About your shifting issue, the car does have an upshift delay valve, that delays the transmission shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd gear, causing your catalytic converter to warm up quickly.
However, this definitely would've tripped a check engine light (code #26), which is a very common occurence on these cars.
About your missing problem, you might have a bad coil wire, or maybe an intermittent connection between one of the coil wires and its supressor end.
2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".