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    Light restoration required

    CAR: #1967-Mercedes-Benz-230 / 1967 / #Mercedes-Benz-230 / #Mercedes-Benz / #1967-Mercedes-Benz-230-Fintail / #Fintail / #W110 / #1967-Mercedes-Benz-230-W110 / #Mercedes-Benz-230-W110 / #Mercedes-Benz-W110 / 1967

    OWNER: Massimo Delbo

    I believe that, no matter how old you are, a day when you learn something is a good one. So I should have been very happy when I discovered something I hadn’t known before about my Fintail. But truth is that, instead, my feelings are a little mixed.

    Since I bought the car as a restoration project in February 2005, and during the following years of work, I’ve been puzzledby the right rear light because the cluster - a single unit - had a reversing-light lens that was a very strange amber colour. It was too dark to be the ‘right’ white that was shining on the left side, and too orange to be the all-red American-spec unit, the good quality of the part and the way it was moulded looked very original, though, so I didn’t think it was a cheap spare part bought by the previous owner some time in the past.

    Looking at the inside of the lens, I could see that the amber colour was not the result of fading by sunlight or heat because the hidden internal corners were all the same shade. Unable to solve the mystery, and not liking the mismatched effect of the two lights, I looked for a new part with a normal white reversing light.

    This process was neither easy nor fast, because I didn’t want a brand new cluster, which would look too shiny compared with the left side’s original one. I had to find a used, but not too-used, part.

    I bought, for almost no money, five old rear lights, but all of them were too tired to look good. In trying to resurrect one of them I also learned that you can’t separate the chromed frame from the lens, because they are thermally attached. So for a good 10 years I’ve lived with the wrong rear light.

    Then, a few days before Christmas, I found the correct piece, in the right condition, from a dismantled Fintail. there was just time to clean the new part, install it and take a picture before tucking the car away for winter. It was lucky that I kept the old one, because I discovered that I’d been wrong and that ‘meddling without knowing’ is the worst thing to do.

    What I’ve discovered is that the rear lights of cars sold in France had to conform to a unique French law. We all know that for a few decades front lights had to be yellow, but very few seem to be aware that for two years only, 1966-1967, the right-hand reversing light had to be of an amber colour. For Mercedes-Benz, this applied to Pagodas, Fintails and S-series saloons and coupes.

    So now I don’t know what to do. the ‘originality is a must’ side of me says to refit the historically correct one. My aesthetic side prefers to keep the wrong one I have just installed, which looks right to 99% of the population. I have always kept the 230 as original as possible, so I can guess what the final decision will be, but I wonder why, after 13 years of research, I couldn’t have found this out two weeks before I bought the light. I would have been less tempted to change it - and I’d have €200 more in my account...

    Clockwise from top: Mercedes as saved from the scrapyard; ‘correct’ (amber) and ‘incorrect’ (white) reversing lights; how the 1967-Mercedes-Benz-230-Fintail looks at present - aesthetically right, yet wrong!
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    DALE’S #1971 / #Mercedes-Benz-W114 / #1971-Mercedes-Benz-W114 / #Mercedes-Benz

    Name: Dale Materman
    Job Role: Sales and marketing executive, events coordinator and resident paint nerd.

    I’ve spent an awful lot of time in front of the telly watching endless hours of American car shows with my dad, so that’s where my passion lies. But we don’t live in America and we’ve already got a Crown Victoria on the fleet, so I’ve decided that the Mercedes W114 shares some of the same characterises of the big-old Yank cars I love.

    The car might be German, but the styles I will be drawing from will be from across the Atlantic.

    I’ll be focusing on the stance, styling and overall theme of creating an oldschool show car. Anyone who knows me will know I’m obsessed with paint finishing, so the paint will be pretty special – I’m that guy who’s constantly in the Meguiar’s detailing bay! They guys I’ve entrusted to bring the W114 back to its former glory are Kustom Kolors. No pressure guys, but yours and my reputations rely on this!

    Dale’s going to give his W114 a Yank flavour
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    Sometimes our office car park makes you feel as if you’ve fallen through a hole in time to wind up in the early ’90s and last week two of our project cars provided the perfect retro composition: the shot needed only a monochrome filter adding to look for all the world like the directors’ parking spaces, circa 1992 . Who says you need a De Lorean for time travel...?

    / #Saab-900 / #Saab / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #1992
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    MERCEDES-BENZ 280TE
    RUN BY Graeme Hurst
    OWNED SINCE November 2011
    PREVIOUS REPORT Jan 2017

    / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic / #1982-Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123

    The TE has put some miles under its belt recently, mainly with trips to the Cape coast or the inland Karoo – it being the only ‘dog’ and ‘tow’ car in the fleet, so perfect for weekend adventures. The trouble is, a faulty odometer means that I have no idea how many miles, so have to judge the service intervals by the colour of the oil.

    My mates in the Mercedes-Benz Club are rather horrified by that arrangement, along with the sort of use we give the car. Which highlights a dilemma: the wagon variant of the #W123 is super-rare on South African shores and they’re increasingly coveted by collectors, but ours is very much a working classic in daily use because I simply don’t have the space to keep it for high days and holidays.

    Mind you, as classic daily drivers go, a 123 wagon is perfect for the job, although the maintenance does start to rack up on a car that’s likely covered 300,000km-plus. It’s all been minor stuff, such as a faulty start-inhibitor switch on the gearbox (meaning that the car would only start in neutral) and a weeping power-steering hose. Both were easily sorted by local specialist Allan Ketterer of JFT Motors, who also suggested having the radiator flushed and ‘rodded’ to ensure that the cooling system is in optimum condition. This was after the temperature needle started creeping towards the red on a trip up the west coast last Christmas.

    To be fair, the journey involved towing a trailer with the car four-up in 35ºC heat, but I was conscious that, as a full import, the TE has a standard European-market radiator and not the larger item our locally assembled sedans enjoy. I thought of installing a local version, but wagons were fitted with an oil cooler, so there isn’t space. Ketterer suggested fitting a relay to hardwire the electric fan on whenever the air-conditioning is running; with that and a clear core, the needle is now stable on hot days. Another problem with daily use is the risk of knocks from other cars. Or in our case rather more than just a knock, after the back of the Merc was clipped by a Range Rover at an intersection. Fortunately the impact was directly on the offside tail-light lens, so the metalwork emerged unscathed, but replacing the lens was a reminder of why these cars are increasingly finding their way into cotton-wool-wrapped collections: second-hand estate items are non-existent, and a new lens (in a dusty Stuttgart box that looked to be new-old-stock) cost a whopping R5480 (£322!) from the main agent. Thankfully the guilty party was properly insured, and even still made her yoga class on time. Namaste!

    A true ‘lifestyle’ estate doing what it does best, as the Merc hauls dogs and kayaks to the Palmiet River in Betty’s Bay. Getting hot under the collar on west coast. Altercation with Range Rover proved costly New power-steering hoses cured weeping. ‏ — at South Africa
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    The last affordable #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-R129 / #Mercedes-Benz-R129 / #Mercedes-Benz /

    The rise and rise of Mercedes SLs continues unabated, almost right across the sporty drop-top’s back catalogue. The original 300SLs are largely static in the very expensive bracket, but nearly everything else from the 190SL onwards has seen growing interest of late.

    Even the Nineties-era R129s, which have until now been a kind of entry-level access point to classic SL ownership, are starting to chase after their R107 predecessors – also on the up. The #V12-engined #600SL is leading the way. There aren’t a lot of those to choose from and the best are now topping £20k. But the V8 500SL and all the (cheaper to run) six-pot models are picking up too, with good ones that struggled to make five figures a few years ago starting to trade in the teens.

    After highlighting SLs in one of our ‘To Buy Now’ features almost a year ago we could say we told you so, but the game is still on – the price rises show no sign of letting up yet.
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    Mercedes-Benz W114/W115s in for the long haul

    VALUE 2012 £5500
    VALUE NOW £7250

    / #Mercedes-Benz-W114 / #Mercedes-Benz-W115 / #Paul-Bracq / #Mercedes-Benz-OM615 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #million-mile-engine / #Mercedes-Benz-240D-3.0-W115 / #Mercedes-Benz-240D-W115 / #Mercedes-Benz-240D /

    Have you noticed how cool those boxy Seventies W114/5 Mercs look now? Paul Bracq’s timeless three-box design has suddenly blossomed into a gorgeous classic icon. See one in the metal and it’s lost all those European taxi and middleclass diesel plodder associations and metamorphosed into a close and stylish relative of the R107 SL. The perpendicular lines are so similar, the family resemblance so obvious that I’m surprised we hadn’t seen it before. I remember trying to crowbar my father into buying a 220D in 1971. I told him how the OM615 was nicknamed the ‘million-mile engine’. But he thought they were too suburban and bought a Daimler Sovereign instead. I was right about the longevity though. A Greek taxi driver donated his 4.6-million-kilometre #Mercedes-Benz-220D-W115 to MB’s Museum – the highest-mileage Benz ever.

    Launched in 1968, the six-cylinder W114s and four-cylinder W115s carried on to 1976 with nearly two million built. The 250/280CE two-doors have mushroomed in value but the standard saloons haven’t. A private seller in Safron Walden has a rhd 1973 220 petrol auto in light blue with 80k miles for £8000 while M&M Automotive has a rhd ’1972 220 petrol manual in cream with 11k miles for £9450. Find a cherished or restored car at around £10k and you’ll be paying a tiny fraction of what it would cost to restore one. Even pricier cars are worth considering – the ’1973 220 petrol auto with Edward Hall Classic Mercedes in Buckinghamshire doesn’t feel too expensive at £14,500. These are cool, simple and uncomplicated cars that epitomise the Seventies but have yet to be fully appreciated.
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