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Newsletter No.076 Jaws of life, Binz Ambulances

Please note that some of the links in this Newsletter may no longer be active as we update this site regularly

Newsletter Number 76
21st June 2004

Welcome.  Sorry but the big stock take sale never quite happened. But it will very soon, see below for the answers why. Also in the this newsletter is an interesting history of a very unique vehicle, an excellent witty joke and a report from the MBCV day with the SES. This report is excellent reading for anybody who wonders just how safe there Mercedes-Benz is compared to the flood of  cheap "Drive away no more to pay" cars that we are bombarded with on the TV.

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?

Plenty of correct answers to the "What the?" from the last newsletter. The correct answers came from the following people in the following order:

Ken Carmichael from Brisbane.
Grant from Pretoria, South Africa
Paul from Germany
Steve Holder
John Vauden

The car in the picture was a Ambulance based on the W110 chassis and made by a company called Binz! These were very popular in Germany in the 60's and there are a few around still. I even own one. It is a 230 model from 1966. Unfortunately it is very poor condition, however as it is only one of 4 right hand drive models made it is worth hanging on to and restoring one day. The pictures here are of the Binz Ambulance I own. 

It was imported out here from Binz in 1966 by York motors who were the Mercedes-Benz distributors from NSW at the time. They gave it to the Brisbane Waters Ambulance Service (On the beach north of Sydney) as a trail vehicle hoping to get a favourable report on it and then sell heaps of them. It would appear that Australian Ambulance drivers of the time preferred the Ford Galaxy's and Chev's thay were driving with the big V8's, drum brakes and boat like handling. No doubt the poor old 2.3lt 6cylinder engine would have been no match for the Yankee V8's but I would imagine the W110 based Ambulance would have been much better to drive in terms of handling and braking. It is interesting to note that in the last few years almost every state in Australia has started using the Mercedes Sprinter as an Ambulance. 



Anyway the trial was a disaster and the Ambulance found its self being sold to a plumber to use as a plumbers van. It had a super ugly roof rack fitted to it and knocked around Sydney for many years. When it finally died it was parked in the plumbers front yard in Woolloomooloo (on the beach south of Sydney).  As you can imagine with it spending a lot of its time on or near the beach it suffered rather badly from rust. The plumber felt sorry for it and brought all the panels to repair it and bring it back to life. New floor pans, sills, mudguards, the lot. Then one day a friend/customer of mine saw it and some how persuaded him to sell it. It was transported to Canberra and partially stripped to see how bad it really was. The fire wall was fond to be terminally ill and the restoration was put on hold (again). 



Then a disaster happened. A third party who shall remain nameless offered to fit an entire front clip from another car to it and to fit up all the new panels. Now that was a good plan, the problem was the way it was done. Apart from some very poor welding techniques he managed to add 5cms to the wheel base which means that the front doors don't fit anymore. Picture this, the hole for the front door is 5cms longer at the base than the top!  Now if that wasn't enough the clip that was used was from a 190Dc. It was 4 cylinder (different radiator support panel), it was a diesel (different dash panel and loom) and it was a manual (different loom and steering collum set up). Anyway to repair it from here the whole job has got to be done again. The new floor pans were also installed incorrectly and are now a total loss. The chap who brought it to Canberra lost interest and gave the car to me in exchange for a favour and one condition. I was never to sell the car to someone it either had to be restored or crushed. He knew that if I did it the job would be done correctly.

Anyway I have been looking for a totally rust free W110 230 sedan for the last five years (that's how long I have had it) and found one last year. I also found a good used rear door in Germany earlier this year and are having it sea freighted out to me this month.  As you can see from the photos the stainless steel interior in still intact and I also have the siren and light from the front. I have a brand new set of tail lights (totally different to the sedan), new fog lamps and new headlamps. So one day it will see the light of day again, but that will not be for quite some time as I still have to not only find the rest of the parts needed but the time and money to finish the project.

The "what the for this newsletter is to tell me what this is? E-mail me with the answer here.


Stocktake Specials

Yes I know I never sent out the e-mails advising people about the updated lists. However some of the Newsletter members who check regularly have already picked up a few bargains. In the end I didn't list a lot of parts as the size of the task was a lot bigger than I thought. So what is going to happen is that when we do the stock take on the 3rd of July we will also compile the specials lists and then up date the specials lists again. 

To see what we have listed on special for your car so far click here to see our specials page and then select your chassis style from the list. The parts we have listed in the last few weeks all have a dash in front of them for example these specials from the W113 chassis page:    

- Blue soft top in original German fabric $1000.00
- Set of sill rubber mats $85.00 pair
- 230SL-250SL left hand tail lamp assembly $650.00
- 230SL boot badge $75.00
- Set of jacking point covers $85.00

I will use a different mark to show the parts that are listed after the stocktake. If you are interested in any of the parts listed please either ring us toll free on 1300 787 300 or send the Spares Department an e-mail.


Joke of the week.

The following was sent to me by Neil Mansini who is the editor of the Mercedes-Benz Club of the ACT newsletter.

News Flash: Terrorists Nabbed at JFK

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a  public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, protractor, setsquare, slide rule, and calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. "Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

"As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.  When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes." "I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent
on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard.  Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line."

President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of

Attorney General Ashcroft said, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their

Awesome paint job.

Check this out, a Newsletter subscriber sent it to me. This car has not been chromed! It is a new type of paint. Couldn't find much more info on it, but will let you know if I do.



Jaws of life demonstration!

Last newsletter we had the pictures from the from the MBCV afternoon with the SES and there Jaws of life. Now we have a copy of the article that appeared in the MBCV magazine. It was written by Chris Stewart and Neil Howley. 

Firstly, a few comments about the recent New Generation ‘Destroy an S-Class’ day at Langwarrin CFA. 

I hope that those that attended the day enjoyed themselves. The feedback from the rescue crew on the day was certainly positive and they were impressed by the penetrating nature of some of your questions. In all, we were also able to make a $300 donation to assist this volunteer organization to continue their good work. For a totally volunteer organization, the CFA put on a wonderful show. The cars we had to destroy were a W116 280S kindly donated by Will Munro . This car was assumed to have had a major frontal impact and to have had two occupants. 

To extricate these people (imaginary in this case), the rear doors were opened, the jaws applied and the ‘B’ pillars removed. This allows the rear door, the pillar and the front door (still locked) to be pulled to the front of the car and out of the way. Then the ‘A’ pillars were cut at roof level, the rear pillars at body level, and the roof removed. Then the interesting bit: a dash roll. The purpose of this is to lift the dash up and off the legs of occupants, as this is a common cause of entrapment as the body deforms about the footwall area. 

They cut the bottom of both ‘A’ pillars, apply two 10-ton presses (one on each side) from the base of the ‘B’ pillar to the dash level of the ‘A’ pillar and push. This lifts the dash and pedals away from the footwell area and gives much better access. Not too good for the car, but that is the cars bad luck. Unless it is a Benz, of course, as it wouldn’t bend. Even with the roof gone and the base of the main support structure cut, and with 20 tons of pressure, it would not move. They got it to go eventually, but it took an enormous amount of work to move it at all. 

During this exercise, we were treated to an expert commentary form the rescue team captain, who kept everyone informed about what was going on and why. At about this time on the day it occurred to me that there was an element lacking. We needed to have someone in one of the cars to report on what it was like. Clearly a suitable fall guy was needed. Knowing immediately to whom I should look for such a person, I approached David Mueller. 

Unfortunately, David was busy taking photographs (he VERY quickly stated, as he backed away, foaming slightly at the mouth) but he did suggest, over his shoulder as he went away (narrowly avoiding walking straight into a wall) that Neil Howley might be a good candidate. Stealthily, I approached Neil. Once I saw he was completely surrounded by others and therefore could not escape me, I  offered him the rare opportunity to take on David’s role. I carefully omitted any reference to which role…He accepted and once told what it was he was a bit taken aback, I think. But good sport that he is he undertook the task. His report on the event follows… 

Whilst watching the rescue team cut open the W116, Chris casually wandered over and asked if I was interested volunteering as a “dummy occupant” in the Hyundai Excel (?) for the second demonstration. Naturally I was a little apprehensive, particularly when watching how close the “jaws of the life” came to where the occupants would be seated when cutting the ‘B’ Pillars.

I needn’t have worried though as the safety of everyone concerned is paramount to the rescue team. To which, I was first directed to the change rooms to don appropriate safety gear – overalls, fireman’s jacket, gauntlets plus ear & eye protection no less! I looked and felt ready for anything now. Furthermore they had organized one of their own to accompany me in the car for this operation.

Seated in the driver’s seat of the Hyundai along with my “passenger” James a trainee CFA volunteer, we instructed to sit still and look straight ahead. The latter request I found slightly frustrating as I was naturally curious with seeing what the rescue team were up to. This wasn’t helped further when they covered me with a blanket to protect me from fragments of shattered side window glass.

Fortunately we had running commentary from a rescue team member positioned behind us in the back seat. This as it was explained to me is part an important part of the rescue operation, which is to ensure the vehicle’s occupants remain calm, aware of what is happening and to reassure that the rescue team are working to get you out as quickly and safely as possible. At all times the rescue team focus is to ensure the well being of the vehicle’s occupants. This is important issue to consider as in a real situation the occupants would already be traumatized from the accident and any further stress would contribute the deterioration of their condition.

Before we knew it, they had open or removed all doors and peeled back the roof. It was amazing then to watch the two hydraulic rams positioned inside the front door openings push forward the front section of the car including the dash, steering and pedals to further improve access for paramedics with in moving front seat occupants out of the vehicle. In my case I was able to slide across and jump out easily of the passenger side door to the rousing cheers of our audience.

Whilst we were only in the car for approximately fifteen minutes, it did in some ways seem like a heck of a long time. I’m sure it would feel like an eternity in a real accident. Something we all hope we never will experience.

All in all found the Langwarrin CFA Rescue members extremely well drilled and proficient team. Their dedication to the cause is exemplary. Thanks lads - keep up the great work.

A couple of points of comparison between the two cars. With all the cutting done to the W116, the boot still opened and closed perfectly. Remember that there had been hydraulic rams  applying all of 20 tons of pressure to the frame in a twisting motion and it didn’t distort, even without the roof. The doors and hatch of the Hyundai all jammed up after the first pillar cut and the doors had to be pried open. The door catches on the W116 retained their integrity through the episode. None burst, even when the jaws were working on the pillar immediately adjacent to them. When they do burst, the cast aluminum catch on the pillar bursts, leaving a clean, safe break. The first press on the Hyundai had the locks burst out of their mountings in the doors, leaving strips of razor sharp metal and maintaining the connection between the door and the car even when the door was in the fully open position.

I could find no pulled structural spot welds on the frame of the W116, even where the pillars mount onto the sills, where angular forces of many tons had been applied. The Hyundai had many and they were all over the place. Even on the side opposite to where most of the effort was being made, and well away from any cutting, the rear of the car pulled away from the sills. Perhaps because there was only one spotweld for every 2 inches of seam. On the W116, they are every .75 of an inch….approximately. And I have already mentioned the dash roll. 

The Langwarrin CFA say that during the course of the 30-odd MB’s they have used as rescue test beds, they have halved the life of their tools. But they also say that if you can choose the car to be in for a bingle, you would be hard pressed to get a safer one than a Mercedes Benz.

Chris Stewart,

New Generation Register Captain.


Links of the week.

Binz still make Ambulances based on Mercedes-Benz chassis's. Click here to see there website.

If you cant afford a real one click here to buy a model of one.

Or you can click here for a complete run down on model Fintails including the Binz Ambulance

Binz also made special versions of the Roundie or Ponton.

Here is one that is a movie star!


Cars for Sale.

We have another E220 sedan for sale, as the last one went quickly if you are interested call in quickly to see me. This one has dual front air bags, MB-tex interior and electric windows along with all the normal MB features.

I have been driving the E320 coupe for the last week and it truly is an awesome car.  The 3.2lt version of the M104 engine coupled with the 5 speed auto is surprisingly quick and the leather interior is so, so nice. 

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. 

Click here to see all the cars for sale.

The following cars have recently arrived for sale:

E220 1994 model 151000kms

Also in stock we have:

E320 coupe 1994 model with only 117000kms

260E 1989 model only 123000kms

190E 1987 model, 180000kms

Vito 113 Flexivan 1998model 77000kms

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.