Newsletter Number 96
10th February 2006
Welcome to the latest newsletter. In this edition we have part six of the Germany tour, another "what if " explained, the resurfacing of the unleaded fuel debate and the usual line up.
Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks John and Sandra Green.
Occasionally we get e-mail sent to the wrong address this often results in a delay in reply. Please see below for a list of the correct e-mail address's:
Spare parts, firstname.lastname@example.org Checked hourly
Service department, email@example.com Checked hourly
Cars for sale, firstname.lastname@example.org Not always checked daily
Technical advice, email@example.com Checked hourly
Webmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org Not always checked daily
Administration, email@example.com Checked three times a week
So as you can see if a sales order is sent to admin or to me personally it will not always be answered promptly.
Germany tour part 6...
Now for anybody who has been following my story, the next two visits are slightly out of order but are linked so I thought I would cover both of them in the same article. On the Monday before we visited the Classic Centre we went and visited Kienle Automobiletechnik. Kienle is a family company founded by Klaus Kielne in 1984. Klaus did his apprenticeship with Mercedes-Benz starting in 1962. We were shown around by his son Marc. Their very impressive, purpose built, showroom and work shop is located 20 minutes north west of Stuttgart in the town of Heimerdingen. Their showroom was a a feast of the most desirable Classic models from both before and after the second world war. Models showcased included a beautiful red SSK roadster, several version of the 300S and Sc, a 600 Grosser, a 220 Cabriolet A, a 280SE 3.5 cabriolet and another assorted SL's. Needless to say all were in perfect condition.
There workshop was just as impressive, unfortunately photography is banned so you will have to rely on my words to see what it looked like. Wall to wall Classic Mercedes-Benz's in all states of repair and disrepair. Some cars were having a full restoration and other just in for service. Whilst it did look a little chaotic you very soon realised that it was very well organised chaos.... Every large job had a set of portable shelves that housed all the parts that had been refurbished whilst the body and engine were off being repaired. They have their own engine room and upholstery room each staffed by experts in their field. Kielne make the reproduction luggage that could be purchased with many of the Pre and post war classics. They were just finishing a beautiful 300S coupe that was being delivered the next day to a very lucky customer. Down stairs is their panel beating and paint shops with some equally amazing jobs underway.
They have a very impressive website with a quarterly printed Newsletter that is well worth subscribing to. You can find the Newsletter details by going to their website and then clicking on "Kienle News". You can also check out their impressive range of cars for sale by clicking on "Offers"
Two days later having concluded our business in Stuttgart it was time for another blast down the Autobahn towards Munich. Our next appointment was in the afternoon of the next day at H.K Engineering, one of the worlds leading 300SL Gullwing specialists. Their business is set in a typical small German town called Polling it is southwest of Munich near the Austrian Border.
We did however have some time to kill on the way and managed to do a spot of sightseeing. This is a beautiful area of Germany and should be on your itinerary if you have a chance. We went to see King Ludwig II's (1845-1886) Summer Castle called Linderhof. Built between 1870 and 1879, and modelled on the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France. Its interior has lavish adornments, full of mirrors, painted ceilings and gilded cherubs, in a mixture of Renaissance and baroque styles. You have just got to see how much gold leaf was used to build this place. The surrounding gardens include a grand cascade & artificial grottos. Old King Ludwig was a a touch controversial for his time. Legend has it that he decided he should party and work at night and sleep during the day and did this for many years. After many years of strange behaviour and erratic decisions his family had doctors examine him and had him committed as insane. A group was sent from the city to collect him but they had dinner and got drunk before going to get him. He got wind of this and took off. They got him the second time and he was committed. He was suicidal. Each day he would go for a walk in the forest around the river with his doctor . One day both were found in the water drowned. Speculation as to whether he tried to commit suicide and the doctor tried to stop him and got in a struggle or he killed the doctor and then drowned himself no one knows.
That night we stayed in Oberamagau at a hotel that was built in 1775. Oberamagau is the home of the passion play held every ten years that depicts the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It's a very big deal and people come from all over the globe to see it. There are up to 800 people on the stage at a time! The entire town and entire area is a work of art with almost every building decorated like the picture of the hotel below. The town is also famous for it wood carvings, with multiple shops full of the most amazing timber carving.
HK Engineering is owned by Hans Kleissl who started the business in 1984 after buying his first 300SL in 1980 and being totally inspired by their design and character. Whilst HK Engineering and Kielne Automobiletechik sound like similar companies this could not be further for the truth. Both have the same passion, but it is expressed in totally different ways with each one having its own definite character.. For starters HK Engineering's premises are built in a Historic Bavarian Monastery, the workshop, panel shop, parts department and other sections have been built around the sprawling buildings. However the big difference is that HK Engineering prides itself in specialising only in 300SL restorations. I lost count of how many Gullwings and Roadsters I saw there but it was certainly more that I had seen in my entire life. Once again there was everything from cars for full rebuilds to cars just in for service.
Their spare parts department was most impressive, tucked away in the loft of the main building is a treasure trove of parts for any 300SL owner.
Over the years Hans has developed a lot of mechanical enhancements for the 300SL's including a disc brake conversion and engine performance upgrades. HK-Engineering also offers a unique professional service for all Classic Car Events. (i.e. Mille Miglia, La Carrera Panamericana, Trofeo Baleares, etc.) A team of skilled mechanics and a service vehicle can be booked for classic cars of all brands. They have their our own classic Mercedes Benz race car transport truck with space for 2 cars and a matching MB 170 box car service vehicle.
However it was down stairs that the real treasures were stored. Under the main building is a humidity controlled garage for up to 25 cars! Here are stored many of his customers cars along with various projects. Apart from the 300SL's there were a few 280SE 3.5 cabriolets, a Type 220 cabriolet A and a Ferrari! Of all the cars in the garage the one I liked was the original condition (read rather worn) 300SL Gullwing that had been sent in by the owner for a full mechanical overhaul with engine enhancements so he could drive it like mad, but not worry about parking it anywhere and getting it scratched. This would have to be the ultimate classic sleeper car!
HK Engineering have a great online brochure that you can down load here.
So only one day to go on our tour of Germany and what a day it turned out to be, but you will have to wait until the next newsletter to see the final chapter.
Tyres out of balance?
This months special is a free tyre balance with every service for Newsletter subscribers. To take advantage of this offer please book your service with Chris Righton by either e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or ring him on 02 6239 1099. M.B Spares and Service has the correct Mercedes-Benz wheel balancer. It is very similar to other wheel balancers but it grabs the wheels and locates them by the wheel stud holes rather than the big hole in the centre. As this is how the wheel is bolted to the vehicle this is how the wheel should be balanced. And if your tyres are way past balancing we can supply and fit a wide range of tyres. Our recommended brand is Continental, who are Europe's leading tyre manufacturer. You can read more about tyres here.
New Sprinter released.
The new Sprinter has been released in Germany and will soon for found for sale here in Australia. This time it is a total overhaul not just a different nose job. You can check it out on the MB website here. You need to click on the link to the "Microsite" in the right hand margin. This new model also has some great standard features like Bi-Xenon headlamps and Parktronic which has the sensor lights in the side mirrors! For anybody who has driven these vans and has had to back them on just the mirrors they will understand how good this is.
Special of the week.
A few months back we ran a special on the hydraulic struts for the W116 450SEL 6.9. Well without going into a long story we have one extra set that we can offer at the special price. The fronts are $900.00 each and the rears are $575.00 each or we can sell the set of four for $2750.00. This is a huge saving off the normal retail price for these. So if you have a 6.9 with a view to long term ownership then these would be a good investment..
Many of you will have asked me about what fuel to use in your Mercedes-Benz and without checking I think I must have written about this before in one of the newsletters. My standard answer for many years has been that you should do what the petrol companies say to do and follow the approved Mercedes-Benz table that they put out back in 1986 when unleaded fuels were introduced here in Australia. The approved Mercedes-Benz info for Australia can be found here. However I have never ever brought a can or tube of additive in my life and since the introduction of 98ron Premium fuels have used nothing else! Sound like a hypocrite, don't I??
The reason I have always instructed customers to do what the fuel companies and MB Australia say is very simple. If we did find out after many years that they were right and that the additive was critical I would look like an idiot and have some possible law suits. I don't have quite the financial backing of the fuel companies so I can't afford that. However even since the introduction of unleaded fuel I have been suspicious that it is all hype. Take these two examples:
- Go to your local MB stealership and ask the what exactly happened to the M110 engine as used in the 280E and 280SE in May 78 and March 82 that makes it unsuitable for unleaded fuel? Get the parts department to check the different part numbers for the valve seats and exhaust valves, there is a change from 11mm to 9mm stems in the exhaust valves but it does not line up with the dates mentioned. I for one have challenged them on this and can get no logical answer on why there is this strange gap in the M110 engine production that suits unleaded? The issue with unleaded fuel is a lack of upper cylinder lubricant and hence valve seat recession. So if the valves and seats are the same what's the deal?
- Go back to 1986 what unleaded was phased in. If you brought a new Mercedes-Benz in that year you had to get used to pulling up the those new unleaded bowsers with the narrower nozzles. And the fuel you were putting in was standard unleaded fuel correct? That was all that was available and your Mercedes-Benz ran just fine. If you still own that car or are a subsequent owner of such a car go down to the local servo and put standard unleaded in it today and see how it drives compared to the more expensive premium unleased product? My opinion is that the quality of the standard unleaded fuel started to drop the day they introduced the Premium product?
So what has brought this subject back to my attention? Have a look at this thread in the OZVETS Mercedes-Benz forum (sponsored by M.B Spares & Service). In particular the last posting that has a quote from the Classic Centre.
Your question about the use of unleaded fuel is easy to answer:
All Mercedes-Benz cars (pre-war and post-war) have absolutely no problems with unleaded fuel.
We recommend to use fuel with an octane rating of 98 (ROZ) for every type and also a regular control of the valve clearance, twice as much as specified by the factory.
In our experience no additional lead substitute additive is necessary.
A normal use of the car is required, of course.
We hope this will help , please feel free to ask if you have further questions.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen /Kind regards
Mercedes Car Group
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
So I guess that now at last I can change my recommendation when asked the inevitable question. I wonder if I should point this out to Mercedes-Benz Australia?
Joke of the month.
Here are some more new age definitions for you all:
Coffee (n.); a person who is coughed upon.
Flabbergasted (adj.); appalled over how much weight you have gained.
Abdicate (v.); to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Esplanade (v.); to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Willy-nilly (adj.); impotent.
Negligent (adj.); describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
Lymph (v.); to walk with a lisp.
Gargoyle (n.); an olive-flavored mouthwash.
Flatulence (n.); the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
Balderdash (n.); a rapidly receding hairline.
Testicle (n.); a humorous question on an exam.
Rectitude (n.); the form al, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
Oyster (n.); a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
Pokemon (n); A Jamaican proctologist.
Frisbeetarianism (n.); The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.
Circumvent (n.); the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
Cars for dismantling.
Cars in this month include the following:
W201 190E 1988 model, not a bad car just ugly in the paint and has the typical 190E door trim disaster. Otherwise great car, good engine and auto, have already sold all the front panels.
W116 350SE 1973, another great car bites the dust. Once again nothing really super wrong with it but just everything a bit worn and not worth persuing anymore for the previous owner.
Nobody worked it out? Looks like some kind of press release photo of a prototype from the 60's? Maybe some kind of W111 hatch back? Well it is one of a collection of very clever Photoshop creations from CWW Car design. You can find there website here and all of there Mercedes-Benz creations here. This picture no doubt was a press release photo for the 220SE coupe, most likely from 1962. If you know this model you will soon work out how they have changed the lines of the car. The Rear screen and "C" pillar have been moved back and an extra front door glass added. The two tone paint would have been original. It is interesting to note that almost all European two tones had the darker colour on the top. Obviously the opposite to what we would have here in Australia.
Links of the month.
- Here is the link from the "what the" again, depending on what you are into there are some very cool cars on this site. Just click on the links in the right hand margin.
- Here is an interesting collection of photos and data on the new R class. I find it very amusing that the number of cup holders is listed in the Technical information along side slightly less important things like the number of gears and fuel consumption specs?
Cars for Sale.
Vehicles sold this month include the 190E 2.6, the 230E, the C180, the A160 and the 180E. All of these have been replaced with some great cars. We have an identical coloured 190E (4cyl version), a great C200 Elegance and a very well optioned ML430 on our lot.
We also have another super rare W111 cabriolet for sale. Yes I know it is the third one in under 12 months, but believe me these things are rare. This car has an interesting history in that it is a one owner vehicle and was picked up from the Sindelfingen factory in 1964. The owner must have had a thing for navy blue as in the garage beside it was a 1972 350SL (also picked up from the factory) the Navy Blue Duco, navy blue leather and Navy blue soft top! We have done some extensive work on this to get it back into shape as it had been sitting around for some time and it is now ready for its second owner! We also have the Ivory 250SE cabriolet that was featured in last months newsletter which is currently in Sydney.
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:
ML430, 2000 model only 35000kms
220SEb Cabriolet, 1964 classic
C200 Elegance 1998 model
190E, 1990 model
Cars we have sold:
230E W123 1982 model 195000kms
C180 1995 model
180E 1992 model
A160 Avantgarde 1998 model
190E 2.6 Sedan 1990 model
Also in stock we have:
250SE Cabriolet, 1967 classic
230S Finnie 1966 model, also a one owner vehicle. Receipts for recent mechanical work.
E320 W124 1995 model only 95000kms
300E 2.6 1991 model
250 Long Wheel Base sedan 1982 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.