The official Mercedes-Benz Club Founded 1952 - PDF

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         July 2010

          The official Mercedes-Benz Club
                   Founded 1952

                   In this month’s issue

E220 CDI estate   Flying Scotsman Rally    SLK radio retro-fit
  First ever Mercedes-Benz Club – founded 1952
  Only UK club recognised by Mercedes-Benz
  Monthly Gazette
  Technical support
  Free access to the Mercedes-Benz Electronic Parts Catalogue
  and Workshop Information Service
  Discounted insurance
  Club shop
  Local, national and international events
  Discounts from many MB dealers
  Members’ website forum
  Free subscription to Mercedes-Benz Classic magazine
  Discounts from parts suppliers
  Discounts from hotels and ferry operators
For membership and general enquiries telephone
0845 6032660

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Ian Keers OBE
Vice Chair and Membership Services Director
Rosemarie Maslin
Finance Director Maurice Stapleton
Company Secretary Chris Cloke
Marketing Director and liaison with
Mercedes-Benz UK Michael Chapman
Technical Director Jeremy Stevens
Internet Services Director Kenny Ooi
Regional Development Director Trevor Mitchell
Club Services Director Tony De Frates
Correspondence for Club Directors should be
sent to: The Mercedes-Benz Club, PO Box 284,
Stamford PE9 9BY
Honorary President John Surtees OBE
Honorary Life Vice-Presidents
Tina Bellamy, Erika Gupwell, Jacqueline White,
Roger King, Vic Harris and Mike Powell
Founder R H Johnson
Past Presidents G C Monkhouse (1952-1971),
Interregnum, Roger King (1989-1992),
Tina Bellamy (1992-1995), Interregnum
Past Chairmen C W E Kerr (1955-1963),
A J Ray Whiteway (1963-1970), John Barley
(1970-1975), Gerald Coward (1975-1982),
Dr Herbert Ochs (1982), Roger King (1982-1989),
Jacqueline White (1989-1996), Mike Powell
Mercedes-Benz Silver Star Winners
Ron Cushway (deceased), Tina Bellamy,
Roger King, Gordon Hoey (deceased),
Jacqueline White, Maurice Stapleton,
Vic Harris, Mike Powell and Steve Emeny.
This is a rarely made award from the Mercedes-Benz
Museum in Stuttgart to club officers who have made a
particularly long and distinguished contribution to their club.

        Help for Heroes
        is the Mercedes-Benz Club’s
        adopted charity

The Good Garage Guide and the current password for the
Club website Members’ pages can be found in the Club
Directory distributed with this Gazette.
      Advice and recommendations in the Gazette are given
in good faith by the authors concerned, but neither they nor
the Mercedes-Benz Club Ltd will accept responsibility for any
direct or consequential loss or damage resulting from persons
acting on such advice or recommendations.
      Reproduction of any part or whole of this magazine is
prohibited, unless written permission has been obtained from
the Editor.

September issue closes July 9
October issue closes August 6

Published by the Mercedes-Benz Club Ltd
              Editorial Office: Chris Bass 94                      Advertising, Design and Production:   Gazette distribution queries:
              Connaught Road, Brookwood,                          Hine Marketing, 19 Suffolk Road,      Rosemarie Maslin,
              Woking, Surrey GU24 OHJ.                            Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2AF             PO Box 284, Stamford PE9 9BY
           Tel: 01483 481836.                                     Tel: 01242 210412 Fax: 01242 222077   Tel: 01780 460922
E-mail: ch                      E-mail:       E-mail:

                                                                                                 your model of car please.
                                                                                                     We will have an area for Members’ cars
                                                                                                 offered for sale. We are planning activities
                                                                                                 for the children and we hope to have
                                                                                                 presentations for the highest authenticated
                                                                                                 mileage car, longest journey and maybe
                                                                                                 one or two more. A lovely gift from Annie
                                                                                                 Sturman is her trophy, in memory of her
                                                                                                 husband Richard, for the owner of the
                                                                                                 ‘Car of the Day’ according to the votes
                                                                                                 from everybody attending.
                                                                                                     Mark has negotiated a very good
                                                                                                 price for us at the Copthorne Hotel
                                                                                                 (about 20 minutes from Beaumont)
                                                                                                 at 400 Cippenham Lane, Slough SL1
                                                                                                 2YE, telephone 01753 516222, which has a
                                                                                                 pool for a lazy, refreshing swim after a long
                                                                                                 journey. Please make reservations directly,
                                                                                                 quoting Mercedes-Benz Club and your
                                                                                                 membership number. The double or twin
Thank you to all the Members who                there will be an introduction and welcome        room rate is £75.00 per night with family
responded to my letter in the Gazette in        in the Beaumont Lounge, with Mark’s              rooms (two adults with two children) at
November 2009 and who have written,             presentation to follow at 11.00. Lunch will      £95.00. The location of the Copthorne is
called and e-mailed me since then with          be at 1.00pm on the terrace, but we do have      north of the M4, junction six. Tickets are
support and encouragement, collectively         a ‘plan B’ if, by any remote chance, the         available at reception (at a discounted
resulting in a W123 Day to be held on           weather is unkind! (England in July? Bring       price) for the nearby Legoland.
July 18 at the Beaumont Estate, Burfield         swimsuits – for the pool, of course!)                We are planning a relaxed and sociable
Road, Englefield Green, Slough SL4 2JJ.              The cost of the day, including lunch,        meal together locally on Saturday evening.
We have been so very lucky in finding            is £15 for each adult and £7 for each            We appreciate that some Members will
this venue, very near to the M25, in a          child (under 13). If July 18 happens to          have travelled a long distance, so this
beautiful location, with spacious, surfaced     be any Member’s birthday, we’d like to           should be an evening to ‘take it easy’,
display areas. We may freely use the            know please! We would be most grateful           chat, catch up and generally enjoy.
lounge – which has a very large screen,         if all Members wishing to attend would               If any Member needs further
microphones etc for Mark Cosovich’s             send their cheques to Catherine Barlow           information, please contact me – my
technical presentation, the swimming pool       (PO Box 284, Stamford PE9 9BY) with              details are in the Directory, as a Valuer,
(children to be supervised by an adult at all   a stamped, addressed envelope for their          on page 11 – and I will do my best to help
times), squash and tennis courts, the gym,      passes, which will double as tickets for         you. We emphasise that all Members will be
the extensive gardens, lawns and nature         lunch, as soon as possible please. The           welcome at the W123 Day, with or without
trail.                                          closing date for registration is July 1. After   a Mercedes-Benz. We are looking forward
    We would like to start the day with         this date Catherine will be away. We would       to seeing everybody on July 18.
arrivals from 9.30 to 10.00am. At 10.30         also appreciate the inclusion of details of                             Meg Wynne-Mayfield

    This summer the Beaulieu Motor              With Southampton, Bournemouth and                dinner together.
Museum in the New Forest will be our host       Portsmouth close by, there is plenty of              Beaulieu really needs little introduction.
for the Club’s National and Family Day. A       choice for the dedicated shopper. For            This world-renowned National Motor
comprehensive range of activities for all       others, Rose and Gerald Philpotts have           Museum has over 250 vehicles from every
ages is planned for Sunday August 22 but        organised a gentle road run to give you a        motoring era, including legendary world
for those who wish to make a weekend of         flavour of the area. The run will start at the    record breakers such as Bluebird, TV star
it we have reserved a number of rooms at        Museum of Army Flying in Middle Wallop           cars like Del Boy’s Reliant Regal and rare
the Norton Park Hotel, a truly excellent        and finish at the Norton Park Hotel in time       oddities like a giant orange on wheels.
hotel on the outskirts of Winchester.           for you to freshen up ready for our Club             Other things for you to visit during

        •           •
We are pleased to announce the release of another three CDs, to cover the ‘Introduction Into
Service’ of the many models dating from the late 1960s to the late 80s. This information is
very detailed and covers the salient points of each new model. This is not service information
as such, but is nevertheless invaluable technical information. All files are searchable for text
as they have been processed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
    The CDs are priced at £15 each including VAT, postage and packing. We are also now
in position to reduce the cost of the existing six Technical CDs to £15 each as well.
    CD seven covers W100, W114/115, W116 (including the 6.9), R/C107 to W108/109.
There are also details on carburettors and automatic transmissions.
    CD eight covers W123, W126 and R129 (including the 6.9 and AMG models).
    CD nine covers W201, W124 (including cabriolet), W140 and W460/1/3. Also
included are AMG and 4-Matic models and the electronic carburettor fitted to M102
engines as well as ASR and ASD.
    The First 40 Years CD is a compilation of material and photographs documenting                         Insurance is a must-have for you, and
the first 40 years of the Club’s history in eight volumes compiled by the late Jim and                      for us it’s our specialist subject – but
Lorna Selby. Jim’s original ambition was to produce a book reflecting the yearly life                       we also share a passion for cars of all
of the Club’s existence from its beginnings in 1952 up to 1986, but the manuscript was                     shapes, sizes and ages. Among the ones
never published. Mike and Joan Powell (with assistance from Andy Thomson) have                             that really set our pulses racing is the
painstakingly been through the volumes and added and edited where possible in order                        fabulous Mercedes 300SLR, driven
to make scanning possible. As with the technical CDs, the files are searchable for text as                  by the great Stirling Moss in the 1955
they have been processed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). There are errors                       Mille Miglia. At Flux, we love our
and omissions, mis-spellings and typos in the document, but these reflect the patina of                     cars so much we have commissioned
the original manuscript. This CD is priced at £10 including VAT, postage & packing.                        some evocative prints picturing some
     All these CDs are obtainable from Catherine Barlow at the Club Office and she can                      of the very best – as you can see from
take telephone orders.                                                                                     the accompanying image. These prints
                                                                              Jeremy Stevens               have all featured in our dedicated on-
                                                                                                           line magazine, Influx (www.influx.
                                                                                                 , which features an eclectic mix of
Mark Stevens, the new general manager of Mercedes-Benz South West Taunton, has                             automotive culture designed to inspire
decided to add more interest for people wishing to purchase a new or used three-pointed-                   motor enthusiasts.
star. He has taken the west by storm with his idea of introducing the brand in a different                       Of course the iconic SLR name
form – showing all the latest models to a vast number of people over a two-day period.                     was revived through the collaboration
While would-be buyers view the range they can also have a hand massage from experts,                       of Mercedes and McLaren, with its
eat at an all-day barbecue with a professional chef from the Mount Somerset Hotel, relax                   swansong being the launch in June
on the latest garden furniture, view the latest spas and have a chance to win an SLK for                   last year of the incredible Mercedes-
the summer months. If you would like to take part in one of these events e-mail Mark via                   McLaren SLR Stirling Moss. Just 75 have or call 01823 259555.                                            been built at a cool £815,000 each – while
                                                                             James Lloyd                   an original 300SLR is priceless. Should
                                                                                                           you be looking for insurance for your new
                                                                                                           SLR Stirling Moss, do give us a call…
                                                                                                                 Another of our passions here at Flux
                                                                                                           is enjoying the comeback of Michael
                                                                                                           Schumacher in the Mercedes F1 team,
                                                                                                           nicknamed the Silver Arrows once again.
                                                                                                           Some might have thought this was a
                                                                                                           mid-life crisis for a former F1 champion
                                                                                                           – after his performance in Turkey, who
                                                                                                           would write him off? After all, watching
                                                                                                           Stirling Moss at Goodwood shows that he
                                                                                                           still has ‘the right stuff’.

Lewtrenchard Manor, at Lewdown near Okehampton Devon (postcode EX20 4PN), is virtually
untouched by time and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. If you love good food, this is the
place to go – the general manager is also the chef and he produces exquisite cuisine. To encourage
you to try it, there is special offer for Mercedes-Benz Club Members. You can book three nights
for the price of two and enjoy a complimentary Devonshire cream tea on one afternoon of your
stay. This offer will run until the end of the year, subject to availability and not in conjunction with
any other offer or package. Details of how to contact Lewtrenchard and the code to quote when
booking are given in the Club Directory enclosed with this Gazette.
                                                                                          James Lloyd

                                                      Letter of the Month
                                                As a thank you (and as an incentive for even greater
                                                efforts) we like to choose a letter of the month.
                                                Meguiar’s have kindly agreed to sponsor this and
                                                the Member whose letter is selected receives a
                                                Wash & Wax car care kit.

Dear Chris,
I was carrying out some routine
maintenance on our early R170 SLK
yesterday and noticed a broken earth strap      Dear Alan (Cross – North West Regional Officer),
running from the power steering pump to         We just wanted to drop you a line regarding our recent ‘adventures’ with our 1965
the nearside chassis leg. As can be seen        SEb coupé MVF 981C, known as the ‘Duchess’. It’s 12 months since we approached
from the photo, the original lead is poorly     you on the Club stand at Tatton Park to ask about obtaining a new wing for our car.
supported and has suffered water ingress        You asked, “Where is your car, you should have brought it?” We said we were too
and hardening of the insulation, all of which   ashamed of the rust to bring it to any show so you introduced us to Chris Murphy of
contributed to the failure. I have made up a    Gratt Motor Company who just happened to be on the stand at the time.
new lead that is somewhat more substantial           Chris is a very unassuming man and stated there and then, “I can fix your car,
and flexible than the original. We also had      no problem at all.” You also told us about Dave Collins at Hebden Bridge, where
a similar problem just after we obtained        we obtained a wing and took it to Chris. He did a fantastic job of fitting the wing
the car two years ago. The two earth straps     from Dave and repairing the other one so that the car looked fantastic. What a great
on the exhaust system, one amidships and        recommendation and we now know that Chris really can fix it. We then took our car
one on the rear silencer (only one is shown     to two car shows, one at Capesthorne Hall, where you made us very welcome, and
on the EPC though), were both found to          one at Townley Hall in Burnley, which we were told about when visiting Dave Collins.
have disintegrated due to salt corrosion. I’d        We then saw the trip to Monte Carlo was being planned and decided our Duchess
advise all keen DIY SLK owners to check         should go, as we never cease to say our old Merc will go anywhere, but the trip was
these straps and replace as required – faulty   3,000 miles, would she make it? We asked around for advice on who could check out
earth straps can lead to all sorts of odd       our car locally and were advised strongly that the Guru is Harry at Greenvale Services
electrical system behaviour.                    in Whitefield. We went and interviewed Harry and decided we could trust him to look
                                                at our car, so we booked it in. Harry did lots of jobs, one of which was to replace the
Regards,                                        bearing on the prop shaft, however we received some disturbing news which went
Jeremy Stevens, Club Technical Director,        something like this: “We can't make the car run correctly and think the head needs
via e-mail                                      to come off and further investigations made because you will not get to Monte as
                                                it is.” We agreed to this and have had the head reconditioned with hardened valve
                                                seats and new valves etc. The Duchess now runs better than at any time in the last 20
                                                years and takes unleaded fuel. We had a panic because new valve guides could not
Dear Chris,                                     be sourced, however, at the 11th hour the guides were found and the car was ready.
The item about the Shooting Break (June         We asked Harry if the car would get us to Monte and he said, “There's nothing to go
‘News and views’) reminds me of an              wrong with these old Fintails.” So that was all right then.
amusing incident during the early days               Harry did a great job and we set off on the ‘Mercedes to Monte Carlo’
of the lordly 600 going on sale in Britain.     commemoration run which celebrated the first, second and third places of Mercedes
It was told to me by my old friend and          220SEs in the 1960 Monte Carlo Rally. We have had a fantastic trip and met some
colleague Gordon McKenzie-Wylie who             fabulous people, who all appeared interested in our old car. The French kept
was in charge of 600 sales and swore it         stopping us and saying, “La belle voiture.” We have seen some fantastic places and
was true. An Arab gentleman called into         everywhere people stopped and asked us about our old car and what the trip was
Normand’s Park Lane showrooms and               all about. It was well organised from start to finish and Nicky Porter and Andrew
enquired if a shooting brake version of the     Bodman did a great job, and many other people put in a great deal of work to organise
600 was planned. The salesman explained         this. The itinerary and the accommodation were just stunning. We would recommend
that extending the roofline backwards            anyone to participate in any Mercedes-Benz Club event as they are first class in every
and adding a vertical tailgate would spoil      way and the people are so friendly and helpful.
the looks of the car. “No, no,” said the             One day we stopped after about half an hour on one of the cols, just to check the oil and
customer miming the action of shooting a        the ATF, and every single Club car stopped to enquire if we were all right and if we needed
rifle in two directions. “I mean open the        help! Fantastic. We would recommend Gratt Motor Company, Greenvale and Dave Collins
roof so I can go shooting!”                     to any Members who need great service and skilled people to look after their cars.

All the best,                                   We are now looking forward to our next trip.
Erik Johnson, via e-mail                        Steve and Marilyn Wilkinson, via e-mail

                                                                                                  far away in Buckingham – Automec Ltd
                                                                                                  ( and rushed down
                                                                                                  there to buy a precious bottle. Automec
                                                                                                  is an interesting company that provides all
                                                                                                  kinds of specialist brake components and
                                                                                                  is worth keeping a note of. Finally the job
                                                                                                  was completed and the car ready for its
                                                                                                  wheel alignment check, but…
                                                                                                       Last year I had a Pertronix electronic
                                                                                                  ignition module fitted, together with a
                                                                                                  ‘Flame-thrower’ high output coil as I
                                                                                                  thought this would be a big improvement
                                                                                                  over the fiddly business of managing the
                                                                                                  two sets of points these cars have. I have
                                                                                                  been generally convincing myself that
                                                                                                  things were better and I was glad there
                                                                                                  was no more gradual degradation of points
                                                                                                  as was the case before. However, if I am
                                                                                                  honest, there has been a patch of rough
                                                                                                  running between 2,000 and 2,500rpm plus
                                                                                                  some hesitation when the car was booted
                                                                                                  at 2,000 rpm. Once through the hesitation
                                                                                                  it seemed fine. We were planning to travel
                                                                                                  to Munich in convoy with Jeremy Stevens’
                                                                                                  170Sv and Michael Morrison’s W112
                                                                                                  300SE cabriolet and obviously the 170
                                                                                                  will determine the convoy speed. I started
                                                                                                  to realise that we will be spending a great
                                                                                                  deal of time in my rough-running rev zone
                                                                                                  and I really did not fancy that all the way
                                                                                                  to Munich and back, so the other night we
                                                                                                  decided to whip the plugs out, clean them
                                                                                                  and open the gaps to 0.028-inch to see if
                                                                                                  the flame thrower coil would work at its full
                                                                                                  potential and perhaps cure the problem. It
                                                                                                  was worse, much worse in fact, so then we
                                                                                                  made a very late decision to change the car
                                                                                                  back to points for the trip. Fortunately I
                                                                                                  had kept the old coil (actually, it was only
Preparing the 6.3 for Munich                                                                      about a year old) and the ballast resistor
We were due to leave for the Ponton Rally        only £26 each but it made sense to do them       plus I had some new points in stock, so
in Halbergmoos near Munich in the early          when the torsion bar was coming off. This        we were OK. However, this late problem
hours of June 1 and I thought I had made         plan of work would be followed by a full         caused me to have to cancel the wheel
a good preparation plan for the car, but at      wheel alignment check, which has never           alignment appointment.
the 11th hour things began to go wrong and       been done during my ownership of the car.             Doug prefers to remove distributors
stress levels had risen! It was very easy in                                                      from the car and to set them up on the
the dark days of last December to casually       Silicone brake fluid                              bench, which I think is the best way too.
say, “Oh, we’ll just take the 6.3,” but as you   The 6.3 was filled with silicone brake            We noticed that the black collar that comes
get closer you begin to realise that taking a    fluid when it had a major braking system          with the Pertronix kit was slightly loose on
41-year-old, very complex car on a big trip      overhaul in 2006 by the previous owner.          the distributor spindle. It seemed very tight
like this is no light undertaking and quite      Perhaps not everyone is familiar with this       when it was first pushed on, so maybe this
a bit of preparation has to be done. At          fairly special product, but it does have
the last MoT test it was given a couple of       several benefits: a) it does not boil; b) it is
advisories, specifically, worn rear torsion       not hygroscopic (water absorbent) so never
bar rubbers (6.3s have rear anti-roll bars       needs replacing and c) it does not damage
as well as a front one) and two worn             paintwork. It conforms to the US DOT 5
bushes at the front. Doug also wanted to         standard and is standard specification for
fit new rear caliper housing bearing kits as      the US Army vehicle fleet for example. It is
well. I believe these are only used on air-      expensive though, at around £38 per litre.
suspended cars and allow the rear calipers       (So you need to keep it in a safe!) We lost
to move as the suspension flexes. The rear        a bit of brake fluid during the strip-down
axle is ‘gripped’ by a steel housing, inside     and I only then realised I had no silicone
which are two plastic shell bearings. The        fluid in stock, so set out to buy some. By
assembly is fitted with a grease nipple.          the time I had been to three motor factors
They gradually seize and can cause ‘groans’      in Northampton plus Halfords and had
to come from the back and, as the newness        drawn a blank in every case, I realised
had certainly worn off mine, I decided to        this was rare stuff. In the end, I used the
have them replaced. The repair kits are          ‘interweb’ and found an importer not that

         •            •
                                                                                                                                     Club polo shirts with
                                                                                                                                        logo, in a choice
                                                                                                                                       of burgundy, navy
                                                                                                                                       blue, red or white.
   Alloy tax disc holders,                                                                                                           Please state size when
                               Magnetic tax disc holder      Club logo wooden                                                           ordering. £21.50
      twist-off back, in                                                              Wheel and tyre key chain,
                                  with Club logo.          wall clock, hand made.
     titanium or black.                                                               Club logo one side (both
                                       £5.00                        £15.00
            £22.00                                                                       sides shown) £7.00

                                                                                                       Square metal key ring
                                                                                                       with Club logo on both
                                                                                                             sides. £7.50            Black leather key ring
                                Baseball caps with Club logo. Choice of navy blue with red or                                           with Club logo.
                                          silver logo, stone with navy logo, burgundy,                                                       £8.00
                                black, red or yellow with silver logo, and navy with taupe peak.
  Navy blue storm-proof
  coat with silver thread
  logo. Please state size
     when ordering.                                                                                                               Satin finish key chain
          £35.00                                                                                           Round Club alloy          with Club logo.
                                                                                                            key ring. £10.00              £7.00
                              Black sports bag in black with silver thread       Oval metal key ring
                               Club logo, ideal for the boot of the car.         with Club logo on
                                                £22.00                            both sides. £7.50
                                                                                                                                  Heavy gauge stainless
                                                                                                                                   steel number plate
                                                                                                                                  backing plate £23.00

                                                                                                       Anti-theft spinner valve
                                                                                                             caps £15.00

                             Luxury lap-top carrying        Club window
   Suit carrier with                                      stickers, silver or       Anti-theft valve
    silver thread               bag with padded                                     caps with Club
                               compartments and           white background
     Club logo.                                                 £2.25                 logo £17.00
        £25.00                     Club logo.
                                     £38.00                                                      Sweatshirt
                                                                                                 in burgundy
                                                                                                 or navy
                                                                                                 blue with                              Club fleece in navy
                                                                                                 Club logo.       Woolly hats in         blue or burgundy
                                                                                                 Please state      burgundy or           with silver thread
                                                       White slim porcelain                      size when       black with silver       logo. Please state
  Burgundy mug with White slim porcelain mug             mug ‘I love my                          ordering.         thread Club          size when ordering.
   Club logo. £8.00  with Club logo. £8.00              Mercedes’. £8.00                         £25.00            logo. £12.50                £33.50

Visit our Club website shop. Orders can now be made via the
site with payment by credit card, Paypal or cheque. Log onto          Steve Evans, 131 Balmoral Way, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS22 9DJ.
the Club website and start shopping the easy way. Please make
cheques payable to S Evans. Paypal payment address: sales@                      To order please ring 01934 418545                                                   If we are unable to answer the phone, please leave a message on the
     All orders will be despatched within 24 hours, if there is answer-phone and we will call you back. Faxes can be sent on the same number.
a problem we will contact you. UK post and packing is now                     The e-mail address is
included in all prices, please ring or e-mail for overseas rates.
                                                                                            Sorry, but due to bank charges,
Goods found to be faulty through design flaws or postage
                                                                              we have had to introduce a minimum order value of £5.00.
damage will be replaced free of charge.
                              Club merchandise will be on sale at Tatton Park June 5-6, the National Concours June 26,
                      the SL Rally August 8, the National Weekend August 22 and the NEC Classic Car Show November 12-14.

         o there it is, I have just collapsed   leave the Birmingham NEC paling into a         exchanging pleasantries and awaiting our
         into my hotel room having              side hall.                                     transport for the weekend. Ahead of time
         completed the first of the two-              Having packed my bags in London           the coach pulled up and we duly loaded
         day extravaganza that is Essen.        ready for the long weekend, I became           our luggage into its cavernous bowels and
This is my first visit to the Techno-Classica    aware that something special was going to      hopped into our seats. At this point there
Classic Car Show and I have already been        happen as everyone appeared just that little   were already other Members on board
briefed on what to expect, but nothing can      bit happier than normal. Smiles were that      who had got on at an earlier point and
really prepare you for the sheer enormity,      little bit wider, handshakes that little bit   there began another round of big grins
the grandiose cars, the variety of vehicles     firmer and wallets bulged, the eager euros      and firm handshakes before we all settled
of all ages, colours marques, types – both      itching to be exchanged for shiny chrome       down for what seemed to be a very short
concours, everyday and ‘project’, and           car parts. At 7.15am on the Thursday we all    journey indeed to Folkestone and the Euro
the sheer size of the halls which together      gathered at the South Mimms coach park,        Tunnel departure area for breakfast.

         •           •
              eike writes: “My relationship       This got rather addictive. I came away             afford and pay for it five-fold, over the next
              with this car is all the            feeling slightly dirty. Is that normal?            25 years’. Sounded good to me.
              Mercedes-Benz Club Gaz-             Eventually I spoke to a charming man,                   So the beautiful car and I glided back to
              ette’s fault. Thanks to it, I       whose integrity and candour dripped from           Cambo. It took us nearly two days, as I am
have worked my way through most of the            every syllable. The car had been his reward        not the world’s fastest driver. Doing 50 in
seven deadly sins and in the end I pretty         to himself for qualifying as a doctor. He had      the middle lane is quite fast enough, thank
much gave in to all of them.                      only owned it a few months before getting          you. Yes, the damp was very expensive and
    Firstly ‘lust and envy’. It all started       a contract in Australia, so sadly it had to        monstrously complicated to fix. So was the
about 10 years ago. I had always wanted a         go. I asked lots of questions, (mainly, “Is        engine. So was all the rust that appeared
280SL (so bad it hurt) but hadn’t seriously       it blue?”) and everything sounded good.            within days. In all, I spent more than twice
looked into it, correctly assuming I              Especially the price. I had been sucked in.        what I paid for the car. I still suffer from
couldn’t afford one. I was, after all, a single   For the first time I agreed to actually go          flashbacks about the bills, but that is all a
mum, working part time as a hairdresser.          and look at a car. Oh dear.                        long time ago and time is a great healer.
Anyway, I had a fine W115, otherwise                   Naturally it was in Glasgow. As I live              To cut a long story short, Stewart and
known as ‘the Beirut taxi’. It was orange,        in Cambridge there are very few places             Wisbey ( or 01353
it was immaculate, it had a lot of chrome,        that could have been further away. This is         665343) did a truly awesome job in sorting
it sounded sweet and looked deeply cool.          where ‘extravagance’ comes in... I booked a        out the engine. Barr Tech ( or
But it wasn’t a 280SL.                            single flight and arrived in torrential rain at     01223 425300) made the bodywork like new.
    When I bought the W115, in 1997, I            dusk. Under the glow of a street lamp, the         Eight years later, all the work is still faultless.
joined the Mercedes-Benz Club and, like           car did look fairly blue and it was definitely      I would never take it anywhere else.
clockwork, the Gazette crashed onto the           very shiny. Glistening, in fact. I took it for a        When things are going badly and I
doormat once a month. If I am honest, I           spin and noticed it was sopping wet inside         am hovering above some professional or
didn’t always read it from cover to cover.        and burning a fair bit of oil. I slithered to      financial abyss, I say to myself, “Yes, but I
There is a limit to the amount of enthusiasm      a halt outside his flat, emerged from the           have got a 280 SL (in blue)” and suddenly
I can generate for a detailed photographic        steaming interior, waded through the river         nothing seems quite as bad.
analysis of how to get the light working          that had now formed in the gutter, wafted               Finally, ‘pride and vainglory’. As I
again inside the glove compartment of an          a passage through the smoke, and the doc           am among like-minded people, I think
E-Class. In truth, I always flipped straight to    and I went upstairs to talk business. Having       it is safe to confess that I still love every
the ads at the back. I began, hypothetically      coltishly broken every rule for buying a car,      over-priced, blue molecule of my car.
of course, ‘having a look’... My needs were       I did redeem myself a bit by beating him           When I approach it in a car park, not only
very specific and unshakeable. It had to be        down mercilessly on the price. Well, he was        do I feel ridiculously proud, I rather hope
a 280SL. It had to be pale metallic blue.         a doctor, he could afford it...                    someone sees me getting into it... When I
Er… did I say blue? Oh yes, and shiny.                I knew I’d been naughty. I had paid            see people I know, I always toot. Not really
Very, very shiny.                                 for it using an ‘additional advance’, my           to be sociable you understand, but so they
    Well, as they say, one thing led to           mortgage company’s euphemism for ‘Go               can see what a fab car I’ve got. Come on...
another. It started with a few phone calls.       ahead and buy something you really can’t           We’ve all done it...”

If you would like your car to be a Car of the month, please send a good photo (conventional or digital) and a few details to the Gazette
Editorial Office: Chris Bass, 94 Connaught Road, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey GU24 0HJ or

‘F Duct’ banned for 2011
Following meetings in Barcelona, the F1         with both drivers taking points in eighth         Hill, decided this was a breach of the
teams have agreed to ban the so-called ‘F       and ninth positions. In Turkey di Resta was       regulations and demoted the German to
Duct’ for the 2011 season. McLaren was          also left out of the practice.                    12th place. Mercedes was adamant it was
the first to exploit the loophole in the rules                                                     in the right but did not appeal against the
and several teams have since followed suit,     McLaren’s Monaco blunder                          decision. The rule has now been clarified
some with more success than others.             Button failed to make the second lap of           and there is to be no overtaking allowed
                                                the Monaco GP due to an air intake cover,         under such circumstances.
Motor homes                                     which was inadvertently left on the car on the
After having to slum it in its old motor home   left side en route to the grid, blocking air to   Hamilton charged
in Spain, the McLaren team was able to use      the engine. The team tried to remove it on        Following Hamilton’s exuberant departure
the new three-storey structure in Monaco        the grid but were unable to do so due to the      from the entrance gates of the Australian
after a three-day construction period. With     heat. Had there been no safety car during the     GP in March, a court hearing has been set
its two indoor sections and roof terrace,       race it would not have been such an issue,        for August 24 at Melbourne Magistrates’
the team wined and dined its guests during      but the car over-heated after the first, early     Court, a mere three days before first
the weekend as well as running its normal       safety-car period, leading to engine failure      practice for the Belgian GP at Spa. It is
activities. Red Bull had its new ‘Energy        and Button had to retire. He refused to           unlikely he will be present at the hearing.
Station’, which was floated into the harbour     name and shame the hapless mechanic but
after being constructed in a port nearby.       was satisfied he would not do it again. Button     GP round up
                                                also suffered a dashboard problem in Spain        Three races were held in May, beginning
Cause of Hamilton’s Spanish                     the previous week, delaying his pit-stop.         with the Spanish GP. Schumacher, in the
crash                                                                                             Mercedes, managed his best finish so far, in
The McLaren team confirmed that                  McLaren loses Pat Fry                             fourth, beating his team-mate Rosberg, albeit
Hamilton’s penultimate lap retirement           After 18 years with the team, chief engineer      over a minute behind Webber’s winning Red
crash was caused by a rim failure and not       Pat Fry announced he is to leave. Martin          Bull. Button came fifth place and the Force
a Bridgestone tyre failure. The accident,       Whitmarsh said “…in these situations it’s         India of Sutil finished an impressive seventh.
similar to Kovalainen’s in 2008 at the          a great opportunity for someone younger,              Monaco in mid-May saw the Red
same circuit, pitched the McLaren driver        maybe hungrier, to come along and replace         Bull domination continue, with Webber
into the tyres and out of a certain second      all of us. We’re all replaceable. I think the     winning the race. Rosberg was beaten by
position. Martin Whitmarsh said the rim         process will be the same but we’re manned         Schumacher once again with the longer
could have been damaged by debris on the        with fresh new engineers.”                        chassis Mercedes appearing not to suit
track or a loose wheel nut.                                                                       the young German’s style. Hamilton came
                                                Schumacher’s Monaco penalty                       home in fifth place for McLaren and both
di Resta disappointed at                        Schumacher received a 20-second penalty           Force India cars finished in the points.
Monaco and Turkey                               at the Monaco GP for passing Alonso for               The Turkish GP should have been a
Force India reserve driver and Mercedes         sixth place in the very last metres of the        now familiar Red Bull one-two, but in the
DTM racer Paul di Resta was left out of         race. A new rule for 2010 sees the addition       late stages of the race Vettel had a risky go
his usual practice role at Monaco but was       of a ‘safety car line’ as well as a finishing      at Webber, who gave him no room to take
still upbeat about the weekend, attending       line, with the former a good distance             the next corner and the resulting collision
several PR events for the team. The             from the finish line. Once the safety car          handed the one-two to an ever-improving
Monaco circuit is very demanding and the        is past this line and turned into the pit-        McLaren. The two Mercedes finished as
team elected to run their regular drivers in    lane entrance, the race is technically on         well as could be expected in fourth and fifth,
all three practice sessions ahead of the race   again. Schumacher took advantage of this          with Schumacher again beating Rosberg.
to enable them to gain as much experience       following the fourth safety car period. The       Sutil once again finished in the points for
as possible of the tight track. It paid off     stewards, including guest steward Damon           Force India.

Round one – Hockenheimring,                     Mercedes-Benz on the other hand             remaining cars became ever closer until
April 25                                    has two new drivers: CongFu (yes, really)       in the final tussle for pole, only one Audi
                                            Cheng, the first Chinese driver ever to take     – Tomczyk’s – was still running against
Having won the last three DTM               part in the series, and former F1 star David    the three AMG Mercedes of Spengler,
championships in a row, Audi no doubt       Coultard in a bright yellow AMG C-Class         Green and Gary Paffett who, after some
approached the opening of the 2010 series   sponsored by Deutsche Post. Mercedes has        disappointing practice times, had sprung
without being burdened by any undue         its motor sport effort diluted by supporting    from nowhere. And he it was who took pole
sense of humility. And with only one new    two hugely expensive F1 teams. Although         by a mere 0.076 seconds from Tomczyk,
driver in its line-up, Spaniard Miguel      to be fair, Audi does put a prodigious,         with Spengler third and Green fourth on
Molina replacing Tom Kristensen who         and usually very productive, effort into its    the second row of the grid.
retired at the end of 2009, the team also   annual Le Mans entry.                               Somewhat further back was David
has the strength of consistency.                Anyway, by the end of free practice         Coulthard, in 17th for his first ever DTM
                                            on Friday, Audi’s confidence seemed              race and confessing: “It was a lot more
                                            thoroughly vindicated. All three fastest        difficult than I had expected after the
                                            times went to A4s, with Timo Scheider           tests.” It is a response common to most
                                            being the quickest, closely followed by         drivers who have come to DTM, or any
                                            Martin Tomczyk and Mattias Ekstrom.             other saloon car series, from the very
                                            Jamie Green in fourth held the best result      different discipline of F1, and to date
                                            for Mercedes, with team-mates Bruno             Coulthard’s former F1 team-mate Mika
                                            Spengler sixth and Paul di Resta 10th. So,      Hakkinen has been the only open-wheel
                                            only three of the C-Classes in the top 10 –     racer to have achieved much success in this
                                            not an auspicious start for Stuttgart.          particular speciality.
                                                And Audi’s dominance continued into             On the morning before the race, there
                                            the two sessions of Saturday’s free practice,   is always a brief warm-up session. The
                                            with Tomczyk and Alexandre Premat first          results do not necessarily mean much, as
                                            and second fastest. But at least Spengler       a quick car and driver may not want to
                                            had closed the performance gap. He was          strain themselves by needlessly putting in
                                            third and only 0.187 seconds off the pace.      a blistering time at this stage, but it does at
                                            Indeed all the leading drivers were running     least give the crowd and the commentators
                                            extremely close to each other – only half a     something to speculate about. And this
                                            second separated the top eight.                 particular warm-up sparked plenty of
                                                Qualifying proper began at 1.45pm           speculation. Jamie Green’s 2008 C-Class
                                            and consisted of four eliminating sessions      was quickest at 1.33.902, followed by no
                                            with the final one being a sort of flying lap     fewer than five Audi A4s – Tomczyk’s,
                                            shoot-out between the fastest four drivers      Timo Scheider’s, Mike Rockenfeller’s,
                                            for the best grid positions. As session         Oliver Jarvis’s and Ekstrom’s. Pole-sitter
                                            succeeded session, the lap times of the         Paffett was only seventh. How that would

             ou might remember the
             story of Detlef Heyer and his
             amazing 630K. The first UK
             Members saw of him was at
the Brooklands Festival in 2007, when he
brought the car over, driving without a
hood through some of the worst summer
down-pours to get there. After that I went to
Ireland and wrote a story about the car and
Detlef, which was published in the February
2008 Gazette. Writing such an article usually
means that even after the actual interview
there are always other details to check, so I
had to phone Detlef a few times. Probably
because of that he must have decided I was
the one to contact when he had a proposition
to put to the Club. The story I had written
had detailed how he had taken part in the
Classic Mille Miglia and the Classic Safari
rallies plus some others. He called me one
afternoon around the end of February to say
he was taking part in the Flying Scotsman
Rally in March and that he had not got a
navigator. He wondered if anyone in the
Club would be interested and if so, as he had
paid all the upfront costs, would they make a    much as possible of the driving is on minor       a section for classics. The Classic Safari
decent donation to the Haiti relief charities.   roads, and there are a liberal sprinkling         seems more like a Safari, there seem to
     I spoke to Ian Keers and because there      of various sorts of driving tests and timed       be few restrictions and it includes trips to
was not enough time to put an appeal in          sections. One night is spent in Grantham          game parks etc. The Trans-Am is back to
the Gazette, he immediately put a note           and the second in Darlington, whilst the          earlier models with one class up to 1941
on the Club website forum, asking those          finish is just outside Edinburgh at the            and a second up to 1975. These rallies are
interested to call me. I did not get any         Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club. All in           obviously a popular pastime as several
real response, so I also contacted David         all some 732 miles in three days on minor         of the above events are already fully
Lawson, whom I knew was well into classic        roads – not a really easy jaunt with pre-war      booked. Although entering such rallies
rallying. He was interested and has written      vehicles. The entry list included another         is pretty expensive, it has to be said that
about his experiences below.                     Mercedes – an SSK no less, from Germany.          the organisers put a lot of work into the
                                                 In fact, according to Detlef, it was in reality   preparation and the route books are really
Endurance rallies                                an S, not an SSK. Most of the cars were           well put together.
However, before getting to that, a bit           British vintage models – Bentleys, MGs etc            For the story of how this entry in the
of background on what are described              with a sprinkling of exotica such as a 1922       Flying Scotsman Rally got off the ground,
as ‘endurance rallies’. The Flying               Bugatti Brescia.                                  I will hand over to David Lawson. When
Scotsman and others are organised by a                The same organisation is also running        they met, Detlef made the comment that,
the Endurance Rally Association. These           a Peking-Paris in 2010, London-Capetown           whilst David was one of the ‘Bentley boys’,
people specialise in setting up such events      in 2011, the Classic Safari in 2011 and the       he was now a ‘Mercedes man’!
and specify which age of car can take            Trans-Am – New York to Alaska – in 2012.
part. The Flying Scotsman – which I later        The type of participant varies – the Peking-      Navigating the rally
found out had nothing whatsoever to do           Paris includes cars up to 1968 divided into       ‘A phone call from Peter Hampson
with the train of the same name – runs           various classes. Although there are 100           enquired whether I would be interested
from London (Brooklands) to Edinburgh            places most are now taken! The London-            in navigating on the rally for Detlef Heyer
and takes three days. It is specifically for      Capetown is also booked up. This allows           a German residing in Ireland. I contacted
vintage and pre-war cars, ie up to 1941. As      modern cars, including 4x4s, with also            Detlef and we agreed to proceed. I advised

                                                                                              expanded into other classes of insurance,
                                                                                              in particular developing a household policy
                                                                                              offering £5,000-worth of cover, free of
                                                                                              charge, for car parts and accessories kept
                                                                                              in the property. It also provides specialist
                                                                                              cover for restorers and club officials.
                                                                                                  Speaking at the dinner, Peter said: “70

                                                                                              of our first 300 customers are still insured
           lub insurance panel member          most classic policies had severe mileage       with us and with the support of underwriters
           Peter Best celebrated its 25th      restrictions. Through his work with Volvo,     such as Ecclesiastical we have been able to
           anniversary recently with a         Peter had experience of the insurance          offer the flexibility to tailor policies to our
           gala dinner and a display of        industry and was able to put it to good use    customers’ needs and a stress-free claims
classic cars at the Pontlands Park Hotel       in developing a scheme tailored to MG          response when it has been needed.” As well
near Chelmsford in Essex. Several Club         Car Club members’ needs. In the early          as providing tailored insurance schemes for
Members – and their cars – were invited,       days, Peter’s wife Marian ran the business     the clubs it is involved with, PBIS has given
including Johanna White with her 300S          from their home, but it rapidly expanded       support in other ways – by supplying trophies,
cabriolet, Brenda and Maurice Stapleton,       and soon moved to its own premises, with       taking advertising and through other financial
Angela and Michael Chapman with their          Peter’s full-time involvement from 1991        input. As well as long-standing customers,
SLs and Tina and David Bellamy.                onwards.                                       guests at the dinner included staff members
    There can’t be many insurance                  Peter and Marian’s interest in MGs         – some of whom have been with the company
companies which would be able to hold          goes back a long way. Peter’s first car was     for as long as 15 years – and representatives
such an event – with many of the guests        a 1937 Morris, but Marian’s was a 1932         from the insurance companies with whom
being customers who have been with them        MG J2 – which she still has. Peter now has     PBIS works.
since the beginning. The cars on display       another Morris – a 1932 Minor – as well            At the buffet lunch on the following
included many pre- and post-war MGs, a         as three T-type MGs and a Mercedes-Benz        day, Club Member Angela Chapman led a
graceful Alvis and several Mercedes. The       SLK and a W124 230TE.                          well-deserved vote of thanks to Peter Best
hotel forecourt was filled to overflowing            Peter has been chairman of the             for a splendid occasion.
with these gleaming vehicles and guests        MG Car Club more than once and his                 Now, with 35 personnel split between
enjoyed sparkling wine, Pimms and a            understanding of how such clubs work           offices in Maldon and Kelvedon, PBIS
three-course dinner hosted by a liveried       soon led him to develop insurance schemes      strives to maintain the level of customer
toastmaster.                                   for other one-make clubs and specialist        service and competitive premiums that
    After the dinner, Peter Best himself       vehicles such as 4 x 4s. The PBIS specialist   enabled it to have a splendid 25th birthday
explained how it all started when he and       Mercedes-Benz Club policy was launched         party with many of its original customers.
fellow MG Car Club members could not           in 1992 and several others have followed,      Call 01621 840400 or 01376 573033, or log
find the insurance cover they needed –          including Morgan, British cars generally,      on to to
they used their cars a lot and in those days   Volvo, Saab and BMW. The company also          find out more about Peter Best Insurance.

E220 CDI Sport                                 managed to pack in very large loads and        re-fuel, so I turned off the M5 and headed
This new estate from Mercedes-Benz is          at times piled more onto the roof rack, but    for The Greenway in Shurdington just out
quite a looker, a great improvement on         now many city dwellers with holiday homes      side of Cheltenham, an Elizabethan manor
years passed. Gone is that square look         seem to use these large load-carrying          house hotel with a fine restaurant. Then I
and, most of all, gone is that slight, echo-   vehicles for their weekends away. They         rejoined the M5 and continued my drive to
type drumming we had in the past. I found      pack the rear with every thing possible        Birmingham and later to Stratford-upon-
this new model quite acceptable and a vast     – food, wine plus most of the children’s       Avon, my stop for the night.
improvement on previous models, but are        needs, so times have changed and sales of
estates now as comfortable and as silent as    estates I am told are growing each year.       A sunny start
saloon cars? The answer is yes.                Like all new cars you can spend several        A sunny morning made me think how this
    In years gone by, estates always seemed    thousand pounds adding accessories, but        car could take me to the south of France
to be driven by antique dealers. They          do we need them?                               with enough storage space to carry many
                                                                                              months’ luggage and a large family, but alas
                                               Small engine                                   I was on my way home, although looking
                                               On entering the car you notice the smart       forward to the drive. Since the start of my
                                               interior – it is plush, well equipped and      trip I had not found any problems – good
                                               the seating cannot be faulted. Now to the      positive steering, smooth gear changes and
                                               power unit and how it drives. For a change     ample power when wishing to overtake. If
                                               I asked for the smaller engine and settled     I had to nit-pick, and this I could say about
                                               for this sporty, nippy four-cylinder and,      most new cars, over the past few years door
                                               believe me, it is nippy considering the size   pillars and screen pillars have increased in
                                               of the car. At first I was concerned this       size. I know this improves the strength and
                                               engine would not propel this large estate      stability of the car, but it also cuts down
                                               when loaded, well I need not have feared as    your vision – sometimes these wide pillars
                                               it has hidden horses somewhere under the       block out cyclists, they also give blind
                                               bonnet and drives extremely well. This car     spots for baby carriages or tots when you
                                               would take you a long way in a day without     are reversing. Maybe the manufacturers
                                               having to stop for fuel. Young drivers, with   should pay more attention to this problem.
                                               energy to spare, could drive for long stints   I have to mention the silence inside, the
                                               and cover many hundreds of miles. I am no      only noise was tyre rumble on different
                                               longer able to do that and have to stop and    road services, but that is not the fault of

         •           •
      n these lean times when we are in a        another car was required (desired?).             electrically reclining rear seats. Double
      ‘credit crunch’ it is not a good time to   Whilst browsing the Club website forum           glazing. Soft-close doors and boot. 17-inch
      sell your late model Mercedes as you I saw               Mercedes alloys. Loads of other stuff I’ve no
      watch the residual value plummet.          a post by a fellow Member, N J Burns,            doubt forgotten.
However, it is a great time to buy that          pointing out a W140 S600 V12 advertised               Not many of these exceptional cars
cheap gas-guzzler you know you really            on the Piston heads website. It had a full       around in this condition any more. Reason
want. Whilst the latest big diesel engines       main dealer service history, three owners        for sale is that I no longer need to do the long
are fantastic for the everyday commute to        from new and was in obsidian black (my           London-Leeds commute for which this car
work or general running around, giving           favourite colour) with two-tone grey nappa       was purchased. If you have any questions, or
superb miles per gallon with excellent           leather. The advertisement read:                 would like to arrange a viewing then just give
torque and power, most ‘petrol heads’,               Mercedes S600 (W140), in obsidian            us a ring.
myself included, really hanker after a big       black with two-tone leather interior. 117,000         Well I was very tempted, even though
V8 or V12 engine to waft us along in style.      miles with comprehensive Mercedes-Benz           I think the W140 is not the most attractive
I was in a position whereby my eldest son        service history. Absolutely no expense spared    model S-Class, but the engine and all the
wanted the 190E automatic project I had          and has had everything it’s ever needed          ‘toys’ on this massive car really appealed
bought off Ebay needing a little work, the       (including a brand new automatic gearbox         to me. So a call was made to the advertiser
specification including leather interior,         fitted in the last couple of years by Mercedes-   who explained he had owned the car for
air-conditioning, outside temperature            Benz Hughes of Beaconsfield). This car            over five years and bought it with 60,000 on
gauge, electric driver’s seat with memory,       comes with a huge spec list, including:          the clock. It was originally bought new for
sunroof, four electric windows, ASD etc.         Front and rear parking sensors with audio/       the chairman of Rank Hovis McDougall
Once the work was completed he took a            visual display. Individually adjustable          and was chauffer-driven for the first three
shine to it and it was gone.                     climate control for passenger/driver. Bose       years up to 50,000 miles. It was then sold
    So with a space to fill in the garage         sound system with six-CD changer. Heated,        to a Malcolm Clark who owned a BMW

         •            •
     n the seven months since taking            become effective. This is not entirely
     delivery of our Smart last year we         unexpected as the pipe-run from rear to the
     have now covered nearly 3,000 miles,       front is quite long and uninsulated. Maybe
most of which is accounted for by my daily      this summer I will drop the undertray off
commute to work, a far from optimal             and install some pipe insulation. I found
distance of about four miles.                   that condensation from my breath (even
    The transmission behaviour seems            with the windows open) froze on the
to be improving, though this could be           inside of the windscreen and the mirror.
a combination of the driver learning its        My solution to this problem was to put a
foibles and the ECU dynamically adjusting       fan heater in the cabin about 10 minutes
the control parameters. The slow shifts         before setting off in the morning. This also
can sometimes still be a problem and the        warmed the glass up sufficiently so that the
automatic downshifts can catch one out,         car was de-iced completely prior to hitting
or occur unnecessarily. For example, both       the road.
Jane, my wife, and I have experienced a             When my greengrocer first saw the           reversing the direction of rotation of the
double downshift caused by selecting a          Smart he scoffed that I wouldn’t be able to    washer motor. Very clever, but it meant
lower gear at the precise time the ECU          get the weekly shop and a bag of potatoes      that there was a leak somewhere as the
had already made the same decision but          in the boot. He was soon proved wrong. He      front washers were still working. Further
not implemented it. Living in London            had to eat his words for a second time at      investigation revealed that water was
we are plagued with traffic calming              Christmas when I managed to get a six-foot     pouring out of the rearmost nearside sill
measures and the Smart doesn’t much             Norwegian spruce in the cabin, along with      drain when the rear washer was operated.
like these generally, but on a cold start       a larger than normal load of vegetables,       At this point I gave up and took the car
and heading down our road I frequently          and shut the rear door on the lot!             back to Tony Purslow, the supplying dealer,
experience a completely unnecessary two             The Smart’s deceptive carrying powers      who lent me a new Smart diesel whilst
to one downshift when negotiating the           were useful when I picked up a set of          they looked at the problem and, to give
speed humps, and not because my speed           second-hand alloy wheels, complete with        them credit, they had sorted the problem
has changed perceptibly. Traffic calming         tyres, to be refurbished for my W124.          before I had returned to work, shaking
measures aside, the Smart is excellent for      By moving the passenger seat forward I         after a terrifying journey on the M25 in
general town work, not to mention parking       squeezed all four wheels into the Smart’s      the underpowered loan car. The rear
(obviously), and I find it pretty stable on      luggage compartment.                           washer problem was simply a disconnected
motorways too.                                      The Smart has been back to the dealer      coupling in the offside rear quarter (photo
    I know the snow in London this winter       once under warranty. During the depths of      one), which only required reconnecting
was nothing like as severe as in some other     the winter freeze the rear window washer       (photo two). I’ll know where to look next
parts of the country, but it was certainly      jet lost its power and eventually stopped      time this happens.
bad enough. The Smart was surprisingly          working altogether. I soon discovered that         The next minor irritation is that from
good in the slippery conditions. The            the Smart has a single reservoir which         time-to-time, after locking by means of
Valeo starter-alternator started the engine     services either the front or rear outlets by   the ‘automatic central locking on driving’
instantly, even at sub-zero temperatures,                                                      feature, operation of the passenger door
but I did notice a pronounced squeak of                                                        handle refuses to unlock the central
protest from the belt as the engine started                                                    locking. The only way to let the passenger
to turn. We will see how this complicated                                                      out is to push the console mounted unlock
drive system stands up to the test of                                                          button. I have a feeling that this may be a
time. The engine management system                                                             feature rather than a fault, but have so far
is brilliantly set-up, drivability is superb                                                   been unable to replicate a mechanism that
straight after a cold start, there is no sign                                                  leads to this happening.
of hesitation or cutting out.                                                                      On a particularly wet day whilst
                                                                                               travelling up the M40, with the wipers on
Condensation                                                                                   fast speed, Jane and I became aware of a
When it was particularly cold I did notice                                                     rhythmic knocking, which turned out to be
that the heater took quite some time to                                                        the offside wiper arm striking the A-pillar!

         •            •
             ur SLK came with a glitzy
             modern Pioneer radio and
             boot mounted CD changer – of
             which the previous owner was
very proud. It worked very well and could
even play home-burned MP3 CDs via an
inbuilt CD drive in the head unit. We have
now used the SLK for two mini motoring
breaks and each time the presence of the
CD player in the boot became an annoyance
as it significantly limited the luggage space
and flexibility in loading.
    When I was busy trying to stow our
belongings in the most effective manner,
it dawned on me that the boot floor lining
had been cut away by the installer of the
CD changer. It had to go and a new lining
fitted before they became unavailable.
Similarly, the radio, although functionally    the R170 SLK doesn’t have. The SLK was          the only problem was that the LW and
fine, had very small control buttons which      fitted with two models of the Audio 10           SW bands were disabled. A little research
could not be read from any distance and its    radio/CD, both manufactured by Alpine,          revealed that these bands, amongst other
silver fascia did not, to my mind, go with     the MF2199 (part number A170 820 00             radio features, can be enabled/disabled
the interior décor of the car, so that had     86) which has a detachable front and the        using a Star Diagnostics machine via the
to go too.                                     MF2910 (A170 820 03 86) which doesn’t.          SLK’s 38-pin diagnostic socket (pin 33).
    When the SLK was first released             These radios have four audio power-             Our SLK, being a relatively early model,
the base radio option was a Sony radio/        output stages so are capable of driving four    did not have a connection from the radio
cassette. The base model Mercedes              speakers at normal listening levels without     to the 38-pin socket so a suitable lead
branded radio was an ‘Audio 10’ and these      the need for an additional power amplifier.      was made up and discretely added to the
appeared in different guises from different        Although the Audio 10 is the base           wiring harness. The pin insert required
manufacturers (Alpine and Harman-              model it works well and has all the features    for this is part number MA003 545 48
Becker), initially as a radio/cassette and     we need. It has large, clear controls which     26. When I actually came to fit the radio
then later as a radio/CD.                      are easy to operate – a plus in today’s heavy   it was immediately apparent that it was a
    The CD models are fitted with a D2B         traffic where maximum concentration on           much better fit in the dashboard aperture
optical network interface and can be           the road is essential. Another nice feature     than the Pioneer unit it replaced and by
coupled to an optional CD-changer via          of the Audio 10 is a speed-sensitive volume     comparison was almost flush.
fibre-optic data cables. They also feature      control which automatically increases the           Although there is no line-input
a diagnostic interface and a CAN-bus           radio volume with speed.                        capability on the Audio 10 receivers, there
interface for steering wheel controls, which       The only source I could find that had a      are third party adaptors available (at a
                                               choice of second-hand Audio 10 receivers        price) that connect to the D2B network
                                               in stock was in Germany:          and also external devices to mimic the
                                               com I placed an order for an MF2910 and         CD changer. Whether an I-Pod or the
                                               it arrived in about a week, complete with       impressive MP40, many more titles can
                                               the code card and extraction keys (photo        be stored in considerably smaller space
                                               two). Once the radio was purchased, the         than with a CD-changer. The MP40 unit
                                               owner’s manual was received as an e-mail        is available from Germany and is small
                                               attachment. The proper printed book is          enough to fit the cubby hole in the central
                                               also available from Mercedes and I bought       console in front of the gear lever, which
                                               one from Brentford (part number MA170           I am told is intended for items such as
                                               584 11 97). The radios from        sunglasses. Further information on the
                                               have modified CD software to enable home         MP40 can be found on www.mercedes-
                                               burned CDs to be played. The radio does
                                               not play CDs with audio in MP3 format.              The electrical connection block and
                                               The display is clear in both sunlight and at    D2B interface socket (left) are shown
                                               night (photo one).                              in photo three. Radio connections
                                                   On receipt, I carefully checked the         are detailed in figure one and the
                                               function of all aspects of the radio and        accompanying table.

         •           •
       Anglia – North
Drive it Day navigation run
The afternoon of Sunday April 25 started quite dull and chilly in
the wilds of Norfolk. The rain in the morning put some off coming
on the navigation run around north Norfolk. However, three cars
met at the visitors centre at Sandringham ready to enjoy the run.
They were Simon Harrison in his silver E320 coupé, Robin Hunter
with his black SLK230 and myself with the red 350SL. All of us had
our top class navigators, namely our wives or partners, to keep us
on the right track. Following a ‘tulip’ style route book, we set off
via Sherborne towards Bircham. There we stopped at Bircham
Windmill for a look around and some refreshment. There has
been a mill here since the 18th century and the present one, built
in 1846, was in use until 1930. Restoration was completed in 1991.
    From there we proceeded to Thornham, via Stanhoe, North
Creek and, after passing the back gate of Holkham Hall, we
arrived at Wells. By now the sun had come out and it was a
very pleasant run along the coast road through Holkham, the
Burnhams, Brancaster and into the car park at the Orange
Tree at Thornham for a refreshing drink. Although, due to the          Invitation
weather, only a few set out it was an enjoyable afternoon with the     On Sunday, July 11 some of the residents of Barnack, near
opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones.                Peterborough, are opening their gardens to raise funds to
                                                                       refurbish the village cricket pavilion. I have been invited to ask
Norfolk venues                                                         if some Members would like to bring their classic cars along to
We are aware that, due to the large area of the Anglia – North         add extra interest. Please consider this and if you fancy a wander
Region, many in the east are not able to attend our pub meetings       around other people’s gardens, as well as a cup of tea and sticky
and miss out on meeting with fellow Members. I would like to           bun, why not come along? Let me know if you are interested.
arrange for some weekend meetings at suitable pubs in Norfolk
and would be grateful if any of you could suggest possible venues.     Pub meetings
Please let me have your ideas.                                         Can we urge you to support the monthly pub meeting as attendance
                                                                       has dwindled lately. It is held on the second Tuesday of the month
Headline: Future events                                                at The Plough, Main Street, Great Casterton, Stamford PE9 4AA
We have two events planned for the summer – Maxey Car Show             at 7.30pm.
near Peterborough on August 14 and the Skylark Country Show
at March on September 4-5. 2009 was the first time we attended          And finally…
Maxey as a Club and we generated a lot of interest as well as two      I am updating my contact list of the Anglia – North Members
new Members. The Skylark Country Show is new to us but promises        and would be grateful if you would e-mail me so I have an up to
to be a good day out. As well as classic and vintage vehicles, it      date e-mail address or, alternatively, a phone call to confirm your
features steam engines, a fairground, trade stands and a car boot      number. This will enable me to contact you with event and other
sale, as well as entertainment in the main ring. Why not make this a   regional matters. My contact details are dave.king@mercedes-
family day out? Both these shows are free to enter so please let me or 01733 753922.
have your names so I can arrange the size of stand needed.                                                                      Dave King

       Anglia – South

Colne Valley Railway’s Vintage Vehicle Rally
– Sunday April 25
This was our first time at Colne Valley Railway’s Vintage Vehicle
Rally, held over the weekend of 24 and 25 April. We were there on
the Sunday only, which coincided with the FBHVC’s ‘Drive it Day’.
    15 cars were lined up at the White Hart, Great Yeldham,
where some of us had breakfast, and it was from this point we          who won some wine, and Janet Levy, who took home a calla lily.
set off for the short drive to the Colne Valley Railway at nearby      Many thanks to all those who came along to support this event.
Castle Hedingham.
    In addition to classic cars, trains, commercial vehicles, buses,   Ipswich-Felixstowe Historic Vehicle Run – May 2
engines, tractors, organs and a small vintage funfair were also on     The Ipswich Transport Museum has been running this event for
display. Alas the weather was not kind during the morning which        almost 40 years. In 1971 they had fewer than 60 cars. Today there
kept the spectators away, a pity as this small railway did much to     are nearer 600 – and all strength to the museum for this wonderful
make us welcome, what with free rides on the steam trains as well      day out, not only for entrants but spectators too.
as a free sandwich lunch for the drivers, a dedicated parking space        Vehicles start to arrive in Christchurch Park Ipswich from
for Club Members and a special mention in the programme.               9.00am and the mayor starts them off at 11.30am. From 12.30pm
    We organised a raffle for Help for Heroes, the Club’s adopted       the first of the vehicles arrive and are parked along the whole
charity. and raised £28. The two winners were Raymond Lowes,           length of the promenade at Felixstowe.

•   •
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