Newsletter Number 102
21st August 2006
Welcome to newsletter number 102! Well we are still very busy, last newsletter I told you that Chris our Service manage was on leave, well for the last two weeks Murray our Spares manager has also been on leave. However, it has been an unexpected development that has really raised our stress levels. The local Mercedes-Benz dealership has shut down very suddenly and we are absorbing quite a few of their customers. So to any of you who have been put on hold for too long in the last few weeks please accept our apologies.
In this newsletter we have news of our planned 10th Birthday bash for the website and all the info on the upcoming Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT Concours. Also we have the usual line up of interesting articles for you. The planned second instalment of the M.B Spares history will have to wait once again for at least another newsletter for the reasons outlined above.
Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks John and Sandra Green.
Lets celebrate 10 years on the web.
Did you know that M.B Spares & Service had a fully developed website before Mercedes-Benz Australia did? Yes, that is right, on the 1st of November 1996 we launched our website under the URL www.mercedesspares.com.au If you click on it you won't find anything as it was changed to www.mbspares.com.au a few years later. When I find time to write the second instalment of the company history I will detail this.
Anyway, this November is the 10th birthday of our website, and this is quite an achievement as 10 years ago there were very few companies with a serious web presence. Over the years our site has grown and grown. It has had several major changes the biggest of which was the change to this format in February 2003. We average around 75000 page requests a week and get more e-mails than we know what to do with some days.
So to celebrate we would like to invite all of our customers and Newsletter readers to a birthday party. We have been considering this for some time and have had various thoughts on what to do. Then all of a sudden it became clear. The Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT have moved their annual Concours from mid September to mid October, the 15th to be precise, and given that we are a major sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT we have decided to invite you all to come along on the day and enjoy some Canberra hospitality.
The ACT club Concours is one of the highlights of the Mercedes-Benz club calendar in Australia and is held on the foreshore of Lake Burly Griffin. Each year an excellent display of rare and exotic Mercedes-Benz is on display and it is day not to be missed for anybody interested in the marque. Local service clubs provide good German food (and some standard Australian stuff) and there will even be a Vito van that makes coffee! The pictures below are from the last few years of this event.
The full details of the event are listed below and further details including a map will be posted in the September newsletter. So put the date aside and stay tuned for further details.
It is not that uncommon for owners of higher mileage W124's and W201's to complain about having a wobbly rear end. (so to speak) The multi link rear suspension system on these cars was totally awesome for its day and offered sports car handling to the masses. However there are 5 control arms per side. That's 10 rubber bushes per side compared to only 2 per side in the old W123's (the price of technological advancement!). When they get worn they go from sports car to slush box very quickly. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the arms are replaced as entire assemblies and are not that expensive, the most common one is only $70.00 per side. Car will need a wheel alignment after fitting as this model is adjustable both front and rear. This is a point that your average wheel alignment shop seems to miss. We have seen cars that have the wobbly rear end syndrome and only needed a wheel alignment. You can contact our spares department if you have a wobbly rear end.
Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT Concours details.
The following is an extract from the Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT Concours booklet. As mentioned above, M.B Spares & Service will be celebrating the 10th birthday of our website at this event and you are all invited to attend. If you would like an application form to have your car judged at the Concours please go to this page and print it out, refer to the table below for class's. Please note that you must be a paid up member of a recognised Mercedes-Benz club in Australia to apply to have your car judged. However everyone is welcome on the day if they are a member or not. Please mail the completed form with payment to the address on the form.
If you would like to go to the Pre Concours dinner then you need to go to this page and print out the form. Please note that there are different address's for each form.
I have been the Chief Judge at this Concours for the last 17 years and have been actively involved with the ongoing evolution of the rules and regulations. After each Concours the Concours committee meet and revamp the document for the next year based on lessons learnt. If you have any questions they can be forwarded to either the Concours Director (email address below) or myself.
1. Sunday, 15th October 2006 is the date for the 31st Annual Concours d' Elegance of the Mercedes - Benz Club of the A.C.T. As in recent years, the event will be an integral part of the Shannons German Autofest. We hope that Canberra's superb spring weather will attract visitors from neighbouring clubs with their Mercedes - Benz vehicles to compete or display. Interstate visitors should be aware that water restrictions are in force, restricting car washing to a bucket and trigger hose or at commercial car wash facilities. Combined with opportunities during the weekend for touring through some of the most attractive country in Australia, you can also enjoy the national capital and get thoroughly social with other Mercedes - Benz enthusiasts.
A WEEKEND OF OPPORTUNITY
2. The pre-Concours dinner on Saturday, 14th October 2006 will be held at the Diplomat Boutique Hotel, on Canberra Ave (cnr Hely Street), Griffith (tel. 02 6295 2277 ). Cost will be $38 per person for a 2 course dinner, with drinks an additional cost payable as you order.
3. Arrival time is 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Gentlemen will be comfortable in a jacket. Payment in advance to the Treasurer should be made on the accompanying booking form and RSVP by Friday 29th September. Enquiries to Lynn Harrison on 02 6286 7398. If you require a vegetarian meal, please let him know in advance. If you want to stay at the Diplomat, they have a special rate for room and breakfast, but you must mention the Mercedes-Benz Concours to get this rate when you book. There is parking at the hotel, although not undercover.
4. This year the Concours is once again being held on the Rond Terraces overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, located lake-side at the junction of Parkes Way and Anzac Parade, a major ceremonial road in Canberra with the Australian War Memorial at the far end. The venue will only be accessible from the road to Blundell’s Cottage which runs off Constitution Avenue. Signs will be erected and maps supplied to aid you in finding the venue. Representatives from the various Clubs will be on site at the entrance gate near Blundell’s Cottage to guide you to the display area. We will have the same position as last year, but for those new to the area, the MB Club will be situated on the upper terrace right of centre. The High Court, the National Gallery, the National Library, Parliament House and the new Federation Place are all visible from the Rond Terraces, and Floriade is just 200 metres away.
5. To help with the smooth organisation of the event, we ask that our local and interstate friends alike declare their intention to enter the Concours or to display their car by filling out the enclosed registration form and sending it, with the entry fee, to the
Concours Director, Peter Mulquiney.
Postal address: PO BOX 439, Mitchell ACT 2911
Entry fee for the Concours is $10 per vehicle. Members wishing to provide display vehicles do not pay the entry fee, but may purchase a Concours medallion for the sum of $5. Please register your intention to enter or display by Friday 29th September, so we can arrange the best presentation of the cars.
If you have e-mail facilities please e-mail Peter (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com ) of your intentions as well, so that he is informed prior to the event of your impending arrival, and particularly if your entry form will arrive after the 29th September.
Those competing or displaying are asked to arrive between 8.30 am and 9.30 am.
SHANNONS GERMAN AUTOFEST
6. For several years our Concours has been run in conjunction with displays by other German motoring clubs in the A.C.T. Much appreciated financial and moral support from Shannons Insurance Corporation, allows the combined German motoring clubs in the A.C.T., with support from some marque dealerships, to once again stage the Autofest, a public display of historic, classic and modern Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and VW cars and BMW motorcycles.
7. We also welcome vehicles from other German marques no longer in production such as NSU and DKW, to form a special “rare marques” group.
FOR FURTHER DETAILS:
8. The rules governing the conduct of the A.C.T. Concours d' Elegance are included in this publication. If you have any questions, please phone the Concours Director, Peter Mulquiney on (02) 6242 0704 (h). Questions on the pre-Concours dinner should be raised with Lynn Harrison on (02) 6286 7398 (h).
9. The Concours d' Elegance display goes back to the time when true coach building was the order of the day, and the proud owners of these vehicles paraded in finery to match their Broughams and Victorias. In later years, these events have been superseded by the mechanical age and the likes of Pebble Beach in the USA. - Daunting stuff but not that of the true enthusiasts' Concours exemplified by the car movement worldwide.
10. Mercedes - Benz clubs around Australia represent the real spirit of motor enthusiasts, none more so than the A.C.T. Club which has staged an annual Concours since its formation in 1976. Like all other authorised Australian MB Clubs, we welcome interstate visitors and competitors and acknowledge the strong support we have received for many years from N.S.W. and Victoria.
11. Our Concours, like many others in the club movement around Australia, recognises that people don't possess the special cars that are a feature of the big overseas events. What Australia does have is a rich motoring history. The A.C.T. Club has designed a Concours structure and rules which encourage competition between cars used every day, as well as the rarely used vehicles. In the rules and the conduct of our Concours, there is nothing to prevent your car winning on the day.
12. Entry is open to financially current members of a recognised Mercedes - Benz Club. The vehicle entered must be owned by or legally the responsibility of the members entering that vehicle. To be eligible for judging for awards higher than Class level, the vehicle must have travelled a minimum 10,000kms since new. The Concours Director must receive the completed entry form and appropriate fee no later than 10 am on the day of the Concours although earlier notification would be appreciated. The acceptance of any entry shall be at the discretion of the Concours Director in consultation with the Chief Judge.
13. There is one non-competitive and three competitive divisions;
- Road Division
- Club Division
- Champion Division, and
- Display Division.
Trophies are awarded for various classes within these divisions, with further trophies available as listed later in this section. All decisions about awarding trophies will be made by the Chief Judge, except for the President's Award, which is at his or her discretion, and will be final. If the Chief Judge becomes aware of a dispute arising or likely to arise, within the judging team or if the ranking of vehicles is very close, the Chief Judge will seek the advice of the review panel comprising the Concours Director, the President and the Vice President.
14. Road Division. There are six trophy classes for Road Division as shown in the table at the end of this publication. To be eligible cars must qualify by completing a specified distance since the previous Concours. Proof of mileage may be required. These cars will be judged on those aspects that would be visible if parked on the street (i.e. paintwork, chrome, tyres etc.) At the discretion of the owner, the car may be entered for the engine bay awards. Winners in Road Division in the 12 months just finished will be required to compete in Club Division.
15. There is a minimum standard for a win in any Road class. If no car within a certain class achieves this standard then the Chief Judge, subject to paragraph 13 above, has the right not to award a trophy.
16. Commercial class applies only in Road Division. Eligible vehicles must be dedicated commercial vehicles. No deductions will be made for vehicles with sign writing. Modified Class applies only in Club Division. Modified vehicles are those that have been significantly modified from the original design. Specifications of modifications may be requested by the Chief Judge to decide if the vehicle is appropriate to enter this class. Official Mercedes - Benz approved AMG models are not regarded as modified cars.
17. Club Division. There are 16 (see my notes on classes) trophy classes for Club Division as shown in the table. There is a minimum qualifying distance of 500 miles or 800 kms to be travelled in the year just finished. All aspects of the car will be judged according to our "Standard of Presentation" statement below. Club Division winners from the previous year will have to compete in the Champion Division. If owners wish to continue to compete in Club Division they will have to travel the qualifying distance for the equivalent Class in Road Division (eg. a W116 which won in Club Division in the previous year must do 10,000kms to compete again in Club Division).
18. There is a minimum standard for a win in any Club class. If no car within a certain class achieves this standard then the Chief Judge, subject to paragraph 13 above, has the right not to award a trophy.
19. Champion Division. This is our "Champion of Champions" Division. Entrants are the various winners from Club Division the previous year. Cars are judged on the same basis as Club Division and the winner will be awarded the Mercedes - Benz (Australia) Champions Trophy. Winners of Champion Division automatically revert to their respective Club Class the following year.
20. Display Division. This is the non- competitive Division where we encourage the display of cars that do not meet, for example, distance criteria. "Museum" cars, or cars which are specifically kept for display and do not get driven, or newly restored cars, are examples. Through their display we can all admire their beauty and the attention to detail expended on them.
21. Trophies. Trophies are awarded for various classes within the competitive divisions and for Outright Winner and Runner-Up of the Concours. There is also a range of trophies for engine bay, interior etc.
22. Engine Bay Awards. There are two awards for best engine bay - “Simple" and "Complex". The Chief Judge will make the defining line between the 2 awards on the day.
23. Distance Award. The distance to Canberra from the member’s registered vehicle garage is used to determine an award for the greatest distance travelled to the Concours.
24. Best Paint Finish Award. A recent respray won't necessarily beat an excellent original paint finish.
25. Best ACT Vehicle Interior Award - MB Club of Victoria Trophy. This is presented to an ACT vehicle (judged by select members of the MB Club of Victoria) scoring the highest points overall for its interior.
26. Life Members Encouragement Award. This is awarded by the consensus of Life Members present on the day or, if there are no Life Members present, then the award is to be judged by the Chief Judge subject to paragraph 13 above. It is generally awarded as an encouragement for the owner of a car that has not been successful in its class.
27. Outright Winner and Runner-Up. The Outright winner is for the highest score of any entrant including Champion of Champions, and the Runner-Up is for the second highest such score.
28. President's Award. At the President’s discretion.
STANDARD OF PRESENTATION
29. The standard of presentation is that the car is to be displayed in as close a condition as it was when it left the showroom. Judging is divided into a number of categories as follows:
30. Exterior. This includes paintwork, chrome, glass and lenses. Our attitude is that a well maintained original finish is just as good as a new respray. Obviously if the old paint is buffed through to the primer this does not apply. Stone chips that have been filled and repaired are acceptable. Chrome bumpers should have the correct finish on the inside. All lenses should be clean and unscratched.
31. Interior. This includes the entire interior except glass. Judging is based on cleanliness, completeness and originality. Clean under your seats and under the carpets. Non - genuine radios are permitted so long as they suit the age of the car and other accessories must also be appropriate for the car's vintage.
32. Underneath. This is where we differ from some other clubs' Concours rules. As many of our entrants need to travel great distances to get to our Concours we look to see that underneath was as clean as when you left home. Under the guards in the wheel arches should be as clean as you can get them at your Canberra accommodation. But the odd spot of tar and road grime in the floor pan and tunnel area will not be penalised. Make sure your lower suspension arms are clear of stones. Tyres and wheels should be clean inside and out.
33. Boot. Boots should be neat and tidy with an original boot mat. The spare tyre must be consistent with other road tyres, and be clean and in roadworthy condition. Available for inspection with owner in attendance should be keys, logbooks, owners’ manuals and tool kit. Underside of boot lid should be painted as per original specification eg. Generally black or grey depending upon model.
34. Engine Bay. This includes everything seen and “checkable“ with the bonnet up. Engine components should not be polished or chromed. Aluminium surfaces should be bead blasted, not silver frosted. Points will be deducted for incorrect hoses, battery clamps, ignition leads etc. If your vehicle is fitted with a bonnet sound-deadening pad it must be clean and not oily. If car alarms are fitted they should be discreetly installed.
35. General. Overall, our definition of the perfect car is one that is both well maintained and extremely clean - as it was when it was delivered to its first owner at the show room. With age taking its toll on all cars, it will be the best cars in their class on the day that win.
36. While we have mentioned the word "original" several times, we also acknowledge that claiming a certain part to be non-genuine can open a "can of worms". It is our policy that, should a question of originality decide between a win and a loss, the Chief Judge will consult the club member beforehand.
37. All sections will be judged in Club and Champion Divisions. Road Division cars are judged to the same standard but only the exterior and wheels are judged. While the interior and underneath of the car are not judged they are expected to be in above average condition. In the event of a tie for a class win for Road Division the interior will be judged.
38. Cars with either a soft-top or hardtop should have the soft top displayed in the raised position.
39. No points will be deducted for non - German first aid kits, but all first aid kits should be stored appropriately for the model, i.e. in its correct storage compartment and should be as original as reasonably possible.
40. No points will be deducted for upgraded fire extinguishers.
41. Seat covers must be removed for cars in Club Division, Champion of Champions and Outright awards; otherwise a 50% point deduction will be made for the interior section.
42. Clean all glass with a single sided razor blade, especially the edges against the window rubber. Clean side windows with the window down a bit so you can clean all the way to the top.
43. Wash difficult panels of your car down with Prepsol (single panel at a time, wipe off quickly) before polishing it to remove tar spots and other road grime (Prepsol is available from Allard Auto Paint, an A.C.T. Club sponsor).
44. Park cars with wheels straight ahead, seatbelts neatly displayed, and all logbooks, keys, and owners’ manual ready to be inspected. This makes a good impression on the judges.
45. Don't use black paint on tyres. After many applications it cracks and looks dreadful. Use a silicon tyre treatment or, even better, just a good detergent. Don't forget tyres have 2 sides. Wash them both and check them when you get to the Concours. Also, don't be tempted to paint the boot mat with black tyre paint.
46. Remember that judges have fingers as well as eyes! Clean everywhere that a judge could stick his or her finger - eg. Inside lip of mudguards and under air cleaner.
47. Make sure all radiator hose clamps are the same brand and are pointing in the same direction.
48. Clean under the seats on the adjusting rails. After cleaning apply a small amount of white grease. Clean the excess grease around door hinges.
49. Entrants who have not registered and/or don't have their car in place by 10 am will not be judged.
50. Judges will not go looking for owners to open a car where this is relevant so either the owner must be beside the car or it must be left unlocked.
51. The Chief Judge can, at his or her discretion, combine classes where there is a poor attendance or split large classes.
52. It is considered bad form to "check out" the judging form on your car whilst judging is underway. Judges come back and mark the score either up or down depending on what other cars score.
53. Remember, come along and enjoy yourselves. The real winners on the day will be our respective clubs, which aim to promote the Mercedes - Benz Marque!
The whole idea is to get as many of us together with our vehicles as possible. So please, remember that all vehicles are well regarded, and if you wish to compete as well as display, you can always enter in Road Division.
Each year German Autofest supports a local charity and helps them to raise funds. They are always very helpful with publicising our event so it would be great if you could attend the German Autofest with a view to helping out this very worthwhile organisation. The charity for this year is the ACT Volunteer Rural Fire Service.
CONCOURS CLASSES (See Item 51)
Pre-war and chassis cars, 170, Type 220 sedan, coupe and cabriolet
Roundie sedan, coupe and cabriolet
300 & 600 limousine
300 SL gullwing/roadster, 190SL roadster/hard top, Pagoda-roof SL
W111/112 coupe and cabriolet – 220, 250, 280, 300, 3.5
Finnie 190, 200, 220, 230, 300 sedan
W108/109 250, 280, 300, 3.5 & 6.3 sedan
Compact W114/115 sedan and coupe
S Class W116 sedans
W107 SL and SLC
W123 sedan, wagon & coupe
W126 sedan & C126 coupe
W124, W201 sedan, wagon, coupe and cabriolet
Late model vehicles up to 1999