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    Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s I worked in a European car dealership called Foreign Motors. The name seems quaint now, but back then most people bought Detroit iron because it just seemed like you got more for your money. It seemed foolish to pay more for a six-cylinder Mercedes when you could get a Cadillac with an enormous V8 engine and automatic transmission for a whole lot less.

    / #Mercedes-Benz-300SEL-6.3-W109 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SEL-6.3 / #Mercedes-Benz-W109 / #Mercedes-Benz / #1967 / #1968

    Then in 1968 came the game changer: the #300-SEL-6.3 , the fastest four-door sedan in the world. It’s hard to convey the impact this vehicle had on the world when it was introduced. Horsepower and torque were something Americans understood. Even Hot Rod ran a feature on the Mercedes. Car & Driver had drag-racing superstar Don Garlits look it over in an article entitled Superman Meets Super Machine. I still have my copy from October 1969.

    I remember one particular detail in the engine compartment that seemed to stump Garlits, an inner fender panel switch. Then it dawned on him: it was there for safety reasons. It turned off the auxiliary cooling fans when you raised the hood, so you didn’t lose a finger. That was a small example of the level of engineering in this Q-ship.

    There’s no need to re-tell the story of how the car came about. Everyone knows that engineer Erich Waxenberger took the V8 from the Mercedes 600 and shoehorned it into the W108/W109 platform. Kind of like what John DeLorean did when he created the Pontiac GTO by putting the 389ci V8 into an intermediate-sized Le Mans body. Or ‘Le Manz’ as they say here.
    The impact the SEL 6.3 had on me as a 19-year-old was unbelievable. Sure, there were bigger American V8s, but they didn’t have overhead cams, fuel injection, air suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, as well as all the amenities American luxury cars had such as sunroof, air-conditioning, acres of wood trim and a leather interior.

    It took me 40 years, but I finally got one. Mine was a 1968 with over 300,000 miles on it. The previous owner had died and the son just wanted to get rid of the car. I offered him $5500 cash and he took it. That was over ten years ago. Since then, I’ve put another 25,000 miles on the Merc and have had relatively few problems.

    Then it started to go downhill. First off, the air suspension was starting to leak overnight and it was taking longer and longer for the air compressor to raise it back up. Another bad sign was that the warning light on the dash was staying on, indicating that the air compressor could not maintain normal driving pressure.

    I know these cars are supposed to be a nightmare to work on, but the good news is that it’s a mechanical nightmare and not an electronic one. First thing we did was to take off the engine-driven air compressor, thinking we could replace it with an electric one. Then we realised this wouldn’t work because it drives the power steering. We then proceeded to take apart the compressor, figuring we would replace the valves and the piston rings. That didn’t work either, because once we got the piston out we found there were no rings that were commercially available. Before admitting defeat, I then used the greatest tool in my #Mercedes -Benz tool box: the Classic Center.

    I often hear people complain about the prices of classic parts, but only before they start their search, not after. After nearly a week of calling breaker’s yards and various piston-ring manufacturers, trying to find something that worked for a car of which they made only 6526, I finally called the Classic Center.

    I said, I’ve got a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 and I need an air compressor for the suspension. After I’d had seven days of hearing ‘Good luck finding one of those’, and ‘Yeah, right’, click, the voice on the other end said, ‘Do you want rebuilt or new old stock?’ ‘New old stock’, I said. ‘Next day delivery OK?’ And I had it the next day. Was it expensive? Yes. But not as expensive as a lost week, searching high and low.

    ‘THE SWITCH TURNED OFF THE AUXILIARY COOLING FANS WHEN YOU RAISED THE HOOD, SO YOU DIDN’T LOSE A FINGER’

    I then realised I could make my 50-year-old car not quite brand new but pretty damn close. I ordered new rubber bladders for the suspension plus bushes, kingpins and everything else to make it last another 50 years. If this sounds like an ad for Mercedes, it’s not. Jaguar, Lamborghini, Ferrari and other such brands are now all doing the same thing. I’ve had too many close calls caused by using replacement parts made by someone other than the original manufacturer. Most recently a front tyre on a 4500lb Duesenberg blew out at 70mph, when the replacement inner tube disintegrated with less than 300 miles on it. The box it came in looked identical to those I had purchased for years from a brand-name manufacturer, except these ones were made – well, you can guess where.
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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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    Living the dream in a #Mercedes on the Monte / #1955-Mercedes-Benz-220a / #1955-Mercedes-Benz-220a-W180 / #1955 / #Mercedes-Benz-220a / #Mercedes-Benz-220a-W180 / #Mercedes-Benz-W180 / #Mercedes-Benz-Ponton / #Mercedes-Benz / #Automobile-Club-de-Monaco

    As a 32 year old, I have friends who are preoccupied with the latest shiny offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. But here in Northern Ireland we are steeped in a motor sport heritage that’s the envy of many in the motoring world, and when I was growing up, not too far from Dundrod, I was told of the 1955 Tourist Trophy by my grandfather, who was a spectator. Images of it captivated me as a boy, and in 2015 I finally decided to stop just thinking about historic racing and to actually do something about it.

    I bought a #1955-Mercedes-Benz-220a – chosen because it is eligible for many events in Europe – unseen from Tasmania via the internet. To my huge relief, it arrived safely and in working order! Then, having researched many historic events in order to choose one that would be suitable for a beginner, I took the not-very-sensible option of diving straight into the deep end with the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique.

    In my naïvety I imagined driving the beautiful roads of Southern France, sipping wine, eating great food and enjoying a good night’s sleep in plush hotels. This thought did not last long, as when I spoke to anyone in motor sport they all had the same response: laughter followed by ‘Good luck!’

    The day before the start from Paisley, our car had no front end and the engine was in bits due to problems with the fuel line and electrics. That co-driver Gary Greenberg and I even made it from Belfast to Glasgow was a victory; everything else would be a bonus! The reception in Paisley was truly fantastic and the realisation hit me that I was at last fulfilling my boyhood dream of a Monte Carlo start.

    When we crossed the Channel into France, panic began to set in as I realised that this was a serious event. Column-shift selector issues in Calais meant that we had no reverse gear, and the roadbook might as well have been written in hieroglyphics.

    The Automobile-Club-de-Monaco officials kindly explained what I had done wrong by passing every Control, but we soon got the hang of it. The good night’s sleep I had hoped for was replaced by two back-to-back days of no sleep and hard driving, including during the night, when temperatures dropped below freezing and tiredness was a constant threat. Our car was pushed to the limits on the demanding roads.

    The fuel-line issue we had before the start recurred on day four, meaning we spent most of it in a supermarket car park covered in petrol. This cost us dearly and we remained at the rear of the field – which meant we had no time to stop and fix issues, because the Time Controls were closing. The stress of continually watching the clock to maintain average speeds was taxing, but eventually we reached #Monte-Carlo , where the sight of the marina made it all worthwhile.

    We had just a two-hour break before the final stage, which started at 8pm and ran until 5am: the infamous Col de Turini. We were warned that it started as dry tarmac but quickly turned to ice, snow and then tarmac again, and there had already been crashes. We came to the decision that you only live once, and went for it.

    The hours in the hills were the most thrilling, exciting and scary of my life, but we did it and made it back over the finishing ramp. It was also our best result of the event, in terms of points. Standing in the middle of Monte Carlo, on the finishing ramp of the rally with the Automobile Club de Monaco medal in your hand, has to be one of the most special feelings you can have.

    Some people might not rate historic rallying because it doesn’t involve the sheer speed of modern rallies, but it is much more than that. It’s an endurance event where crew and car must work together over several days to make the finish. The roads are demanding, stress high, competition fierce – and the reward when you make it to the end is pure and utter joy. ‏ — at Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
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    Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 After being enchanted by the mere sight of it at the Ring, Duff gets to drive Senna’s Cosworth at Nardo

    / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-Evolution-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-Evolution / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz /

    Driver’s log
    Date acquired May 2012
    Total mileage 159,661
    Mileage this month 0
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month n/a

    You’ve seen this car Before ,most recently back in – it’ s the 190E that #Ayrton-Senna drove to victory in the inaugural race at the ‘new’ Nürburgring in 1984. As such, it’s probably the coolest car in #Mercedes-Benz-Classic ’s 900-strong collection.

    Back in May I couldn’t actually drive it as it had been parked in a museum for a decade. But with the 30th anniversary of the famous race coming up, MB Classic got it running again. And, at the Nardo test track in Italy, I finally got behind the wheel.

    The restoration was purely mechanical, so the cabin felt pretty much exactly as Senna left it, complete with 1984 race harnesses and even the original fire extinguisher bottle. The engine was in rude health: happier to rev than my 2.5’s and pulling keenly through the shorter ‘sprint’ gearing the 20 identical race cars were given. An indicated 100mph on Nardo’s high-speed bowl translated to 6000rpm in fifth. Not bad for an irreplaceable museum exhibit.

    The race cars were lowered and had firmer springs, and even on Nardo’s super-smooth tarmac, Senna’s 190 felt pretty edgy. But the steering was standard and the gearshift action of the dogleg as bad as on every other ‘ #Mercedes-Benz-190E-Cosworth ’ 190.

    From behind the wheel it didn’t feel like a racer, not least as it’s still got a sunroof and even a radio-cassette.

    But it did feel very special. #Mercedes also laid on other significant 190es, including one of the cars that set the still-unbeaten 50,000kmspeed record at Nardo in 1983 (it took eight days, the average being 154mph, including pit stops), plus an immaculate last-off-the-line 2.6 with just 300km on the clock. Only the lack of angels told me I hadn’t died and gone to heaven.
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    / #2019-Mercedes-AMG-GT-4-Door-Coupe / #Mercedes-AMG-GT / #Mercedes-AMG / #2019 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-AMG-GT-4-Door / #Mercedes-AMG-GT63-S-4Matic+ / #Mercedes-AMG-GT63-4Matic+ /

    If you’re the kind of person who likes truly unique fast cars and procreation, your options can be limited when it comes to combining your two passions. Yes, you can get M cars, RS cars, and AMGs, but they’re all faster versions of already existing cars. Maybe you want something that was designed from the off as a fast car and adapted to suit your needs, not a slow car turned fast. You’re in luck with the new #Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe then. I’m a fan, and evidently I’m not alone.

    The 2019 #Mercedes -AMG GT 4-Door Coupe Is How You Haul The Kids To School With 630 HP

    Around these parts, we are big fans of the Mercedes-AMG GT, because we have eyes and ears and utter
    Here at Geneva, the shiny Merc is drawing quite a crowd. So much of one, in fact, that even getting near the damn thing is difficult. The 63 and 63S were swarmed with people, so much so that getting any semblance of clean picture or even a look at them was never going to happen. Cameras, cameraphones, videographers, people just gawping all surrounded them and never seemed to leave a gap for new spectators to join in.

    The smaller engined inline-six hybrid 53 was tucked a little further away and wasn’t quite as busy, but as the pictures should show, getting a clean shot wasn’t going to happen.

    This dude didn’t enjoy having his picture taken, but if he was going to hog the hot seat...

    If you can’t beat them, join them, and all that. So I decided to stand in the way and have a good look around.
    The rear of the car, in white, is a bit awkward — it absorbs the show’s light and it can look flat form some angles. The front is hugely imposing and will be something you’ll get out of the way of on the motorway, that’s for sure.

    Inside it’s standard Mercedes. Lots of screens, lots of tech, lots of pretty. But also full of people who were selectively deaf to the phrase “excuse me.” The #AMG #GT-Four-Door is now high on my list of things to drive.

    What I did learn, other than the fact that pretty much everyone wants to stare at every small detail of the thing, is that the doors are amazingly light. A good thing.
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    £ One to buy #1965 / #Mercedes-Benz-190 / #Mercedes-Benz-190-W110 / #1965-Mercedes-Benz-190-W110 / #1965-Mercedes-Benz-190 / #Mercedes-Benz-W110 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-Fintail / #Fintail

    Cream and red is an excellent colour combination for a classic #Mercedes – and while this might be a base spec 190, it’s no less charming for it.

    Free from much of the chrome trimming of the more upmarket Fintails, this 190 is if anything better for its simplicity. Finished in Ivory and with red trim echoing the traditional German racing colours, it looks the part – and a pleasant change from the black and grey which seem to dominate on these models. There’s no rust, and the chrome is all in good condition. The original hubcaps are present and match the body – and it’s nice to see that previous owners haven’t succumbed to the temptation of whitewall tyres.

    The interior is relatively sparse as a base spec car, but this doesn’t mean it’s lacking in comforts. None of the plastics on the dash are cracked, which suggests to us that there has been a replacement. The steering wheel however is delightfully patinated – several hairline cracks and the rim is split in a number of places. Yet this doesn’t detract – if anything, a small sign of use endears us to the car and makes it feel more like a used and loved example than a museum piece. The seats were recoloured just prior to our test, and the shade of red was a little sudden for our liking. This will settle with time and use though, and the interior certainly lives up to the rest. From cold it starts well, settling into a smooth idle. There’s little evidence of recent mechanical work, and while there are invoices in the history file we can’t translate from Japanese. It has however been recently serviced and inspected by experienced mechanics, and we had no concerns about how it felt on test. There was no evidence of leaking fluids, and it ran like a new example might.

    The gearbox is a delight. Column mounted changes are far nicer than floor mounted gearboxes of this era, and this car is no exception – it takes car on the way from second into third but barring that the gearbox is one of the nicest we’ve used. The clutch bites fairly high, and it’s easy to make rapid progress. Despite the lack of power steering it’s not a heavy car to drive, and it’s easy to place on the road even as left hand drive. There was a little hesitation early in our test under load at low revs, but this cleared with use and we believe was owing to a period of having been started and moved while cold. It wouldn’t deter us from purchase given how rapidly it cleared. The history file is relatively small, and mostly in Japanese. It is believed that the car was imported from Japan into Britain in 2015, though as we cannot read Japanese we couldn’t understand the limited history file. It’s not known where the car was prior to its time in Japan, though with the help of Mercedes Benz a potential owner may be able to establish its original country of sale.

    CONCLUSION

    While it’s not the cheapest Fintail on the planet, it’s certainly one of the nicest, and it drives just as well as it looks. In years to come, cars like this will appreciate – we’ll wish we’d bought them while they were affordable. This car has clearly been cherished – and while we can’t trace its history prior to its time in Japan the condition speaks for itself. Don’t worry about the lack of cylinders either – it’s more than pokey enough and will definitely put a smile on your face.

    Above: Seats have been recoloured recently.

    BUY THIS CAR FROM: Spurr Cars, Old Wheel Farm, Rowell Lane, Loxley, Sheffield S6 6SD 0114 2315000 www.americancarsuk.com

    "Having been recently serviced, it ran like a new example."
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    ‘THE PERFECT MODERN CLASSIC FOR EVERYONE’ / #Mercedes-Benz-W124 / #Mercedes-Benz-230TE / #Mercedes-Benz-230TE-S124 / #Mercedes-Benz-S124 / #Mercedes-Benz

    Sounds like a high claim for a low powered estate, but the #Mercedes - Benz W124 230TE has a unique charm.

    While Modern Classics continues its love-in for anything made by AMG (the real AMG, not the trim-level AMG we have today), it's a fact that most enthusiasts are more than happy to take their Mercedes-Benzes in a more vanilla form. Take the W124 that Nathan grappled with on page 48. What that young lad really needs is a more sensible, classless, unadorned Benz. What we all need, in short, is a 230TE.

    Really? Yes. Think about it for a second. On the mean, moody and pockmarked streets of Britain, a stiffly-sprung saloon with more power than grip is not really what you need. Well, maybe it is, but in the interests of long-term happiness and sanity, think how much more pleasure you’re going to get from a 136bhp 230TE estate.

    I’ve owned a 230TE before. Its honesty and cheapness were an instant draw. As the miles piled up it really got under my skin, proving yet again the old adage that the best Mercedes-Benz is one that’s built to fulfil a duty, not to try and excite you. So, with that out of the way, here’s why the 230TE is great and why you won't regret buying one. For a start, they’re still cheap. While pretty much any 190 (W201) is starting to fly, four-cylinder W124s are still sensible money. Less than £3000 will get you behind the wheel of a solid, storied and well looked-after example of a 230TE that’ll double as a daily or show queen.

    Your chosen W124 will be satisfying to drive and to own. At speed, it will be refined. At idle, it will be near-silent. And as long as you avoid the manual gearbox, it will always make smooth progress. Inside, you will enjoy an interior from the best days of Mercedes-Benz build quality. It’s roomy in the rear, and most TEs have rearward-facing third-row seats. Who needs a boxy people carrier? Up front, you get an over-wide driver’s seat that’s springy and infinitely adjustable, and you sit behind a wheel that’s far too large. The steering is light and precise, and the brakes strong, progressive and modern. The visibility is fantastic and the boot is enormous.

    In short, it really is the perfect modern classic for everyone. Problems? There aren’t many. Despite being so well made, they’re prone to rust around the front wings, jacking points and foot wells. You’ll be lucky to find one with a cloth interior that doesn’t have holes worn into the driver’s seat. There’s also the spectre of electrical issues affecting the early facelift models – and that’s caused by the diabolical use of bio-degradable wiring looms. When they do go wrong, parts supply is plentiful, and everything is available off the shelf from Mercedes- Benz. Beware though: for some mundane Items Mercedes-Benz will charge like a wounded rhino, so do shop around.

    Would I buy one? Definitely. Would I recommend you get one? Absolutely. A 300TD might be more economical, but it costs so much more to buy that you’ll probably never recoup the additional outlay. Besides, who wants diesel these days? As for the six-cylinder 300TE – nice, but not that much quicker, and a whole lot less economical. For once, the sweet spot in the range would also appear to be the cheapest. For now.
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    CAR: #Mercedes-Benz-200 / #Mercedes-Benz-200-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #1981-Mercedes-Benz-200-W123 / #1981 / #Mercedes-Benz-M102

    Year of manufacture 1981
    Recorded mileage 108,432km
    Asking price £10,500 Vendor W123 World, Cwmbwrla,
    Swansea: tel; 07714 089936; 01792 846888

    WHEN IT WAS NEW

    Price £8700 1981 UK
    Max power 109bhp
    Max torque 121lb ft
    0-60mph 14 secs
    Top speed 100mph
    Mpg 22-30


    The first owner of this left-hand-drive, German-supplied W123 was a senior manager at Mercedes in Stuttgart who wanted a car with as few electrical accessories as possible so that he could look after it himself in his retirement. Hence his choice of a manual 200 with carburettor engine, plus manual windows and sunroof, and no central locking. The only luxury he allowed himself was a good-quality Becker radio. It has a catalyser on the exhaust (for German cities) and still comes with its winter tyres.

    Specialist W123 World has recently recommissioned the car, replacing all of the brake calipers and hoses, radiator, battery and exhaust, and overhauled the carburettor. The previous owner was in Ireland and it has Irish plates, although it is still registered in Germany. There is no evidence of the structure ever having had paint or panelwork, and it has clearly led a quiet life. The bumpers and rubbing strips are in fine condition; the door shuts are crisp, plus the glass and light lenses are scratch-free all round.

    Pop the hefty bonnet and there are no problems with the hinges that W123s can suffer: it self props on its first catch and can go vertical for servicing. The bay is beautifully detailed, with all of the correct factory stickers. The engine is dry and leak-free, with oil and water to the correct levels. You can still see splashes of Waxoyl inside the wings.

    Inside, the blue seats with cloth inserts are unmarked and the driver’s seat base feels firm (they can sag). There’s no centre armrest, but there are factory overmats. Plus, the tool and first-aid kits are unopened.

    It looks smart on its steel wheels with body-coloured hubcaps and, while the quad circular lamps suggest an early car, it runs the later crossflow M102 ‘four’, so it feels surprisingly eager with the manual gearbox.

    It would be a miserable thing without power steering, but luckily the 200 has it and is a pleasant, undemanding drive with a stable tickover hot or cold and the usual full-deflection oil pressure under way. The steering is bereft of the straight-ahead play that can mar these cars, and the way the powerful brakes pull up straight reflects the work they’ve had.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Great factory body and paint
    INTERIOR Original and unmarked
    MECHANICALS Fully refurbished where necessary: just needs using

    VALUE

    For Must be one of the best unrestored W123s around
    Against Unexciting but easy-to-live-with specification

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    This 200 is as straight and finely preserved as you could reasonably expect a near-40-year-old car to be
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