Newsletter Number 95
9th January 2006
Happy New Year.
May all your Mercedes related dreams come true this year ..........
Welcome to the latest newsletter. In this edition we have part five of the Germany tour, the "what if" explained, and the usual line up. Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks John and Sandra Green.
Our normal opening hours are Monday to Friday 7.45am 'til 5.15pm for the workshop and 8.00am til 5.00pm for the Spare Parts department and Saturday mornings by appointment. We generally work about one in every two Saturdays but this is not done to any plan. Normally we work when there are jobs that were not completed during the week. Please call and check to see if we are open before calling in on a Saturday.
Germany tour part 5...
In the last Newsletter I gave everybody an abridged run down of some of the amazing selection of cars that are stored at the Classic Centre and in the adjacent storage sheds. Many of them were being, or had been, prepared for the new Mercedes-Benz museum designed by UN Studio that is currently under construction in Stuttgart at a cost of over 50 million Euros and will be opened this year.
The Museum was founded in 1923 and the existing buildings that are within the walls of the Unterturkheim plant walls had become too small to provide sufficient room for the exhibits. The new museum will cover 17.000 sq. meters of exhibition space for the historical and new collection of Mercedes-Benz products. Also included will be a museum shop, restaurant, sky lobby, kids museum and cinema. With an expected 450,000 visitors annually, the Mercedes-Benz museum will be the best-visited museum in Stuttgart. You can check out the Mercedes-Benz website page on the new museum here.
Here is an architects view of what the design looks like:
"The Museum program is accommodated in an intricate package in which the various exhibits, the public programs and the service and support programs are interwoven. Shifts in the floor levels challenge the symmetry of the trefoil plan in section. Spatially, the building is structured as a double helix. The leaves of the trefoil rotate around a triangular void, forming six horizontal plateaus which alternately occupy single and double floor heights, resulting in six double-height and six single height exhibition spaces. The organisation does not involve a continuous, single surface; the six plateaus themselves are level, with slowly sloping ramps bridging the height differences between them. The aimed effect of this organisation is to create exciting spatial constellations, enabling a wide range of look-through options, shortcuts, enclosed and open spaces, and the potential for continuity and cross-references in the various displays. The visitor proceeds through the Museum from top to bottom. "
In plain english this means that when you enter the Museum you get a lift to the top floor and then walk down a series of six spirals to reach the bottom. Each level will feature a different era of Mercedes-Benz history. Whilst in Stuttgart we took the time to check out the old Museum which looked much the same as the last time I visited it. To access the old museum you need to park outside the Unterturkheim plant gates and wait for a bus that takes you inside the plant to the museum. It is certainly worth a visit if you happen to be in Stuttgart before the new museum is opened.
The Classic Centre will still be in Fellbach which would best be described as an outer suburb of Stuttgart. Apart from the workshop services that I indicated in the last newsletter the Classic centre also offers the following services:
- Car sales with a focus on vehicles manufactured before 1963 including the 300 SL Gullwing as well as the models of the 300 series that former German chancellor Adenauer preferred, or the luxurious pre-war supercharger cars. For each vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre provides the customer an extensive first-class service package. Their specialists compile detailed reports on the engineering, specifications and condition of every car. Whilst we were there they had in their showroom the following:
- 2x 1953 Type 300 cabriolet D in mint condition
- W113 280SL that had been restored by them
- W111 220SE coupe in very original condition
- A 300SL Gullwing and a Roadster
- A W121 190SL
- An amazing Type 220 Cabriolet A
They also have a wonderful display in their showroom of a model 190SL painted in every colour that Mercedes-Benz have offered up to the 70's you can see these on display behind the 190SL below.
- Spare parts sales and quality control. The Classic Centre handles spare parts for all "Classic" models. A Classic is considered to be any model that has been out of production for over 20 years. This year the W123 became a classic as production cessed in 1985 so the parts for these are now available from the Classic Centre. They even carry spare wheels for the 1886 Patent wagon!
A look at the very neatly stacked shelves shows a history of packaging with three different generation of packaging. First is the light blue and white squares, followed by the all mid blue boxes followed by the current design of grey boxes. It does show just how much of there stock is "old stock"
You may have heard me say before that Mercedes-Benz don't "make" cars they "assemble" them. Well this is true most of the parts that your Mercedes-Benz are made of have been outsourced to a supplier normally in Germany but in some cases dotted all around the globe. Based on the small quantities required for some classic parts these days they are now made by specialist reproduction companies not the original manufactures. So before any part is made available for sale it is quality tested. The picture below is of a reproduction Rudge wheel for a 300SL Gullwing that failed the quality control program due to the rivets pulling out!!
Whilst the bulk of parts are outsourced some are still made "in house" and the Classic Centre holds the patterns and jigs to this. Below is a picture of the jig to make the exhaust manifolds for a 300SL Gullwing!
- Tours. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Guided tours (including workshop) take place every Monday from 14 - 15 p.m. Tours of the storage sheds are a little harder to arrange :-)
If you would like to take a virtual tour of the Classic centre please click here.
Later that night we decided to go for a drive around Stuttgart and wound up at the factory gates again. The gates are at the end of Mercedes Street! There is also a pub/restaurant at the end of Mercedes St and would you believe there was a collection of Classic Mercedes-Benz's parked in the carpark.
These included a W111 220SE coupe, a W113 230SL Pagoda, an immaculate W121 190b and plenty of other interesting cars. Some quick thought decided that there must be a Mercedes-Benz club meeting in the Restaurant so in we went! Sure enough the Stuttgart branch of the Mercedes-Benz club were having their monthly restaurant night! We introduced ourselves and spent the rest of the night talking Mercedes-Benz. Interestingly, many of the members were middle level management with Mercedes-Benz and were quite happy to share their opinions on where the company and design philosophies are heading.
Next newsletter we are off to see two of the most exciting restoration workshops in Germany H.K Engineering and Kienle Stay tuned.
Air conditioning not cold!
Is your Air Conditioning not as cold as it used to be? Don't forget that we have all the gear to regas your air conditioning system to Mercedes-Benz standards using R134a gas. Ring our service manager Chris Righton on 02 6239 1099 and mention this newsletter for a $100.00 regas (normally $125.00)
Joke of the month.
A certain lawyer was quite wealthy and had a summerhouse in the country, to which he retreated for several weeks of the year. Each summer, the lawyer would invite a different friend of his (no, that's not the punch line) to spend a week or two up at this place, which happened to be in a backwoods section of Maine.
On one particular occasion, he invited a Czechoslovakian friend to stay with him. The friend, eager to get a freebee off a lawyer, agreed.
Well, they had a splendid time in the country - rising early and living in the great outdoors. Early one morning, the lawyer and his Czechoslovakian companion went out to pick berries for their morning breakfast.
As they went around the berry patch, gathering blueberries and raspberries in tremendous quantities, along came two huge Bears - a male and a female. Well, the lawyer, seeing the two bears, immediately dashed for cover. His friend, though, wasn't so lucky, and the male bear reached him and swallowed him whole.
The lawyer ran back to his Mercedes, tore into town as fast has he could, and got the local backwoods sheriff. The sheriff grabbed his shotgun and dashed back to the berry patch with the lawyer.
Sure enough, the two bears were still there. "He's in THAT one!" cried the lawyer, pointing to the male, while visions of lawsuits from his friend's family danced in his head. He just had to save his friend.
The sheriff looked at the bears, and without batting an eye, leveled his gun, took careful aim, and SHOT THE FEMALE.
"Whatdya do that for!" exclaimed the lawyer, "I said he was in the other!"
"Exactly," replied the sheriff, "and would YOU believe a lawyer who told you that the Czech was in the Male?"
Cars for dismantling.
Not much happening with cars for dismantling due to the Christmas break. One interesting car that did arrive over Christmas was a W114 250CE coupe. These are quite rare and had a fuel injected version of the M114 engine using the d-jet injection system. The engine and transmission are in great condition, however the body is very rusty. We do have a good selection of panels to suit W114 coupes from other cars we have dismantled.
The "what the" from last month was a W116 station wagon built (or rather converted) by Crayford Engineering in the UK. The Westerham-based company Crayford called the car "Mercedes Estate". The additional side windows and tail gate are originally from a Ford Consul/Granada station wagon. The photo was a promotional picture from Crayford used in there catalogue. "Crayford was a Coachbuilder who specialized in mainly conversion of UK based manufactures vehicles to station wagons and convertibles as well as conversions of Mercedes-Benz sedans into station wagons (or estates).". The price of the MB estates started at British Pounds 12,500, the conversion alone cost GBP 2,200. The German Coach builder Norddeutsche Karosseriefabrik also did a station wagon conversion of the W116 at a cost of DM 20.000. The Crayford conversion was approved by Mercedes-Benz and could be ordered from your local dealership at the same time as you ordered the car.
The W116 was not Crayfords first atempt at a Mercedes wagon, there first was a rather ugly version of the W114/115 series.
There have in fact been a lot of different conversions done to create Mercedes-Benz station wagons before Mercedes-Benz them selves worked out that there was a market in the late 70's. If you click here you can see quite a few examples.
So why am I interested in these? Well, I have brought one with what may be an interesting history. Back in 1985 when I was 21 (yes I have been hooked on Mercedes-Benz's for a long time) I took a picture of a blue W116 station wagon sitting in a caryard in Johnston St Collingwood in Melbourne. It was certainly in excellent order and the sort of car I dreamt of owning some day. Well now I own the very same car. Not long after it was in the car yard it found its way to South Australia where it has since had two owners, unfortunately the first owner didn't treat it very well and its condition has suffered some what from when the picture was taken.
Now according to the last owner there is a chance this car has a very interesting history. He researched the Crayford company and found a press realise from the 70's stating that they were going to start production in both Australia and the USA. Further investigations indicated that the blue wagon in question was the one and only car made here in Australia as a test car. Crayford were supposed to have sent out a team from the UK to a local Mercedes-Benz panel shop to show them how it was done. I will be looking into this to see if I can confirm any of it. Meanwhile the wagon will be restored and hopefully be on display at the Easter rally here in Canberra.
So who got it right? Well quite a few of you picked it as a converted W116 sedan, however the only one to pick it as a Crayford Station Wagon was Ken Carmichael from "Kens Classics" in Brisbane. Well done.
So lets see who can work out what this is........stay tuned.
Links of the month.
- Google have a Beta release of there Video archive that you can check out here. Must be very much in its infancy as at the time of writing this a search for Mercedes only got 131 hits unlike their iimages archive that gets about 1,190,000 hits...... By far the best bit of footage I have seen so far is this commentary on the G55 by one of the Top Gear reporters. And if you have even wondered what is the best thing to do with a 2CV then you had better have a look at this one.
- Want to be the king of the jungle? maybe you need to buy one of these?
- And on a more serious note, there are many photo essays on the net but this one is a rather sombre in its subject, but does make for interesting reading.
- Own a W108 or W109 and thinking of putting some later style alloys on it? Check out this link.
- Bored with the look of your S class, maybe you could smarten it up a bit like this guy did...
- And finally someone's collection of interesting Mercedes-Benz pictures.
Cars for Sale.
Plenty of action again on the car sales front. The second Ml320 that came in just before Christmas has been snapped up and headed off on a family holiday. The W210 E280, 300SE, 280TE and C200 have also all found new owners. The W124 E280 has a deposit on it and will be delivered next week.
The C200 was an interesting sale. We sold it to the daughter of one of our regular customers who is a Doctor who has just started working in the Emergency room of a local hospital. After seeing the carnage and injuries from people driving cars that fold up like tin cans she traded her small 4 cylinder buzz box (no I won't tell you what brand it was) car for a Mercedes.
New cars into stock include a W111 250SE cabriolet, W123 230E that was traded on the E280, a 180E that was traded on the 280TE, a 1995 C180 with 108000kms and a 1995 E320 with 95000kms. Both are silver and both in great condition with low mileage for the year.
The 250SE cabriolet is a great car that we have done a recent mechanical overhaul on including the transmssion and diff. The owner is selling as he has brought another Cabriolet.
If what you are dreaming of owning is not here then please feel free to contact me on 0419 295 458 and I will see what we can do to find you what you want.
You can check out all our cars for sale here:
New cars into stock:
230E W123 1982 model 195000kms
C180 1995 model
180E 1992 model
E320 W124 1995 model only 95000kms
250SE Cabiolet 1967 model
Cars we have sold:
C200 Elegance W202 1996 model
E280 Elegance W210 1998 model
280TE 1983 model only 117000kms only one owner and in amazing condition.
ML320 1998 model, 161000kms with great history.
300SE 1986 model, just traded
E280 1993 model only 79000kms
Also in stock we have:
230S Finnie 1966 model, also a one owner vehicle. Receipts for recent mechanical work.
A160 Avantgarde 1998 model
300E 2.6 1991 model
250 Long Wheel Base sedan 1982 model
190E 2.6 Sedan 1990 model
300TE wagon 1990 model
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.