thermometer, which goes up or down depending on how hot the temperature is. If you were thinking the digital one, I guess you belong in the 1980s, and shouldn't deserve an exquisite specimen of the car I am now going to discuss.
Now what if a speedometer did the same thing? Not show the speeds digitally. Like actually show you the change of speed like a thermometer while avoiding the numerous potholes on your way home. Such was the case with the Mercedes-Benz W111, or the first-generation of what we now call the S-Class for the many of us (that includes me) who don't understand what each Mercedes chassis code refers to.
I have no idea how the Mercedes engineers rationalized such a speedometer, when circular ones had been around for a while by that point. Perhaps someone in the comments can enlighten us as to why Mercedes took that approach in the late 1950s and 1960s. Or maybe since people who bought these top-of-the-line cars would have drivers, maybe the speedometer design was conducive to making the drivers operate the cars much more smoothly and maintaining a constant speed.
Personally, I don't think I could ever become used to such a contraption telling me my speed. I much prefer a normal, circular dial, since it's been used to tell rates and levels of things since the beginning of time. Digital readouts may soon become much more popular in today's cars than they were in the 1980s, but I doubt a thermometer-style readout would work today.
Maybe Mercedes could engineer an option for the thermometer-style speedometer in the driver's LCD screen of the current S-Class, as a throwback to the past. It would be relatively simple to program. But I don't believe anyone would want that in their information cluster full time, and the people old enough to remember it either a) dead or b) not likely to buy a brand new Mercedes-Benz.
Below is a video showing how the speedometer worked. What do you think?