Hello and welcome to the September MB Spares Newsletter. Wow was the last
one really in June? What has prompted us to get another newsletter
published is two exciting upcoming events here in Canberra. The
Mercedes-Benz Club of the ACT 38th Annual Concours and "Spin weekend" and
event held as part of the ACT's 100th birthday celebrations.
Mercedes-Benz Club of the ACT 38th Concours d 'Elegance and Display
This year the
MBCACT Concours is being held at the picturesque location of the Old
Parliament House lawns on the 22nd of September. The event is being held as
part of the 2013 Shannon's German Auto Display. For the first time the
MBCACT is encouraging non members to enter the Concours! The rules and
entry forms can be found at the
Historically this has always been a great event which attracts entrants
from all over Australia. The other German Car Clubs add to the day making a
great day out for anyone appreciates German Cars. MB Spares will be
displaying a few of our cars including our latest project a W123 500CE.
This car is a recreation of a very rare and very expensive AMG model that
was offered in the early 80's. (You can read more about this exciting car
below) also on display will be our sunning 74000km 300E, if you have been
thinking about this car it will be worth your time to come and take a look.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Cars for sale.
As usual when we go for a few months with no Newsletter there is quite a
bit of turnover in our cars for sale section.
Cars sold include a stunning W203 C230 (rare V6 version), a great W126
300SE and plenty more. We still have the CLK320AMG which surprises me as it
is a great looking car. In August I drove this to Benalla (in Victoria) and
back in a day to attend a funeral. Very comfortable and great fuel
We also have a pair of 500SL's a W107 and a W129. You can find details on
them all at the links below:
500SL, import, but that's a good thing!!
300E only 74000kms
W107 500SL very rare model in Australia.
R500 wagon. The ultimate Mum truck.
E280CDI, update rocket ship.
CLK320, factory fitted AMG options.
Look Mum, I'm famous.
Well not quite. But John did manage to get his picture in the paper...
You can see the article here.
ACT based readers of the Newsletter will no doubt know that this year the
ACT is celebrating its 100th
birthday. As part of the celebrations all aspects of life in the ACT
the Car lovers have their day on Saturday the 19th of October. It is called
Spin Saturday and is part of
Spin a month of
celebrations of all things "wheeled" that have been a part of the
development of the ACT.
Spin Saturday will be held at the TAMS depot which is close by to MB Spares
so we will be displaying several of our cars along with many other from the
members of the Mercedes-Benz Club of the ACT. The day looks like being a
great one that will go way into the night with a band of Petrol heads going
by the name of the "The Petrolsexuals", lead by Mark Seymour of Hunters and
Collectors. According to the blub we have been given the songs will all
feature lyrics, rants and rhythms that are odes to the car.
Mercedes-Benz Club members who would like to display their car should
contact Richard Jackson whose phone number is on the front of your
magazine. Admission to the general public is free and MB Spares toughly
recommends this event to you.
Yes I know we keep plugging the Facebook page. But, I thought I should
point out that you don't have to have a Facebook account to check in on our
page and see what is being discussed. In the last few months we have had
some great pictures and discussions. Here are a few examples:
What caused this?
What's wrong with this?
Who made this?
A safety warning.
Pictures of Johns travels.
The reality is that updating the Facebook page is only a few minutes a few
times a week. Compared to publishing a Newsletter it is easy! Don't get me
wrong, we certainly plan to continue the newsletters. But, at the same time
we need to move with the times.
No such model I hear you say?? Well yes Mercedes-Benz never offered a V8
version of the W123 chassis, but I think they were thinking about it. If
you come along to the MBCACT Concours you can see our recreation of the
M117 5.0lt conversion that AMG offered in the early 80s. You won't believe
just how many parts you can take from a 500SEL and bolt straight into a
w123 chassis. It's not quite as straight forward as it sounds, but compared
to over conversions we have done like the
560GEthis one was a breeze. The alignment of parts like the radiator,
fan and radiator cowling leads me to think that MB had some thoughts on
In June 1983 Australian motoring journalist Gavin green wrote the following
article on the AMG 500CE. It is a very interesting article with references
to what could have been here in Australia. A picture of the car from the
article is in the r/h margin of this newsletter.
AMG has been modifying Mercedes Benzes for 16 years, but it took the
AMG 500SEC, with its 35kW power boost and extrovert body modifications to
bring the company fame. Gavin Green tested a wilder AMG product - a red
280CE with a 206kW 5.0 litre V8
THROUGHOUT Europe a new spoiler-clad ground-hugging supercar is turning
the heads of even the most blase of enthusiasts. Park one next to a
Rolls-Royce and so effectively will the new car pull the crowds that the
Spirit of Ecstasy is likely to get lonely. Park one next to a Ferrari and
the prancing horse is likely to jump with jealousy. Even the long time
champion car of European poseurs, the Lamborghini Countach, has cause to
feel threatened. Surprisingly the new head turner comes, mostly, from that
doyen of styling conservatism, Mercedes-Benz. But the three-pointed star on
the grille does not tell the whole story. For, like a three-piece suited
businessman who has just spent the morning shopping in Chelsea, these new
Mercedes-Benzes have had their standard formal clothes stripped off and
replaced with a brand new outfit. The cars are lowered, fitted with front
and rear spoilers, side skirts, wide alloy wheels wearing huge tyres, and
have had their chrome colour-keyed. The metamorphosis can be effected on
any Mercedes-Benz, but it is particularly striking on the S class
The company behind the transformations is AMG, the German tuning firm
which has been making Benzes go faster and look bolder for the last 16
years. But in the last four years business has really boomed. Now - despite
the recession - things are growing at the rate of 30 percent a year. Export
markets, in particular, are expanding at a phenomenal rate. "As cars become
more and more similar in appearance, so people are more interested in
getting modifications done, which make their cars look different and become
more individual," says AMG's chief, former racing driver and Mercedes
development engineer, Hans-Werner Aufrecht.
Happily the next export market in line for the AMG expansion is Australia.
Although some local firms have been privately importing AMG bits and
fitting them to Mercedes-Benzes Down Under, there has never been an
officially sanctioned AMG concessionaire - until now. The new distributor
is an English firm, Stratton, which is based near Manchester. Its director,
Mike Hinde, is due in Australia this month to talk to dealers interested in
selling the AMG goodies.
Traditionally a strong country for both Mercedes-Benz sales and for car
customising, Australia should be one of the world's biggest markets for the
three-pointed star transformation, predicts Hinde. But, at an English price
of just under $10,000 for the suspension lowering (by three cm) and the
appearance metamorphosis (including the chrome colour keying), the
transformation on the S class coupe is not cheap. For an extra $5000 in the
UK, you can have the engine modifications as well, which boost power for
the five litre 500SEC by 35 kW and helps it rocket to more than 240 km/h.
For the 380SEC. power can be boosted by 25 kW at a price of $3000.
Australian prices, needless to say, are probably going to be significantly
Appropriately, AMG is based near Stuttgart, not far from the Mercedes head
office, in a town called Affalterbach. Even more appropriately the address
is number 1, Daimlerstrasse. "The address is just a coincidence," says Herr
Aufrecht, a short man who finds it hard to sit still, hates being
photographed, loves drinking local Swabian wine and eating Swabian food,
and is also very friendly. He also loves Mercedes-Benzes, which he
unequivocally considers to be the best make of car in the world. "We don't
make Mercedes cars any better," insists Aufrecht. "We just make them less
of a compromise. We make them a better sports car."
AMG modifies about 1500 cars a year, and works only on Mercedes models.
The most unusual assignment, says Aufrecht, was to transform a classic 1955
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, worth at least $50,000 in Germany in its standard
form. "The owner wanted us to gut it and fit AMG modified 5.0 litre V8
parts from the 500SEC. He wanted the engine, gearbox, suspension, brakes,
rear axle - the works." It took six months and cost $220,000.
When 1 arrived in Affalterbach on a wintry February day with the weather
trying to make up its mind whether it was snowing or raining, there was the
usual impressive display of Mercedes hardware parked in the AMG forecourt -
all awaiting collection by their wealthy owners. The gathering of super
Mercedes-Benzes included a 500SEC with $25,000 worth of interior
modifications - including a video player (the screen was built into the
facia centre console ahead of the gear knob; the player was built into the
back seat) and full leather interior, a superb sound system more likely to
be found in a disco than a car, and carpet which wouldn't look out of place
in the lounge at Buckingham Palace. Naturally all the exterior and engine
modifications had been carried out as well. It was the most expensive
500SEC AMG had modified. Completed, it cost double the price of a standard
500SEC. It was about to be air freighted to its owner in the Middle
There was also a collection of Mercedes W201s - the new small Merc -
which had undergone the metamorphosis. J AMG is starting to fit 121 kW <
2.3 litre fuel injected engines g to the sweet handling 5 machines.
"Shortly we'll start fitting 5.0 litre V8s as well. When we do that it will
be the quickest thing we make." Aufrecht is so impressed with the potential
of the W201 series Mercedes that he thinks it will be the most popular car
for the transformation. He's expecting to modify between 1000 and 2000
W201s in some way in a year - be it by simply adding spoilers or fitting
the 5.0 litre motor.
But until these beasts hit the road, the best machine for the sporty
driver that the tuning doyen makes is, according to Aufrecht, the W123
coupe body (the 230CE and 280CE) fitted with the big 5.0 litre motor. And
that was what 1 went to Germany to collect. The object was to bring one
from Affalterbach to England where British concessionaire Stratton could
use it for display and promotional purposes. But it wasn't just any old 5.0
litre W123 coupe that I picked up.
"This car," said Aufrecht before I hopped into the leather encased
cockpit, "is the best production based road car for the enthusiast we've
built." Read the specification of this special one-off machine and it's not
hard to work out why. Take a280CE. Strip out the mechanicals and then fit
one of the AMG modified 206 kW 5.0 litre V8 motors, 500SEC series automatic
four speed transmissions and rear axle assembly. ABS brakes and rear end
self levellers. Then add Bilstein gas shock absorbers, specially uprated
and shortened coil springs (which help reduce the ride height by five cm
over standard), eight inch wide alloy five spoke AMG alloy wheels and vast
Pirelli P7 225/50VR16 tyres. "It's faster accelerating than the AMG
modified 500SEC because it's lighter," says Aufrecht. "It handles better
because of the shorter wheelbase." Final weight is 1520 kg, 70 kg more than
the 280CE but 90 kg less than the standard 500SEC.
But the transformation wasn't restricted to the mechanicals. In looks AMG
has taken the wolf in sheep's clothing 280CE and turned it into a ferocious
tiger-gone punk. For a start there is the usual AMG fitment of chin AMG
280CE is gaudy in red, but interior is more tasteful after$9000 worth of
modifications, including British Connolly leather upholstery spoiler
(although this is a brand new one piece moulding which incorporates the
front bumper), and side skirting. The wheel arches have been cut back at
the front to accommodate the monstrous rubber and lowered body. But then,
as was specially requested by the Arab customer who ordered the car, the
beast got the sort of paint job of which even Aufrecht does not approve. A
bright candy apple red. It is so loud and garish that it makes you wonder
whether Henry Ford's colour choice policy did have some merits after all.
Even the hallowed three pointed star has been tainted. In its bright red
colour it looks more like a dissected toffee apple than the ultimate symbol
of motoring excellence.
Inside, things are less gaudy - although with $9000 worth of
modifications, the cost is totally in keeping with the rest of the car. The
cream coloured Connolly leather upholstery, with its tasteful dark brown
piping, would look entirely appropriate inside any upmarket British luxury
car. It is the first time AMG has used Connolly hides. Now, says Herr
Aufrecht, 80-90 per cent of all interior modifications will use the British
treated skins. An excellent Pioneer KP909G stereo cassette player, together
with speakers worth $2000, helps look after the tapes whether it be Mozart
or Men At Work. Also inside, the usual Mercedes seats have been discarded
and replaced with Recaros which, with their myriad of adjustment, can
accommodate anyone from the emaciated to the corpulent. Total cost of the
car in Germany is $80,000. Herr Aufrecht refers to the beast as an
When you step behind the wheel you look over a normal Mercedes facia
with only one alteration: a speedo calibrated to300km/h. The large Mercedes
steering wheel has also been discarded in the transformation: instead
there** a smaller AMG sports steering wheel, which feels much nicer even if
it does block the view to the top of the instruments. Fire up the motor and
listen to the throaty, uneven idle of the AMG 5.0 litre unit and you soon
get the idea that this V8 has a good deal more grunt than its tamer
Unterturkheim forefather. (It gets its 35 kW boost over the standard motor
from different valves, modified combustion chambers and camshafts which
give more valve overlap. The bottom end of the motor is untouched.) Adjust
the firm but comfortable Recaro, and the typically excellent Mercedes wing
and rear view mirrors, select Drive, and you're away. Fast.
Bluntly, the AMG 500CE accelerates like no automatic car I have driven.
Held in Drive, but with the right pedal mushing the thick carpet, you'll
see 100 km/h from rest in only 6.5 sec - faster, for instance, than an
Aston Martin V8 or that other doyen of slushmatic acceleration, the jaguar
XJS. To 100, the AMG 500CE is a mighty 1.5 sec quicker than the standard
Mercedes 500SEC and about 0.5 sec quicker than the modified AMG S-class
Swing the car out onto the autobahn, squeeze the accelerator and, in
perfect symphony with the rising growls of the big V8, you'll see the
speedometer needle swing quickly around the clock. Held in Drive and with
the accelerator hard down, you'll hear the four speed auto select top at
185 km/h. Progress does not start to falter until an indicated 240. Given a
straight enough piece of road you'll be able to beat that by an indicated
10 km/h. However, allowing for the speedo error, theAMG500CEis nonetheless
a real 240 km/h road car - or 150 mph in the old language. And it must be
said that at 240 km/h motoring is neither dangerous nor dramatic.
Unfortunately however the German autobahn held one nasty shock in store. In
a temporary 80 km/h speed zone (due to roadworks in the slow lane), the
punctilious Teutonic policeman did not smile kindly when the 500CE
thundered through at 160. A $300 on the spot seemed to cheer him up but
didn't do me much good. When I told him, in my best schoolboy German, that
I didn't own the car and wasn't rich it made not a jot of difference.
Either you pay the fine or stay in jail until you can get the money, he
said. Thus relieved of my cash for fuel and the ferry ticket to England, I
kept more of an eye on the economy gauge than the speedo. And fortunately
the ferry people accepted cheques.
Nonetheless, well before the officious policeman flagged me down, I had
discovered that there is more wind noise with this special W123 coupe at
speed than there would have been on an S class coupe, with or without the
AMG mods. The old unaerodynamic body accounts for that. The car is also
affected more by cross winds, and tends to wander in its lane. Floor the
throttle at 100, and drop the automatic back into third, and you'll see 160
in only 8.7 sec - half a second faster than an Aston Martin V8, and a
stunning 5.0 sec faster than a normal Mercedes 500SEC.
Happily the super W123 coupe is also excellent in tight going. Like the
500SEC with AMG suspension mods, the car displays considerably less body
roll than the excellent handling standard Mercedes. The firmer springs,
more precise Bilstein dampers and huge low profile Pirelli tyres make the
machine more taut and responsive. The steering too (even though the box is
standard W123 fitment) is just a touch sharper. The end result is that you
can hustle down tight country lanes with more precision, more speed and
more security. The ride is less supple than on a standard Merc but it is
never uncomfortable. You will feel the nastier bumps and hear them, but you
are unlikely to curse them.
AMG claims to improve the fuel consumption of the 5.0 litre V8 with its
mods, but my figures disagreed. The best I got for the 500CE was 6.8 km/1
(19mpg on a fairly leisurely trip from London down to Thomas Hardy country
in Dorset), while the worst was 5.4 km/l (15 mpg) at high speed on the
autobahn. A standard 5.0 litre V8 would surely have done better.
When AMG is officially represented in Australia this year, you too
could have one of the special SOOCEs built. For, as Herr Aufrecht says. "We
can do whatever modifications anyone wants to their car". All you'll need
is a lot of money. However rest assured that if you do get your 280CE so
transformed, or if you get your 380SEC kitted out with the AMG goodies, you
will undoubtedly have the best pose machine in either Double Bay or Toorak.
The only danger may come from a Lamborghini Countach. But then if you order
the candy apple red paint, the chances are, even the bull from Sant'Agata
will be upstaged. □
Cars for dismantling.
This month we will be dismantling our first W140 series. Taken off the road
not from accident damage, but from being un economical to repair. A sign of
the times... Here is a list of what has arrived this month:
- S320 W140 1996 update version
- 230E W124 1987
-280CE W123 1984 bad front hit, good doors and trim, very good engine
- 280E W123 1977, no redeeming features
- C200 W202 1998, bad hit l/h side
- 280S W126 1984, import rare carb engine
- 230E W124 1987, South African assembly car.
Interesting Mercedes-Benz links.
- OZBENZ joins
Facebook. Yes even OZBENZ now has a Facebook Group.72 members after 2
months and growing quickly.
- What were
So that's it for this Newsletter, be good, drive safely and look after your
John & Sandra Green.