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Yay Yay its Friday and that's the day I drive W116

Started by s class, 31 March 2006, 08:58 AM

s class

I have a new rule - none of my cars are allowed to stand for more than 2 weeks at a time.

Since January I have been using a W140 as a daily driver, but today is Friday and FRIDAY IS W116 DAY!

Oh what a blast.  After the W140, what I always notice is :

* The W116 steering wheel is HUGE - but it feels right for the size and menace of the car
* There is more road feel and feedback than in the W140
* It feels a whole lot faster and more immediate
* The W116 seats are better
* I feel like a king in my W116
* The radio in the W116 is crappier
* it doesn't have as much grunt as the W140 (W116 280SE euro VS W140 500SEL euro)

Oh there's a whole lot more.  Problem is I just like Mercedes - too much maybe? Naaah.  Just enough.

Have a good W116 weekend. Ryan in South Africa.

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Friday's come and gone already?  I guess it's time to wash my socks again  ;D!

I can understand how Friday is a day to look forward to anyway, but even more so when you get to ride your 116.  I remember when I was a kid going to the grocery store with my mom, and getting to ride those little mechanical cars that bounced up and down or around and around.  You don't even have to beg your mom for a quarter (or fill in the blank for your relevant currency)!

It is not good for an engine to sit for too long without being run at full operating temp.  But is once a week enough? I have heard that the oil completely drains out of an engine in about four days, necessitating a harder "metal-to-metal" startup.  Maybe I'm mistaken.  But when I was running two cars, I tried to run them both at least twice a week.

Maybe you should have two "Fridays" a week?  Having two Fridays a week seems like a pretty good idea on a lot of levels.  Maybe we can pass a law or something...

s class


I would love to have 2 W116 days, but check this.  In South Africa we have complex income tax laws surrounding use of cars if one has a car allowance.  Basically all a car allowance is is a portion of one's salary designated as a car allowance, and taxed differently to the remainder of the salary. 

Every year I submit to the taxman a log book of all my mileage, fuel and maintenance costs, plus particulars of the vehicle such as its book value.

The laws only cater for situations of using one car which is what most people do.  Basically, the higher the value of the car, and the higher mileage you do in the year, the bigger the tax rebate.  Conversely, when I was driving my W116 as a daily driver, because of its low value, I had to pay in a heavy tax penalty every year.  So I stopped using my W116 as a daily driver because I couldn't afford the tax penalty for that privelidge.  That's right, if one considers all the costs of motoring here, such as fuel, repairs, devaluation and TAX IMPLICATION, the W140 is much cheaper to drive. 

OK so I have several cars.  BEcause the W140 is my highest valued car, it is the car I nominate for tax purposes.  Every time I drive a different car, that is mileage I am not doing on the W140, so my tax rebate is reduced. 

Basically, every day that I use my W116 instead of the W140 costs me about ZAR20 or US$3 in lost tax benefit.

I know this is shocking. 

I have 4 cars.  Basically I cannot afford to use them to do mileage that should be done with the W140.  In other words, I must use the W140 for "necessary" daily trips.  THe other cars are only for ADDITIONAL pleasure mileage. 

But even that costs.  If I take my wife out for a Sunday drive of 200km in my R107 450SL, I know that if I had used the W140 instead, it would have reduced my tax burden by about ZAR70, or US$10. 

Result :
R107 450SL - almost never driven - does about 100km per month.
Ford Escort XR3 (fully restored) - almost never driven - does about 100km per year.
W116 280SE - I can't afford to drive it on Fridays like this, but it is just SOOOOOO NICE that I can't stop myself.  Even so, its down to a few hundred km a month.

I want to get a W108, but I have decided not to because I know I can't drive all these cars. 

So the dream of a different car for each day of the year - hah - not in South Africa.

Cheers, Ryan

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


S class,
It sounds like you qualify for a "crimes committed against w116s" waiver, Ryan.  It also sounds like governments all over the world are intrinsically irrational; I mean, what will they think to regulate next?  ("I have to designate one toilet for personal use; so even though I own three toilets, I can only flush this one or I'll have to pay a heavy tax penalty.").  Does Rod Serling ever show up and start narrating when you're out deciding which car to drive? ;)  In a backhanded way, I'm glad S. Africa has such a system: it means that somewhere out there is at least one country whose tax laws are even more screwed up than the USA's! ;D  Don't worry, Ryan, you get the last laugh: tax day in the USA is less than a fortnight away :'(

Actually yours is a good post, because it gives us non-Afrikaners a little glimpse into S. African life - it's always kind of fascinating to find out how other countries do things differently.

Your posts also open up a good question: if you are keeping a car in storage conditions, how often and how far should you drive it to optimize its maintenance?

s class


The interrelationship between car value, mileage done, fraction of that mileage that is for business purposes and value of car allowance is a complex, non-linear one requiring a pretty clever spreadsheet to calculate one's tax implication, but my above description is enough to give the gist of the matter.

About storage of cars - I really have no idea.  The best experience I have is with my Ford XR3 which has essentially been stored for nearly 10 years now.  For many years I owned this ford and the W116, so the Ford really nly got used when the W116 was off the road for repairs.  In other words, it got used say for 3 or 4 consecutive days once or twice a year.  In between that I at leasst try to get around to starting the engine every second month or so.  The eingine has Duckhams QS 0W50 fully synthetic that has done only about 500km.  When it has been standing for a long time, I remove the sparkplugs and put a teaspoon of oil into each cylinder, and then crank the engine with the coil disconnected until I see oil pressure.  Then I reconnect the coil and fire the engine.  When I do drive it every 6 months or so, it seems to have suffered no ill effects.  The performance and handling is always exactly the same as I remember. 

It helps that is is in a garage with a dusct cover over it, and that I live here in the Johannesburg area.  We are at about 6000 feet altitude.  Bad side - air is thin so cars have a performance loss.  Good side - this place is D - R - Y. 

So rust just doesn't happen.  I have an old W116 bodyshell left from a spares car.  It has been lying in my front garden in the weather for about 4 years now (with glass missing) and I seriously cannot see any more rust than it had 4 years ago. 

Back to the Ford.  Even whejn it hasn't been used for 6 months, there is absolutely no trace of surface rust on the brake disks.  So I assume that holds true for the bits I can't see.  OK I am sensible.  If the car does happen to get wet when I am using it, I make sure I take it out for a drive at the soonest dry weather opportunity to make sure brake componoents etc are dry before I store the car again. 

My R107 I have owned for a year now, and I don't think its ever stood for longer than 3 weeks at a stretch.  Generally, 2 weeks would be the norm. 

I dunno.  Dunno what elese I should do.  I actually don't have time to drive the cars more than this. 

Ryan in South Africa.

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


S Class,
Thanks for returning my post, Ryan.
I have never had more than 2 vehicles in my life - and only once have I ever had two cars at one time (the other experiences were motorcycle + car, with one or the other having ascendancy depending on how cold or wet it was).  I really can't even imagine having four cars (plus that 116 body) laying around.  But I dare say that tax laws that keep one from driving one's 116 are clearly wicked.  If there was ever a legitimate cause to become a revolutionary and seek the overthrow of a government, surely this is it!

I have wanted to visit S. Africa ever since I saw the movie "The God's Must Be Crazy" years ago.  The movie was clever and utterly hillarious, but it also presented snapshots of life and landscape that I found compelling (actually, the movie was set in nearby Botswana, but it was produced by a S. African film company).  Who knows, one of these days I might get there, look you up, and say, "Remember me?  We had an online chat about motor oil way back in '06.  I've come to visit your country.  I brought my own toothbrush, but you'll have to feed me and give me a place to sleep" (who knows: maybe you won't toss me on my ear if I say, "The password is w116")? ;)

Good luck juggling all those cars.  At least they won't rust out between drives!

s class


W116 is a phrase that works wonders around me.  W116 fanatics always welcome at my place.  (well so far I haven't had any takers...)

The God's Must be Crazy featured the baddies racing around in a fleet of silver 280SE's built at our East London plant. 

Since it concerns our W116's I will start another post for it. 

Ryan in South Africa.

PS - this is the land of plenty in terms of rust-free W116, but we only have 280S, 280SE and 350SE here. 

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Aha, Ryan - so I'm welcome, as long as I show up in my 450SEL!  Hey, that way I'd be "the guy with the strange accent and the even stranger car!"

I posted to your new thread, but just wanted to let you know that I would begin giving my 116 swimming lessons forthwith.




hi ryan
interesting post this one.
upsets me to see that you are caring more about your ford than the mercs.
i say drive the ford more. actually i am jealous and would love the opportunity one day to buy a car new and hardly drive it. after having had low paying jobs most of my life where i had to drive 70k kms a year for me it would be a luxury to have a low mileage car.
done it with bikes but not cars. in fact if i had a rolls royce, i would drive it daily and tow with it, any thing to upset the standard.
as for the W140, make sure the spark distributors (not sure what the name is ,hit a blank)are replaced on time or the computer will pack up,and thats another 30 grand in rand.
do you still have a body of a 116 lying around??


Quote from: s class on 31 March 2006, 08:58 AM
I have a new rule - none of my cars are allowed to stand for more than 2 weeks at a time.

I agree - these cars need to be used and my rule is to drive it every week.

So I take it to work on a fine day and drive it around when I do my House calls and hospital visits.



According to my dad, you definately can't leave a pre-'76 W116 for more than a couple of weeks...

Well, at least that was the case with his yellow 450SE years ago. If it was left for more than a couple of weeks it refused to go.....needed a new set of points everytime. Pop in a new set, away it went....go figure.

Although, recently when I bought my 350SE the previous owner was saying how his old 450 did a similar thing.

Something to do with the way points close or something, and they stick and burn out if left for a long time...something like that. ;)
I can't quite remember the full logic behind it.
'79 280SEL- 560,000 Kms
'73 350SE- getting an AMG facelift
'79 450SEL 6.9

s class

Sheesh this is an old thread.  But OK.

Kolin, the XR3 is still my weakness and it always gets best spot in the big garage.  I don't drive it often - 3 or 4 times a year, but its doing well.  The only illness its suffered is the idle jet in the Weber has blocked up, presumably from gummy old fuel. 

The blue 6.9 has been on stands in my workshop since 5 September 2007.  But it is close to running now - PB I assure you of that.  I ran the engine this Monday for the first time in ages - now that the suspension hydraulics are all connected. 

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL