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Garage => Test Drive => Topic started by: michaeld on 04 March 2006, 09:22 PM

Title: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 04 March 2006, 09:22 PM
Here's a question I wondered about earlier today.  How did you first come to form your opinion of Mercedes cars?  Why did you decide to get a Mercedes?  Did your parents own one?  A best friend's parents?  How old were you when you first tasted the fruit of Benz?  Did you get one as a means of showing you had "arrived," or did you get one because of its reputation for quality?  Were you late coming into the game (like me)?
I know that you Eurpean guys got to see a LOT more of them than we Americans.  But the question particularly applies to you as well: what was the impression you first had of MB cars, and why do you think you formed the impression you did?

As for me, neither my parents, nor the parents of any of the friends I ever shared a car with ever had a Mercedes.  Didn't get to ride in one in the Army or in College either (except a taxi cab when I was in Germany during Reforger, but no "sparks" from that experience).  Talk about a classic case of growing up deprived!  My impression was that MBz was a rich-man's car, high-snob appeal, with a well-SELF-advertised reputation for quality and class.  I had absolutely NO personal experience from which to draw any kind of meaningful perspective.  I had a chance to pick up a Benz cheap and took it, figuring I'd at least get my money back if it turned out to be a $ pit.

So far, I've marvelled at the build quality.  The wood, the way the doors shut, ride, the zero offset suspension.    I've found it to be almost magical.  As for the longevity of the chassis and powertrain, I STILL haven't truly decided if Mercedes deserve their reputation.  But I like what I see so far. 

I had the rest (Japanese and American cars) and then finally drove a Benz.  I'm wondering about other people's experiences.
Just curious.
Mike
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Denis on 05 March 2006, 12:56 AM
Ah Michaeld

Chilhood souvenirs. When I was ten years old, a friend of my father drove up with a new shiny black 220 SE. Being somewhat small, I remember staring at the fins and thinking that it was like a ship of some sort and then the interior was parchment with HUGE seats and a very bizarre, unique vertical speedometer. When the owner raised the big radiator shell, I could see an engine that was all silver  ;D nothing to do with the iron painted motors in dad's car  >:(
 ... and the doors sounded so solid (like a W116) ;)
I thought : one day, I will buy one of these.

Today, is it any surprise that I want to paint my 350SE in black to go with the parchment interior ?

Denis

Paris, France
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 05 March 2006, 01:30 AM
Michael:

My first Benz experience was, at age 13, a ride in my family doctor's( then new) W111 220SEb Heckflosse in 1962. It was his first Benz, and replaced his 1953 Studebaker Champion. The Doc was something of a surrogate father-figure to me, and many of my childhood lessons - and values - came from him.

When the Doc traded up to a new W108 280SE in 1970, he took me for a ride, then handed me the keys for the return trip. I had just turned 21, had already owned half a dozen or more cars (British, Australian, Japanese, Italian, French), and was impressionable. By the time we got back to the Doc's place, I swore that some day I'd own a Benz. Mind you, I expected to be about 90 before I could afford one!

Eleven years later, the Doc phoned me and offered me his W108 for the "insult" trade-in price offered to him when he went to buy another Benz (a W116 350SE). Not surprisingly, I accepted. I can no longer remember what I paid for it, but it was about one-third of the going price for such a car at that time.

Over the years I've had many other cars: 56 to date - one for every year of my life. Some were business cars, some were hard-yakka utilities ("pick-ups" in NA), some vans (e.g. VW Kombi and similar); European (Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, BMW, VW, Opel, Fiat), American (Studebaker), Japanese (Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, Mitsubishi), British (including Bentley, Jaguar, Riley, Wolseley, Rover, Morris, Austin, Daimler, Armstrong-Siddley), Australian (i.e. American-owned but pretending to be Australian just because they were built here - Holden, Ford, Chrysler/Dodge), and so on.

About three years ago a friend who was moving overseas on very short notice from his employers offered me his W116 280SE at a ridiculously low price (he was desperate and in a hurry). It did need some work, but nothing that couldn't be done easily and affordably. That car is now my daily driver, as I've retired the 108 (at 516,000 miles!) for a suspension rebuild.

Not long after acquiring the 116, I acquired my W112 300SE coupe (a self-indugent birthday present from myself!). He hasn't had much use from me yet, as I've been slowly fixing things (rear axles bushes and a "singing" diff); when he's repaired, he'll wear Historic Car ("Club") plates - as will the 108).

Last year I acquired my W111 220Sb for next to nothing. After rebuilding the seized front brakes and the leaking carbies, he's now on the road on Historic Car plates (as of last Thursday).

To date none of these cars has been a money pit. Yes, I've done some repairs, but they've been easy on the pocketbook - mainly because I have good contacts, and forums such as this one and Ozvets. I've spent far more on repairs and maintenance on other cars than I have on the Benzes.

Compared with all the other cars I've owned and driven (and that must be hundreds) - and I've driven well over two million miles (those distances are all logged, as many of them were in the course of employment - taxis etc., and I'm a pathological record-keeper) - the Benzes stand head and shoulders above the rest in overall satisfaction, driving pleasure, reliability, and affordability.

In recent years I've talked one brother, one sister, two nephews, and about 20 friends into Benzes (secondhand ones) and they, too, have no regrets. My next project is to recondition a W123 as a wedding present for my elder son. (I'm hoping the younger one is not planning to marry soon after the first!).

When the time comes that we're all required to be tattooed on the forehead with the "mark of the beast", I want mine to be the "marque of the Benz".  ::)
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Mforcer on 05 March 2006, 02:22 AM
My first experience with a MB would be with the one I am still driving today. My grand father bought my W116 when I was only just over 1 year old. This was inherited by my father who drove it for about 15 years before I bought it off him. I have memories of siting on the rear arm rest when I was otherwise too small to see out the windows :)
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: John Hubertz on 05 March 2006, 04:49 AM
I came late - a local doctor has a very sick passion for "one-winged angels" (expensive, european cars with serious woes or high mileage).

His collection of 30+ cars were just sitting out at a car lot and a variety of other places - I offered to not just supply parts but drive/diagnose/arrange for repairs.....

I remember when it happened - I was looking into an electrical problem on a 300E - and discovered a thermostatically controlled cooling fan on the side of the fuse block.

Meanwhile, I was driving his 126s (420SEL, 500SE, 560SEL) 107 convertibles frequently (his '72 euro 280SL was incredibly fast), and for a brief while drove a later model SL500 (too complicated - gave me my distaste for the electronics-heavy later models). 

Also, a variety of other cars - he had Lexus, BMWs (even V12 850s) etc etc etc.....   

You couldn't keep the d*mn headlights working on the BMWs because of the computers - the Lexus just didn't have the substance....  Jags and Rovers were put together like children's toys....  but OH those big Mercedes!

So I made my mistakes on his cars, with his money.......   

And then decided to buy a "107 Sedan" (our beloved 116s) to get the best mix of low tech, high style and that Mercedes dignity and vault-like construction.

Well, Doc Coats has moved on to make online poker his new fancy, and I'm stuck with the car habit.  (sigh) 

I'll take it....

J
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 05 March 2006, 03:13 PM
Man these are some interesting stories.  I hope others keep it going.  Some of you folks that don't post very often, perhaps?  You don't have to be a mechanical expert to answer this one!  If you love your Mercedes car, why?  Why did you want one in the first place?  How did your past experiences/perceptions of Mercedes affect the way you think of it today?  And if you got one just because you had a good deal thrown your way, like myself (and Ozbenzhead and John Hubertz, by the sound of it), how has driving the car altered your perception of the three-pointed brand?

And how do those of you who grew up in Mercedes (and perhaps were even conceived in the back seat of one) differ in your attitudes to Mercedes from those of us who stumbled into the cars later in life?
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: alabbasi on 05 March 2006, 08:19 PM
Father owned a 75 250 that he bought new when I was about 2 years old. It was the first car that I remember and loved it to death. It was a bright red w114 model with a manual transmission and air conditioning. It had a radio in the usual location and a tape player that sat under the glove box.

Fond memories, It was the motivator for me buying the 250CE when I was 19. Even then, I know that the 450SEL was the hottest car on the market  :)
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: s class on 08 March 2006, 03:57 AM
I think its in my genes.  Apparently my grandfather bought his first car when he was in his 40's.  He had no interest in cars but believed in buying quality so he did his research and bought a black Ponton.  Later when his son (my father) was about 18 or so he traded it in for a new fintail 220S.  My dad's first car was an opel that lasted about 3 months and he realised that only a Merc would stand up to his requirements.  He then bought a new fintail 200, and owned it at the same time as his dad's finnie.  When I arrived about 8 years later dad was still driving the fintail, by then granddad had bought a new 230.6 (he didn't believe in 4 cyl motors).  It was brown.  I must have been about 3 when dad traded the 200 W110 for a second hand W108 280S.  It was cream over tan leather.  I remember that car vividly - it was the family car for the next 5 years or so.  I used to draw sketches of this car I loved it so much.  Well I guess I was brainwashed - I grew up in my early years getting bedtime stories and posters from Merc brochures and "In aller Welt"

I still remember a bright red W123 sedan poster about A1 size on my bedroom walls.

In 1986 due to "challenged" finances dad traded the W108 for a Ford (the W108's engine was knackered).  I think that was the day I decided I would drive Benz..........

But the affliction isn't that easliy shed so in about 1988 dad bought a 1978 W116 280SE, Silver over tan leather with A/C, sunroof, P/S, central locking, really nice wood.  I remember the wood - in fact I can picture the wood of that W116 and even the W108 in my mind now.  Later a mechanic totalled the W116 during a "test" drive and after a fwe more indifferent cars dad bought a 450SLC in about 1994 or so, followed in the next 10 years by a R107 500SL, W123 280E and a R129 500SL.  He now owns both the 500SL's - something about wind in the hair motoring - just no hare left...

I started with Ford when I was 18 and bought my first Merc - a 1980 W116 280SE, Silver over black, when I was about 22 I think.  Lets just say I loved this car so much it is still my daily driver - I know it intimately and have personally overhauled every major system in it.  Now nearing 500 000km.  Recently I have bought a 1980 450SL (red over parchment), a 1973 W116 280S, a 1992 W140 500SEL (sliver over black).  They're all great cars but they just end up parked because I always end up driving the W116 280SE - my wife says, "but its so old", I say "but its just better than our other cars"................

Cheers, Benz is great, W116 is the greatest. 

PS here in south Africa W116 SEL's and v8's are very very scarce.  I'm looking for a 350SEL or a 6.9.  NO seriously.  if you have a 6.9 here in south Africa with all paperwork in order, I will make you an offer.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: alabbasi on 08 March 2006, 09:24 AM
Get a 6.9 from England and drive it back, they are cheap as dirt over there right now.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 08 March 2006, 02:35 PM
...  and we also drive on the WRONG side of the road.

No, no, no, good friend Styria: Oz, the UK, and all African nations except Egypt - along with Japan, Honk Honk, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Anguilla, Antigua, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brunei, Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Timor, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Singapore, Singapore, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Tuvalu -  drive on the CORRECT - i.e. LEFT! - side of the road.   ;D ;D

Here is a web page giving some history of "side of the road": http://www.i18nguy.com/driver-side.html (http://www.i18nguy.com/driver-side.html).

There was a study conducted back in the '70s, and published in some car mag I read then; it concluded that for right-handed folk (i.e. the majority - of Westerners, at least) having the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car, and the gearstick to the driver's left, was ergonomically more natural. We can blame Henry Ford for putting the steering wheel on the wrong side.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: John Hubertz on 08 March 2006, 03:16 PM
Regarding our South African friend and his frustrated 6.9 hunger, how difficult would it be to pull a car into SA from the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia?  Shipping should be no prob due to the high seaborne traffic, rust would be a non-issue and they are LOADED with high end cars.  If I'm not mistaken a couple of those countries used to be British Proctectorates and should have RHD models?  (Palestine/Syria is one I'm sure of....not confident of others..... Egypt?  No, that was French I think.....hmmmmm)

If I lived in SA I'd be talking to the local authorities about getting a one-time classics waiver and grabbing a Middle Eastern car.

John

PS:  One HUGE advantage to this W116 site is the multinational/multicultural nature.  Worth the price of admission alone to feel a member of the world community this way.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 08 March 2006, 03:21 PM
... One HUGE advantage to this W116 site is the multinational/multicultural nature.  Worth the price of admission alone to feel a member of the world community this way.

John: I couldn't agree more!   Who needs United Nations?  All we need is a world full of W116s!      ;D
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 08 March 2006, 08:18 PM
Ah, yes, but Styria is probably dreaming of a United116 Nation in which the 6.9's have sole "Veto power."

You know what would be entertaining?  If we took the right-hand drive and left-hand drive nations - and then switched one day.  That would be a fine day to stay home and watch the news with the volume turned down so you could enjoy all the accidents happening in your neighborhood and at the same time get the flavor of the nationwide wrecks.

I think that s-class's "it's-in-the-genes" theory has merit.  My family never had Benzes - but when I was a kid all we had big cars made out of real metal, which I think set me up to love these 116s.  I also remember watching movies with my dad - like Sean Connery as "James Bond," - and seeing these fabulous Mercedes in the chase scenes.  Even as a little kid I think there was a little voice that said, "Me want one of those!"  I also vividly remember having a profoundly favorable impression upon seeing those great big grilles and stolid body constructions.  And them hood ornaments?  Can't beat those 3-pointed stars for cool!

None of us beamed to earth from a spaceship (at least, I don't think any of us did).  We all came into our first Benz - our first 116 - with SOME kind of impression.  It's interesting to hear from the rest of you what influenced you in your journey toward w116 heaven.

Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 08 March 2006, 08:50 PM
... You know what would be entertaining?  If we took the right-hand drive and left-hand drive nations - and then switched one day.  That would be a fine day to stay home and watch the news with the volume turned down so you could enjoy all the accidents happening in your neighborhood and at the same time get the flavor of the nationwide wrecks. ...

When Sweden switched from RHD/left-of-road to the opposite, the number of cyclists killed or maimed went through the roof in the first year, as did the number of car wrecks. No doubt it was good news for Volvo (more new car sales), bad news for insurers. Definitely no fun for cyclists; if only they would stick to the white lines ... (isn't that what they're for?).   ;D
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Mforcer on 08 March 2006, 09:14 PM
I remember a comedian once recommending a similar change to driving on the other side of the road. He suggested that the change should be gradual, starting with large trucks before introducing it for cars....  :P ;D
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Peter Anderson on 15 March 2006, 02:23 AM
I came late to the Mercedes party, there were no childhood influences in that direction (my parents always drove the cheapest cars available - which lead to lots of embarrassment when discussing cars with school friends!), and certainly when I was able to own a car I never even thought of going near a Mercedes. I have had more cars than years I have been driving, from the very sensible, like a rock solid Audi 80 tdi, to the ridiculous, like a 80's Lotus Elan SE.

I was just coming to the end of a lease period on a Ford Puma (a small coupe) which was a brilliantly fun car, when I went through one of my 'I'm spending too much money on cars' periods and so I started to look around for something I could own, that was a bit different, but didn't have a monthly payment involved. A friend of mine was driving a '73 280SE (a very early W116 model) that he'd inherited from an aunt that had died, and was looking to shift it on.

So 500 pounds (GBP) later I was the proud owner of a very tatty thistle green metallic Benz. It had an 'orange' tex interior (of a much more simple design than later models), a vinyl roof with big manual webasto sunroof fitted, wind-up windows, and central locking that worked on 3 of the 4 doors. When I first drove it home, it was my first experience of an automatic so I kept braking with my left foot - ouch, and every time I accelerated the power would die!

I took the car to a great local garage, and asked if it was worth doing anything with, and they said it was basically sound, but needed bits and bobs of work to make it useable. I took the plunge, invested a bit and was delighted that I had done, because  the car was amazing once fettled. It steered, stopped, and rode as well if not better than any 'luxury' car I'd driven before. It was lovely to cruise round in, the seats were comfy, the sunroof was great in the summer and with a stereo fitted it did everything I needed it to do. And all my friends started calling me 'The Ambassador' because of it!

I was sold, not really on Mercedes as a brand, but with my W116. At the time I didn't know anything about them and wish I found a resource like this forum at the time. Unfortunately rust caught up with the car and I'm ashamed to admit I junked it, and bought something dull and modern again. But I always hankered for the style that car had and how it made me feel. No other car ever effected me that way, so eventually I came back from the cold and bought another one, this time in a nicer colour (in my eyes anyway!), with a better spec, full history and after spending way way too much restoring it I've found 'Zen' motoring again.

This one's a keeper...
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: John Hubertz on 15 March 2006, 04:24 AM
Peter,

What car do you now have?  Any chance of pictures?

Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 15 March 2006, 09:04 PM
Peter,
Thanks for sharing your story.  It's not too much different from mine.  My family couldn't afford Mercedes cars either.  The first time I ever even went for a ride in one was as a nineteen year old when I briefly dated a girl who had a 450sl.  I guess I wasn't terribly impressed with the car at the time - I was more interested in the girl driving it.  My impression of the car might even be negative - a car that mainly existed for 'snob appeal.' 
Like you, I just kind of walked into a 116.  I knew nothing about chassis numbering systems or anything about Mercedes.  And like you, I just kind of fell in love with my car.  There's just something magnificent about these machines, and that magnificence being made all the more better by being understated.  It's like a secret that only we 116 owners know about.
This forum is not about being rich or ostentatious - if it were I would never be allowed to join.  Rather it's about having a relationship with incredible cars and with people who share a common passion for them.  It's our pleasure to drive cars that less than thirty years ago were among the finest and most expensive on earth.  Thank God they're still the former, but no longer the latter.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Peter Anderson on 16 March 2006, 12:05 AM
John, in the gallery section there are some photos of the resto, folders repairs1, 2 and 3 in the garage section, and a folder called finished in the showroom section of how it looks now!

Good to here there's someone with a story similar to mine, Michaeld. And amen to your last thought!
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: Mforcer on 16 March 2006, 12:31 AM
This forum is not about being rich or ostentatious - if it were I would never be allowed to join.  Rather it's about having a relationship with incredible cars and with people who share a common passion for them.  It's our pleasure to drive cars that less than thirty years ago were among the finest and most expensive on earth.  Thank God they're still the former, but no longer the latter.

I just wanted to quote this so everyone can read it again :) I am so happy to have met so many wonderful people I can now regard as my friends, even if we are on opposite sides of the world. Thank you all!
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 16 March 2006, 12:36 AM
This forum is not about being rich or ostentatious ...

Hear! Hear!

One of my favourite social occupations is reminding people who are under the illusion otherwise that, in fact, their faeces do stink - no matter what kind of car they drive, house they live in, level of income or worldly wealth ... !    :o
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: The Warden on 24 March 2006, 02:09 PM
I guess I'm jumping into this a bit late, but here goes...my story may not be as colorful as that of some others here, but it is certainly unique. ;)

My first exposure to Mercedes was in 1987 or 1988 or so. I was 6 or 7 years old, and saw a then-new W124 driving around on the road. I noticed the wipers/washers on the headlights, and having never seen anything like that before, I thought it was the coolest thing! I told my mom that she should get rid of her Hyundai Excel and buy "the car with the headlight wipers". She laughed at me, told me that Mercedes cars are too expensive to own, and that was that. My family was (and still is) almost too practical; most cars in my family even today are cheap-o econo-boxes.

Fast forward to 1999. I was 18, had my license for about a year by this point, and had blown the engine up on my first car (a 1974 VW Bug) trying to get over Pacheco Pass on a warm day, and my second car (a 1965 Chevy Chevelle; before you jump to conclusions and think it was a muscle car, it was a 4-door granny car with a 230ci inline-6 and a 2(!) speed automatic, given to me by my great-great aunt who had turned 96 and couldn't drive anymore) was nickel-and-diming me to death. Between these two cars, I had come to the conclusion that any gasoline engine that I could afford would be an unreliable pile of junk. Since I had been working as an engineer on my Sea Scout boat for a number of years and felt more confident with diesel engines anyways, I decided to replace the Chevy with something diesel-powered. Thinking at the time that only options in my price range were pickup trucks and similar vehicles, I purchased an International Scout.

The Scout eventually rusted apart (the truck had spent most of its life in Michigan), and I bought a diesel-powered Ford full-sized van. Then, on April 30th, 2001, the unthinkable happened. My uncle, who I had been very close to, suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack at age 50. To say that I was devastated would be a gross understatement; truthfully, I still haven't really recovered. My aunt decided to give me my uncle's truck, knowing that I really liked it and that I had many good memories associated with him and with the truck (he had taught me how to drive a clutch in this truck when I was 15).

So, for about a year, I owned a Ford truck and a Ford van with the same engine (the 6.9l IDI International-Harvester diesel). I finally determined that I couldn't afford to continue this, with both vehicles getting between 13 and 15 mpg and me starving on a college student's budget. Of course, getting rid of the truck was (and is still) unthinkable. I did a cost-benefit analysis, and determined that, if I could find a diesel car that got between 25 and 30 mpg, it would actually be cheaper to own that car and my truck than it would be to own the truck alone. The fuel savings was enough to offset the extra registration, insurance, and maintenance costs (not to mention the convenience of having a second vehicle in case the first one breaks down). I started out looking primarily at Volkswagen, but wasn't too keen on the aluminum cylinder heads or the timing belts, and the Rabbit/Golf and the Jetta were really too small. So, I decided to take a brief look at Mercedes. I was simply amazed to find out how economical it could be to own one if you knew where to get parts, and in spite of the lower fuel economy, I was really happy with the larger interior and the added safety.

So, my mind made up, I started hunting for a Mercedes. Due to traffic concerns, as much as I wanted a manual tranny, I decided that I really needed to stay with the OM617 turbo (a 616 is slow enough to be dangerous around here), and eventually came across a 1985 300D in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I at first thought the car was too far away, but then the owner offered to deduct the cost to fly out there from CA and drive the car back from the purchase price (I think he wanted to see the car go to an enthusiast) of $2500. So, in July 2002, I flew out there and drove the car home. It was only after I got the car home that I discovered how much of a joy it is to own a Mercedes...the car is built like a tank, and was very clearly designed with maintenance and repairs in mind (a big plus for me, since I do all of my own maintenance work). 60,000 miles later (I bought the car ar 223K miles; it's at 282K now), I haven't needed to do any engine work other than routine maintenance and two alternator voltage regulator/contact brush assemblies, and the only major work that's been needed was a wheel bearing replacement and new axleshafts. While I've never dealt with a Mercedes gas engine (for better or worse), this 300D has firmly sold me on Mercedes diesels...to the point where I've successfully talked three of my friends into purchasing one (and, as a direct result, one of these friends is now an apprentice tech at a Mercedes dealership, and has also purchased an additional diesel M-B for his girlfriend...so, with the 116 added, there are now a total of 5 M-B's among us {the 116, my 123, a 126, another 123 300D turbo, and a Euro 300D 4 speed}).

Unfortunately, with my 300D, the years of Texas sun took its toil on the leather seats, to the point where the interior is in very poor shape (and, actually, was in bad shape before I bought the car). Furthermore, there is a fair amount of body damage (some from the previous owner and some from my girlfriend)...and, upon finding out that the front suspension needs to be almost completely rebuilt, I came to the realization that this car would need so much work to be brought back into "acceptable" condition that I cannot financially justify it. So, when I came across this W116 300SD (long story behind that, described in better detail here (http://www.dieselwarden.net/mb/w116.html)), I figured that it would make a good replacement daily driver, and might be a better vehicle to fix up and make nice (although I'm still not certain about this, since I don't know what all it needs yet). I haven't been able to drive the 116 much yet, but other than a front-end shake (that may have just been figured out), she drives so much better as to make the 123 seem flimsy (and I always thought the 123 felt like a bank vault, particularly compared to my mom's Honda Civic).

Calling the 116 a tank would be an understatement...I hope I can financially justify keeping this car long-term; she's very nice :)

Okay, sorry if I bored you all to tears...but there's my story in a nutshell ::)

BTW, the comment about this not being a "rich" thing is dead-on!! It is very ironic that I currently own two Mercedes vehicles, since I am still in college (and still therefore on a VERY tight budget)..."rich" doesn't describe me or my family at all!
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: OzBenzHead on 24 March 2006, 02:43 PM
Quote from: The Warden link=topic=353.msg2659#msg2659 date=1143238149
... "rich" doesn't describe me or my family at all!

Perhaps not financially, but in commonsense I suspect you're a millionaire!

Welcome to the joys ...   ;D
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: The Warden on 24 March 2006, 05:38 PM
Merci beaucoup! 8)
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: s class on 27 March 2006, 11:33 PM
Guys,

Thanks for all your comments about importing 6.9's.  I had concluded that I really only have two options in life :

a) import a 6.9
b) emmigrate to a country that has 6.9's.

My wife veto-ed b), so that leaves me with a).

It is possible, but I don't know as much about the process as I need to.  Costs are high but I am prepared to pay.  As an indication, here i S.A. a tatty 280SE can be bought for about ZAR10,000 approx USD1500.

Shipping costs to bring a car in will be in the region of ZAR40,000 to ZAR50,000, or USD6000 to USD7500.
Taxes, duties and clearance fees could add another ZAR10,000 to ZAR20,000.

So I am looking at up to ZAR70,000 or USD10,000 in costs. 

The other problem is I can't buy a "project".  When the car arrives in South Africa it will be subjected immediately to full roadworthy inspections, so I need to find a car that is basically well sorted. 

What sort of prices would I be facing for this?  I really fancy the rust-free options.

There are freight handling agents in South Africa with experience to help me with this.  Perhaps in April when my work life is a bit less hectic I can look into it. 

Cheers, Ryan
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: 116.025 on 31 March 2006, 05:34 PM
Well, if the Warden came in late, I'm coming in even later ::)  Though this seemed like a good thread on which to introduce myself.  As an avid 116 fan, I've been reading the forum off and on for several months.  It did my heart good to hear someone verbalize that it's not about being rich or ostentatious.  But, back to how the love affair started.  To start at the VERY beginning, I have to go back two generations.  My grandfather was in the US Army, and stationed over in Germany back in the early 60's, when he bought a '62 220Sb (111.012) brand new.  This car, which was totalled following a blow-out, was what started the "Mercedes Fever" (as mom calls it) in my dad.  He talked Mom into us buying Mercedes by convincing her they were the safest cars on the road a few years after I was born in '83.  Skip ahead to 1989, when we bought our 1978 Euro 450SEL.  This was the car I learned to drive on.  I grew to love the 116 about the time I started driving, since I didn't know how to drive stick yet and wasn't driving our 115.  The flush Euro headlights and slim bumpers just set off the car, and it drove like a dream.  Granted, not as fast as the 6.9 we had, but it was disabled before I got my learner's permit, so I never got to taste its power. :'(

So, like some others here, I basically grew up around them, though I do remember the late '70s Chevrolet Malibu my parents had with disdain, since I would knock my noggin on the chrome-wannabe square in the middle of the seat.

I acquired my first 116 in the fall of 2003, a Euro (of course) 280SEL (thus my user name) with a 4-speed manual transmission.

I look forward to both contributing to others journeys with their 116s and getting advice on my own journey!
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 31 March 2006, 08:11 PM
116.025,
Hey that's a clever handle ("Give us your name, personal identification number, and your MBz chassis number - Oh, never mind the meaningless stuff - just give us your MBz chassis number!").  Should I introduce myself from now on as 116.033?

BTW, that .033 part means I'm stuck in the drudgery of a U.S. Market 450SEL.  You know, with the smog junk and the "clown shoes" style 5mph bumpers.  But don't worry about me - I'm not saying, "Don't look at me, I'm hideous!" when I drive.  While I agree that the Euro bumpers ARE better looking, I genuinely think that the people who've poured good money changing US cars into Euro-look cars are crazy (Now, for those of you who have done this, I'm not questioning your intelligence, merely your sanity :-*).  And, while I envy the simplicity and horsepower of Euro engines, good luck getting a Euro car legal in the People's Republic of California! :'(  Since I live in said People's Republic, and have to pass muster with the Smog Commissar, Im actually happy that my car was built for the California market.

It takes all kinds to make up a good forum, and this forum has "all kinds!"  Welcome to the forum, 116.025.  Thanks for sharing your "Benz-lust" story.  You're right; this thread really is a good way to introduce yourself!

BTW(2), I hope you keep on a'postin.  If you need a role model, just take a look at me; I just went over a hundred posts, and they honored me with a second star!  Two stars!  Just imagine; this could be you someday!

Seriously, welcome to the forum.

 
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: 116.025 on 01 April 2006, 07:47 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome, Micheald.  I'll probably get that second star before I know it!

I believe you are correct, styria, since the family '78 Euro 450SEL was 116.033.
Title: Re: When did you get your first taste of Mercedes?
Post by: michaeld on 01 April 2006, 09:59 PM
Styria and 116.025,
Well, THAT'S hardly a fun "W116 personal identification number."  Do I need to keep memorizing a lot more digits to become an individual again?

116.025,
You are most welcome for the welcome!

And hey, all you boys and girls out there in cyberspace land - keep those posts telling us how you go your first real taste of Mercedes-Benz coming!  Like fingerprints, no two Mbz "first love" stories are the same!