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Newsletter No.115

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Hello and welcome to latest Newsletter. This newsletter is a little late I know. Here is a summary of why:

- The day after the last newsletter was posted Sandra and I took off to England and Scotland for a three week holiday. This was somewhat of a celebration of making it though the turmoil of last year. We had a great time and even managed to fit in a visit to the new Mercedes-Benz World complex at the historic Brooklands Circuit and a visit to the President of the Crayford Car club to discuss my 280SEL wagon. I am working on articles for both these visits for the next newsletter. In the meantime I have posted a selection of the pictures I took at Brooklands here.

- After that it was back to Australia for Sandra and off to Germany for me! I was joined there by two friends and we visited amongst other things Technoclassica in Essen. This is the largest Classic Car show in Europe and was well worth the two days it took to check it out. We also visited the new Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, the Nurburgring and some other great places. Much like I did last time I went to Germany I am preparing a series of newsletter articles to fill you all in on our adventures. In the meantime I have put a few pictures from Technoclassica here, and a few of some test cars on the Nurburgring here.

- Then a reality check coming back to Australia where I made a rather huge decision. If you have rung and tried to book in your post 1986 model Mercedes-Benz in the last few weeks you will have been mailed this letter!

To our valued customers, 9thApril, 2008

It is after much thought and anguish that we have decided on a change of direction for our business. As you have been told, we will no longer be servicing later model vehicles. This is not a decision we have made lightly nor without wondering if it is the right thing to do. We have many very loyal customers, some of whom have been with us since we started the business in 1994. We certainly feel that we will be letting many people down, but sometimes decisions like this have to be made for the sake of yourself rather than other people.

As many of you would know, John suffered a heart attack last year at the young age of 42 and it is primarily for this reason we have decided on making this change. An event like this makes you re-evaluate your life and to put your priorities in order. This is why we decided earlier in the year that the business needed to be downscaled and we announced that we were going to be selling the workshop as it is the most complex part of the business and then reopening the workshop as a restoration facility.

However after further evaluation we have decided that the stress involved with such a sale is more than John can cope with and we would simply just change the workshop from its current format to one that specialises in the servicing and restoration of Classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles. This would help us achieve our long term personal goals quicker.

So what will we be doing?

- We will continue the spare parts side of the business as normal. Our Parts department customers Australia wide will continue to be looked after by Murray and Colin.

- Our workshop will be reopened as a restoration and service facility for Classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles only. This area is a passion of John's and one which he is keen to expand. Some of you may not be aware that many of the vehicles restored by us have gone on to win many Concours trophies including a few outright wins. Classic cars are models that have been out of production for over 20 years. Chris will continue to oversee the workshop in its new format.

- We will continue to have a range of used cars for sale.

We hope that you appreciate our honesty in outlining the reasons for this decision. This is certainly not an easy letter to write nor one we had ever considered we would be writing one day.

Thank you

John GreenSandra Green

- After dropping that bomb shell I headed off to the Mercedes-Benz clubs of Australia Rally in Victoria. It started in Albury and finished in Melbourne a week later travelling via Lakes Entrance. Once again I will do a report on it soon.

- Then the week after that I started back at work full time and as I type this I have been back for three weeks. Before I went to the UK and Germany I had been coming in most mornings and working till I felt tired then going home. Now I are still working until I feel tired, but staying here and having a rest. So 8 hours a day at work, but not necessarily all working. It is a means to the end of getting back to where I was 9 months ago.

- In these three weeks we have started the required reorganization to finish up all the outstanding jobs on late model cars and to remodel the workshop to our new Classic Restoration/service facility. I have also started working on sorting other various issues that have been left for the last 9 months. One very important development is a new air freight contract with UPS that will streamline the process of importing parts from Germany, with the added bonus of a slightly cheaper cost!

So big delay between newsletters and heaps of reports from my travels in the last two months to write up, so stay tuned the next few newsletters will be great (and come out on time!)

Finally I need to once again say a big thank-you to all the great feedback and thoughts Sandra and I have had over the last nine months. As mentioned in the letter we don't feel good about letting customers down, but I must confess we do feel good about having a sense of direction and a renewed desire to get back on with life, which for me is very important.

Want to do 45000kms at 7.5lts per 100km??

Those of you driving post 2000 models will be familiar with the onboard computer that displays on the instrument cluster amongst other things your fuel consumption. There are two different screens, one display the consumption for the day and the other the consumption from the last time it was reset. Well earlier this week we purchased a 2003 W211 E270CDI Elegance that had not had the reset button pushed for over 45000kms, it showed an average fuel consumption of 7.5lts per 100kms over 45000kms. Not bad for a comfortable 5 seat car…. If you are interested in this car see this link. It also has some cool options like Xenon headlamps and parameter steering.

Manual transmission for new SL63!

Well not quite! Sorry to get you guys all excited there, but there is some truth in the headline. During our trip to Germany we spent some time at the Nurburgring, this is Germany's famous open road race track. Back in Newsletter Number 91I did an extended article on it if you want to learn more.

On the morning of the second day we were there the track was closed for testing, however there are a few places where you can get in amongst the pine trees and see the action so we did just that. We were armed with our camera's to get a snap of whatever secret stuff was getting around. I have posted a few of the shots I got here. Anyway it was our lucky day as Mercedes-Benz was out in force testing. I will cover all the cars we saw in a later article, but the one that created the most interest was a new SL63 that went passed and appeared to down shift like it had a manual transmission!!!! Yeah har, now that is a car I want to drive. Great debate started amongst us as to if it really was a manual as it is rather "un" Mercedes-Benz to offer such a thing.

We also had seen a factory test car (most likely just a SL530) a few days before on a freezing Sunday afternoon in Sindelfingen. In one of the shots at the top of the newsletter, it was taken looking over the fence on one of the back streets behind the main plant.

Then I read this a month later on Bummer no manual, but it is almost a manual, and the ability to do a race start. Now that will be handy cruising Bondi or whatever your local cruise spot is…. I want one.

Upcoming events.

Here is the current list of upcoming events. If you know of an event that would be of interest to our Newsletter readers please e-mail mewith the details as you will see below it does not necessarily have to be an exclusively Mercedes-Benz related event. The plan is not to put each clubs entire calendar on here, just the major events. Here are a few that I know are coming up:

21stSeptember 2008 The Mercedes-Benz Club (NSW) Inc, Concours d'Elegance will be held on Sunday Sunday 21st September 2008, at Parramatta Park, Parramatta NSW.

28th September 2008. The Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT , Concours d'Elegance will be held on the Sunday 28th September at Rond Terraces in conjunction with the Shannons German Autofest. This year the German Autofest will feature the Rare Marques group in addition to all the usual suspects. The pre-Concours function on Saturday night is a cocktail party at Capital Star Motors, who are the local authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers.

M.B Spares is a major sponsor of this event so stay tuned for more info.

Easter 2010. Yes I know that is a long way off, but there is no harm in advance planning. The Mercedes-Benz club of WA will be celebrating their 50th birthday and running the next Bi-annual Mercedes-Benz Clubs of Australia rally at over Easter in 2010. Planning is in its very early stages at the moment, but you can get some details here.

Pre loved engine sale!

As part of the workshop and general clean up we need to off load a few of our stock of used engines. So here are a few we can let go cheap!

- OM617 auto engine from early W123 300D up to 10/79, excellent condition $ 950.00
- W201/124 190E 2.6/260E/300E 2.6 engine, only 135000kms $ 950.00
- W114 250CE injected engine, has been rebuilt not too long ago $1000.00
- W126 420SE engine, with new timing chain fitted $1250.00
- W114 230.6 manual engine $ 500.00
- W201 190E auto, late version with double row chain $ 950.00
- W113/108 250SL/250SE manual engine exc cond $1000.00
- W115 220 manual engine exc cond $ 500.00
- 450SE k-jet engine $ 750.00
- W124 230E auto engine $ 750.00

And here are a few transmissions:

- W123 300D auto suit up to 10/79, excellent condition. $ 400.00
- W201 190E 2.6 auto, only 135000kms $ 750.00
- W115 230.4 auto transmissions $ 350.00
- W116 350SE auto transmission $ 350.00
- W107 450SLC auto transmission $ 500.00
- W123 early (up to 83) auto transmission $ 350.00

Fact of the month.

A 2007 study found that the average Australian walks about 900 miles a year.

Another study found that Australians drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year.

That means, on average, Australians get about 41 miles per gallon."

Bloody good value that!

Links of the month.

- A W100 Mercedes 600 which once belonged to one of the longest-serving Soviet leaders, Leonid Brezhnev, is going under the hammer at an auction in Germany

- Now this is a burnout, I like the way the guy with the camera backs off when he really gets into it…..

- Do you own a W108 or W109?? If so you should check out this topic on the OZBENZ forum. Just one example of all the great info that is on there.

- Anyone for a little Frank?? Turn speakers down if viewing at work!

- Here is a great articleand some original press release pictures of the mighty 6.3.

Question for the month.

OK, this one will test you guys. Tell me where the picture of the 6.3 towing the Caravan was taken and the significance of the picture. Answer next Newsletter.

What are we doing?

Last newsletter we summarised a week's worth of work in the workshop, which I know a number of you found rather interesting. So here we go again, however this time obviously we only have stories about older cars!

- After having its engine out for 18 months we are putting it back in a W180 220S coupe from 1959! This is a beaut car that has been in the same family since new. 18 months back it started to make bad noises when accelerating which turned out to be a broken piston. So the engine was removed and rebuilt, however while it was out we thought it would be wise to paint the engine bay as the 47 year old paint was looking a little sad. The rest is a long story, but the owner is very happy that it is now going to be back on the road soon.

- We have started the restoration of the W189 300d sedan from 1958 that we sold earlier this year to a local collector. We are stripped out the engine and transmission before it is sent off for a respray. While the body is being cleaned up we will overhaul the engine and transmission.

- The cylinder head service on the W112 300SE sedan that we mentioned in the last newsletter is finished and we started it up yesterday. A little extra work is still required to set up the injection system correctly before delivering it back the customer. A common mistake with all major mechanical repairs is to not test them under all conditions before handing it back to the customer. These old mechanical injection system engines are a good example. You can make then run real sweet when warmed up, only to find out the next day that they run terrible cold. So until we have tested the 300SE from cold and are happy with it then we will not be returning it!

- We have also started a cylinder head service on a 250SL, this was towed into the shop about a month back and as we have been sorting a few other cars we have only just got onto it. However once we had diagnosed the blown head gasket we drained the coolant out of the block to a level below the head gasket. This is very important if you are going to store a car for any length of time (even weeks) when you suspect it has a blown head gasket or any other method of water getting into the cylinders. If we had not done this by the time we had got around to starting the job the bore of the number 5 piston would have been full of water and the engine seized!!

Cars for sale.

Needless to say car sales were slow while I was away, but we seem to have more than made up for it since I returned. Cars sold include the E320 sedan, the 280SE 3.5 coupe, the E220 cabriolet which now lives up on the north coast, a couple of C200's, a 300CE and a one owner 380SL that we never even got to advertise, it was sold the day we parked it out the front.

We have also sold the low mileage S320 sedan that I delivered to Bairnsdale last week. What a stunning car to drive that was. A five hour drive is normally nothing to look forward to but this was so comfortable and I could not believe how good I felt when I arrived!

We also have some great cars coming into stock including the amazingly frugal E270CDI mentioned above and a beautiful 560SEC. This is a 1989 model so is the full update version with air bag and soft leather.

If you are looking for a van we have a great low mileage Vito 113 only 45000kms and one owner. It belonged to one of our local customers who used it for their business for a few years and then closed it down, has only traveled about 3000kms in the last 4 years!

We also have a great W108 280SE that we are preparing for sale, this is a car we have serviced for the last 10 years and is a very neat car. Pictures of the 280SE will be sent to everyone who is registered on the Newsletter system as being interested in a W108 sometime next week when we get the car back from the detailer.

So at the moment we have a great range of cars for sale. Don't forget Sandra's Viano 7 seat van, this has been our family transport for the last two years and is a great vehicle for a large active family. It has been a wonderful car, over Christmas we drove to Melbourne, across to Adelaide and back via the Hay plains averaging 9lts per 100kms for the trip including driving around Melbourne and Adelaide. Not bad for such a big car.

You can check out all the cars we have for sale here.

New cars into stock include:

560SEC 1989 update version

280SE W108 sedan

Vito 113 van with only 45000kms

Vito 113 manual van, low mileage

E270CDI Elegance sedan 2003

Cars sold include:

280SE 3.5 coupe

S320 sedan 1993

E220 cabriolet low mileage

E320 sedan 1998.

C200 sedan 1997

380SL 1985 one owner

C200 1999 sedan

300CE coupe 1988

Also in stock we have:

450SLC coupe.

450SEL sedan low mileage.

Viano Ambiente

ML320 CDI with full options.

E280 sedan 1995 spec

170S, classic sedan

170SD, classic Diesel sedan

W114 long wheel base sedan project

Fast is not always best…..

As I am learning to slow down a little I thought this story was quite appropriate:

A C-130 was lumbering along when an F-16 flashed by. The jet jockey decided to show off.

The fighter jock told the C-130 pilot, 'watch this!' and promptly went into a barrel roll followed by a steep climb. He then finished with a sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier. The F-16 pilot asked the C-130 pilot what he thought of that?

The C-130 pilot said, 'That was impressive, but watch this!' The C-130 droned along for about 5 minutes and then the C-130 pilot came back on and said: 'What did you think of that?'

Puzzled, the F-16 pilot asked, 'What the hell did you do?'

The C-130 pilot chuckled. 'I stood up, stretched my legs, walked to the back, went to the bathroom, and then got a cup of Starbucks coffee and a cinnamon bun.'

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.