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Newsletter No.074 National Rally report, Vito 113 Flexivan for sale

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Newsletter Number 74
10th May 2004

Welcome.  Hello, we are back from Tasmania. My family and I had a great time in Tasmania and I would recommend it as a holiday destination to anybody. It is a great place full of history and beautiful scenery. We took our Sprinter 412D campervan. Total distance travelled was 3305.6kms at an average fuel consumption of 8.33km per liter or 23.8mpg  , not bad for a 2.9lt engine pulling a 3.4 tonne van!

We are still looking for a new Bob! As mentioned in the last newsletter Bob has left us and we need to find a replacement. I would consider an apprentice (yes you can do an apprentiship as a Parts interpreter) if the right person came along. If you or anybody  you know is interested send me an e-mail.

We are getting a few cases of e-mails going to the wrong address. Not a problem most of the time but we do get the odd e-mail going to that should be going else where. This address is some times only checked once a week. Here is a list of our e-mail address's:

Spare parts,
Service department,
Technical advice,

 Also in this Newsletter is a report on the Bi-annual rally, we have another "What the?" and the usual line up of jokes and links with interesting cars.

Finally news that we are going to sell our Vito 113 Flexivan. This is quite a rare version of the Vito van here in Australia in that it has a removable rear seat so that it can be converted from a van to a family car in under 30 seconds. See the details below in the cars for sale section.

Thanks John Green.

What the?

The car in the "What the" for the last newsletter was indeed a W111 coupe as HowardFulford from Bath in the UK replied. However we asked for the model. It is a 280SE 3.5 coupe. You can tell that it is not a 220SE or 250SE by the height of the grille. Have a look at these two picture and compare the grille. If you want to know more about these check out this site.








This newsletters "What the" is to list the three engine options for the W123 long wheel base sedan as pictured below in our cars for sale section. 


 The following artical was written by Lyn Harrison who is vice president of the Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT.

Every 2 years or so since the first one held at Dubbo in 1976, the Mercedes-Benz Clubs of Australia have come together in an event known as “The National Rally”.  The purpose of this event is to initiate or renew friendships amongst the other clubs’ members, and generally have a party with the excuse that we are all fans of the marque of the Silver Star. 

This year was the Queensland club’s turn to host The National Rally, with their president Christine Reid, and her husband Robert (the club’s secretary) playing host to club members from NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, WA and even the New Zealand Mercedes-Benz Clubs as well as their own club’s large contingent.  Special guests included Donald Leap from the American Club, Karin Baer from the Classic Centre, and a later arrival, Dieter Ritter, also from Stuttgart, and Tony Andreevski, and his wife Susan, from DCAP in Melbourne.  The central venue for the festivities was the Rydge’s on Southbank hotel in the heart of the city of Brisbane, over the Easter weekend of 9th to 12th April. 

We decided to explore the claimed “sunny Queensland” in our 450 SL and duly left home on the Wednesday before Easter and headed for the coastal route.  We were a bit concerned about stories of locusts swarms out west, and I also decided we could visit 2 places I hadn’t seen before – Fighter World at the FA-18 base at Williamtown, and Port Stevens.  I soaked up the sight and sound of FA-18s taking-off and roaring all around the field, while the good wife was happy with a cup of tea and a magazine.  We had an excellent overnight at Nelson’s Bay including a full brekky included in the price, then headed northward towards our next over-nighter, the very Scottish town of Maclean, between Grafton and Ballina.  They were gearing up for their annual weekend of Scottish-type celebrations, and the whole town was very decorative, down to the tartans of all varieties that adorned their telegraph poles.  Our room gave us a great view of the sun setting over the Clarence River. 

Friday morning, we went on into Brisbane, and very easily sailed into the Rydges’ hotel at about 1:30pm.  Our cars were parked in a nearby CIT car park with 24-hr patrolled security guards, and opposite a local police station.  After registration, we strolled about 150 metres to “the beach” – a true beach-type set up with sand, lifeguards, and plenty of people in the water from toddlers to oldies, on the edge of the river bank, what a great idea for Canberra!  Friday evening’s do was finger food and drinks in a very confined and noisy terrace balcony to the accompaniment of a trio of very experienced musos playing great music for listening or dancing. 

Our only sad note of the weekend came later that night.  Frank Johns, a South Australian club member of many years, and in his 80s, had driven the long western route with his wife, in their classic Mercedes-Benz, and was dancing along with the band and, in the midst of a conversation with Chris Reid, collapsed and could not be revived.  Those who knew him well agreed that that was the best way an MB enthusiast should leave this life – enjoying his car, his club, and his friends.  The other SA members, and some who knew him from the other clubs, rallied to support his wife. 

Saturday morning, we were up at the crack of dawn for a full buffet brekky in the hotel, then we filled 5 coaches for a run out through the Glasshouse Mountains and the Sunshine Coast, stopping at a little town of Montville.  Here, the local school’s P & C served us morning tea and lunch, separated by a stroll and some “plastic-melting” in the local craft shops.  Oh, and that band of swinging musos were there, too!  Saturday night was a 4-hour cruise on the Brisbane river, while we enjoyed a buffet banquet, and more music to dance to.  Those guys were everywhere! 

Sunday, and another buffet brekky, then into our own chariots (those who flew in from interstate or overseas borrowed one of the coaches from Saturday) for a spin out to Toowoomba.  First stop was Guido Zuccoli’s collection of warbirds at the Toowoomba airport, with morning tea provided by a local Scout troop.  Guido was killed in a Harvard accident near Darwin a couple of years ago, but his collection remains an amazing testimony to his enthusiasm for aviation with the only flying examples of a GAC Boomerang and Fiat G59B in the world.  Next stop was a pecan nut factory where we each gathered a showbag of samples, (and a few extras), and then headed for the home of some Qld members for lunch. 

They hosted a great buffet lunch, which included my first look (and taste) of “Wine in a Can” – a red and a white in 250ml ring-pull cans – a successful local export to the US, apparently.  We checked out their collection of things motoring – recent model S600 and SL500 and a 60s model 600 Grosser, as well as lesser types like a couple of Lamborghini's, and Fiats, and a very nice old Rolls-Royce.  Down the hill we strolled for a look at their “Mercedes-Benz Valley”, pausing on the way to observe a flattened cane toad, and John’s big toy, a D9 bulldozer (cheaper per job than a swarm of bobcats).  The “Valley” consists of a line of about 40 or 50 fairly dead cars, mainly wrecks of old MBs, surrounding a huge, no make that a bloody huge, shed.  In the shed are the projects at various stages of restoration- a couple of Finnies, a couple of 107s, a couple of 108s, 116s, Roundies, the odd Fiat or Datsun, a Mazda Rally Car and a bunch of others.  Plus a garage–sized pile of engines (some still in plastic wrap) and other components.  And, judging from John’s answers to the questions thrown around, he knows where any important spare part is that he may need to lay his hands on.  Oh, and this time, the music was provided by a local youth orchestra.

 Sunday night was set down for a gala dinner, and some surprises.  Chris Reid welcomed the gathering, and announced that the dinner was to be dedicated to the recently passed member, Frank Johns.  The old swing band was back, and entertained us to the usual excellent standard.  Chris Reid called on the Chairman of the MBCCCI, Dieter Ritter, to say a few words.  Dieter called our own Lindsay Miller forward, and proceeded to announce and present to him the very much coveted Silver Star Award, one of only 5 awarded in any year worldwide by the MBCCCI, to recognize Lindsay’s (and Angela’s) long time support of the Mercedes-Benz marque through his support and contributions to the ACT club and to all the other Mercedes-Benz Clubs in Australia.  A most worthy recipient, and our hearty congratulations go to Lindsay and Angela.

 Monday morning, after another huge brekky, and we lined up the cars on the foreshores of Southbank for the finale grand display.  Many of the locals brought out some extra special cars for us to see, including Arthur Love’s 1913 white W5 Benz, and Wolf Grod’s special cabriolet conversion 300d, also white.  WEI ducked off during the morning for a quick spin up and down the river in the local ferry, the City Cat catamaran, and after farewells, headed south to our planned stop at Byron Bay, where we reckon we picked up a lurgy from the water / motel air-conditioning / “funny” stuff in the air (they had just had a Blues Festival weekend).

 Our last overnight was at Taree, then home by 4pm after 2870 km of uneventful motoring in the SL (and yes, the top came off for the run out to Toowoomba).  Several members drove older cars even further, and I only heard of one breakdown, due to a curious electrical problem, out of the 200-odd classic cars that were driven from as far as Adelaide and Melbourne, some of these adding on the far-west route for good measure.

 In 2 years’ time, in 2006, the ACT and NSW Clubs will host the 2006 National Rally, and Eddie Fisher, the New Zealand Club President, offered his club to host an Australasian Rally in 2007 in the Land of the Long White Cloud.  See you there! 

Lynn Harrison


Targa Tasmania


Targa Tasmania is an exciting International Classic… a tarmac rally with competitive stages on closed roads for the best touring, sports and GT cars in the world. Its inaugural year was in April 1992 when Tasmania hosted this distinguished International motoring Classic.

The competition concept is drawn directly from the best features of the Mille Miglia, the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse. However, Targa Tasmania is not a slow-motion re-run. It is a genuine "red-blooded" motor sport competition. It is also a unique annual opportunity for the owners of sports cars and GTs to drive them the way they were designed to be driven, on some of the most exciting and challenging tarmac roads in the world.

In the past there have been many Mercedes-Benz entrants including the 2001 event when Mercedes-Benz chose Targa Tasmania to bring Mick Doohan in a Mercedes CLK 55 to his first ever competition event on 4 wheels. The late Barry Sheene was driving a second Mercedes, an ML55. Unfortunately on day three Mick put his CLK55 into the bushes and ended his rally.

However this years event was a bit of a let down for lovers of the three pointed star from my reading of the entrants list. The only two cars I could find were a W113 280SL and a W111 220SEb. See the links below for some pictures.

280SL      280SL    280SL     220SEb

Joke of the week.

1)    Go to
2)    Type in "weapons of mass destruction" (DON'T hit return)
3)    Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button, NOT the "Google search"
4)    Read the "error message" carefully. Someone at Google has a sense of  humour

If that amuses you try a search for "French Military Victories"

Every now and again there comes a graphic so good the fresh concept blows you away. The University of Dublin science students have finally finished the digital clock they have been working on for 4 years. Go to this site to see the results.

Jaws of life demonstration!

The following e-mail is from Chris Stewart who is both a member of the Mercedes-Benz club of Victoria and the OZVETS mailing list. I am sure than non club members will be welcome and understand that a gold coin donation is requested to cover costs.

Just to let you all know that the Mercedes Benz club in Victoria is holding a
road accident rescue demonstration on Saturday next week, in Langwarrin. Any
interested people are welcome to come along and see a W116 280S be demolished,
and how the jaws of life work.

Anyone interested, let me know ( and I can let you
know details.

We will also be sacrificing a lesser car, to demonstrate just how strong these
cars are.

Any gold 450SEl's should also be wary, just in case the boys need a bit of
extra practice.......David!

Links of the week.

Here is a link from another German car site on home mag wheel repair. Not a bad artical. If you are interested we can get you the Wurth paint they mention.

Some company in the USA is having a clearance sale by the looks of things. Check out the description of this car on e-bay in the USA. The Auction was obviously a success as they then listed another one with an equally silly description.

Here are some disturbing pictures sent to us by David from the OZVETS mailing list.:

If you feel up for a restoration challenge you might like to try this 190SL

Cars for Sale.

Last newsletter we reported that the white 280SE 3.5 was sold. It would appear i was a bit premature in announcing this! A deal had been struck but not concluded and as I was going away I thought I had better take it off the website. However things did not turn out as planned and now it is back on the market again.

We have sold the C180 and the 280E, both are now with new loving owners. We have also got a lovely 1994 E220 that has just come into stock. Silver with unmarked grey cloth trim. 

Also for sale is our Vito Flexivan. As mentioned above this is a great car for a tradesman who needs a second family car for the weekends. The rear seat is clipped to the floor of the van and can be removed in a matter of seconds. The sign writing has been removed and it is in "as new" condition.

Remember that if you want us to notify you when certain cars come into stock to make sure your details are correct on your subscription page. To change them simply log on and click "Edit your details"

Click here to see all the cars for sale.

The following cars have recently arrived for sale:

E220 sedan 1994 model 145000kms

Vito 113 Flexivan 1998model 77000kms

The following cars have been sold:

280E 1978 model 224000kms

C180 1997model 103000kms

Also in stock we have:

380SL 1981 roadster 140000kms

280SE 3.5 sedan 1972 model 

320E 1993 model 159000kms

C200 1996 model 176000kms Rare manual transmission!

Collection of three factory Stretch Mercedes-Benz's

So that's it for another newsletter. Hope you liked what you saw.  If you have any ideas or want to contribute any articles, pictures or other material please e-mail me here.  Also, don't forget that you can check out the old newsletters here

Thanks, John Green.