Our Little Blog…..
Joining the 200K Club – June 2017
Our 1995 E320 Coupe passed the milestone of 200,000 miles this month. More precisely it passed Hilton Park Services on the M6 in the pouring rain as it clicked over to the magic number, en route to a friend’s wedding in Wolverhampton.
Pete bought this car in October 1997, yes nearly 20 years ago, from HL Gorner Mercedes-Benz of Wigan (now sadly no more) several years before we entered the motor trade ourselves. It was a one owner car with 27,000 miles on the clock and it cost £31,700.
For many of our 20 years with the car it has been Pete’s most regular form of transport, and some years it has done over 30,000 miles. Pete once had a very surreal dream in which he was driving it down the motorway in his dressing gown and slippers. The driver’s seat had morphed into a comfortable armchair and the centre of the dashboard was a fireplace with a roaring open fire. What does that tell us?!
As well as travelling the length and breadth of the UK we have made many trips to France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Germany in it (usually loaded to the gunwales with wine on the return trip), and we still do. It is the newest car we own, and that’s absolutely fine by us.
It has never “failed to proceed” though it did come back from Oxford on a recovery truck one time when an overtightened V belt caused an idler pulley bearing to get a bit noisy.
Two new front wings were fitted about seven years ago, the paintwork has been “freshened up” twice, and bits of localised welding have been done to the jacking points, rear arches and front inner wings. The Mushroom leather interior is all original and, apart from slight patina to the armrest and driver’s seat bolster, still looks pretty much as new. In the days when Pete used to wear a suit for business he used to have them made with the back pocket on the left, purely so that the button wouldn’t scrape the bolster when getting in (obsessive – surely not!).
It has been regularly serviced and has consumed many tyres, brake pads, brake discs, a few suspension bushes, ball joints, four shock absorbers, two head gaskets and one exhaust section (only because the catalyst failed the MoT on emissions), but apart from those things there has been very little unscheduled expenditure. It drives just as well today as it did 20 years ago, and continues to attract admiring looks and comments wherever it goes; probably more so now that it is “of a certain age”.
We love it dearly and could never dream of parting with it, in fact Ann says that when Pete’s time comes he will probably be buried in it!
Mentioned in Dispatches – May 2017
We recently provided our lovely 1965 220Seb coupe as a prop for the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which was being filmed at nearby Capesthorne Hall. Presenter Morland Sanders was conducting an investigation into the hidden costs of personal contract plan (PCP) funding for private car finance, and how it is a major contributor to the UK’s personal debt mountain.
Apparently a huge increase in the amounts borrowed by already indebted households in Britain and the US to buy new vehicles is fuelling fears that “sub-prime cars” could ignite the next financial crash. British households borrowed a record £31.6bn in 2016 to buy cars, up 12% on 2015. Nine out of 10 private car buyers are now using PCPs, which have boomed since interest rates fell to historic lows.
The angle of the story was that wealthy individuals in the 1960s and 70s used to buy a high quality new car and keep it for many years, and suggesting that the time may be right for us to start doing that again – maybe with a lower cost or used vehicle, but to keep it for a longer period.
Morland, who is a Mercedes enthusiast himself, drove our car for several takes and announced that he would much rather take ours home than the brand new C Class cabriolet they were comparing it with. Despite the shoot being dogged by continuous heavy rain we managed to get it “in the can” and it is scheduled for airing sometime during August.
Laon Historique – 13 to 16 May 2016
It’s been three years since we have participated in this wonderful event in northern France, and as 2016 was going to be the 25th anniversary of it’s first running, with a bumper turnout expected, we thought we’d better remedy the omission.
We had a few choices of cars to take, but decided on a 1966 220SEb coupe which we purchased a few months ago but haven’t actually used very much. In fact no-one has. The second owner, who had owned it from 1981 until now, had carried out a full restoration over recent years, but owing to ill health had hardly had a chance to enjoy it. In that case what better way to remedy this, and assess its reliability, that an 1,800 mile thrash to France and back!
We took the Dover-Calais ferry a few days before the event and stayed two nights in a hotel right in the centre of the beautiful city of Reims, before heading back up to Laon for the ‘Montee’ as the locals call it. True to predictions it was the best time we have ever had there, with over 1,000 classic cars descending on this small city and turning it into classic car heaven for three days. It was great to see several of our customers there, one in an identical car to the one we were in which we sold him a couple of years ago.
We had a thoroughly excellent time all round with largely good weather and the car performed faultlessly, running happily at 60-65mph on the autoroutes and taking all the stops and starts of the Laon event routing in its stride.
This date is a must if you actually like driving your car in an organised but non-competitive event.
Barry C bought a beautiful Silver 1988 420SL from us a few months ago. He has emailed to tell us that he entered it at the Mercedes-Benz Club National SL day at Woburn Abbey where it won 1st prize in the Silver section (meaning that it was judged to be the best silver car in attendance).
We took our newly arrived 1980 230 Saloon to the Mercedes-Benz Club National W123 day in North Yorkshire on 23 August and were delighted to win the Richard Sturman trophy for Best Car in Show, out of approximately 40 W123 saloons, coupes and estates entered by keen owners. The judges commented particularly on the complete originality and freshness of the car’s presentation.
We only got to hold the trophy for a few minutes as it had to go back to the club to be engraved then replaced in the trophy cabinet, but we did get an engraved silver plate to keep, which will go with the car to its new owner when we sell it.
We have just returned from our 10th annual appearance at this fantastic show, which gets bigger, better and busier every year. It was so full-on that we saw many people in the distance that we really wanted to speak to but were so busy with others that they slipped by. If you were one then we hope to catch up with you at a future event. The show has now reached some sort of critical mass in size that it is no longer possible to see all of it in any sort of detail in just one day. We have noticed an increasing tendency for visitors to make a weekend of it over two or even all three days.
Here’s a picture of one of our loan cars in France! We have two of these rather conspicuous W124 estates, and they normally get used for local running about by customers while their cars are in for repair.
However sometimes major repairs take time and people have to get to where they need to go. This one has been to France twice in the last year with customers, including once to a wedding with the happy couple, and seems to relish its adventurous lifestyle despite being 26 years old and having covered not far off 200,000 miles.
We had our stand at this indoor show with six of our cars on display, and managed to sign up several new customers for our servicing and repair garage in Macclesfield. This was the second time this show has run and it remains to be seen whether it will become a regular fixture on the classic car calendar, however attendance was good despite competition from the glorious weather outside.
Black Forest Tour – September 2014
We’re just back from a ten day tour around the Black Forest with members of the NW region of the
Mercedes-Benz Club. Superbly organised by Mike Powell it involved 27 people, 13 cars, five countries, three hotels and two ferry crossings. From our base in a picture-postcard chalet hotel in the heart of the forest we visited the Schlumpf Museum in Mulhouse, France, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and had a private tour of the Mercedes Classic Centre in Fellbach. Ann and I also managed to fit in visits to the Lalique glass museum, the French National Railway Museum and a day trip to Lake Constance.
At the outward stopover hotel in Luxembourg we met, quite by chance, a group of local members of the Mercedes W124 Club who were breakfasting at our hotel prior to a day driving trip. Much information was exchanged and we may be seeing them again.
We took our 1993 320CE cabriolet, which we have owned for 13 years and the odometer of which incidentally clicked over 150,000 miles on the way to the ferry at Hull. Needless to say it despatched the 1600 mile round trip
without a care, much of it top-down, and reinforced what fabulous mile-eaters these classic Mercedes are. Other cars ranged in age from a 1967 250SL to a current model E220CDi, and included no fewer than six R129 SLs and two R107 SLs. All performed the trip without fault.
Pictures by kind permission of Alan Cross
MB Club W123 Day – August 2014
We had a great day out at Chatsworth House, where the club’s W123 day was held for the second time. Weather was variable with sunshine and showers, and quite strong winds, but we managed to get the business of the day done and had a great time into the bargain, with over 50 cars present and many of our friends and customers present.
After rigorous concours judging by Neville Wright our customer Dave Webb got the runner-up prize in the ‘Best Coupe’ category with the gorgeous 230CE he bought from us a couple of years ago, and we came runner-up in the ‘Best Estate’ category with our W123 ambulance which we have owned since 2008. Thanks are due to Martyn and Susie Marrocco for the organisation.
Stock Shortage! – July 2014
After bumper sales in the last couple of months we are seriously down on stock, as can be seen from all the SOLD signs on the CARS FOR SALE page. Some cars have been selling before they even reached the website.
A big thank you to all who have purchased our cars and made this one of our best Summers ever – even though it is far from over.
Rest assured however that we have some gorgeous cars in the pipeline and are scouring the country for more. We will only accept the very best however and we will not skimp on preparation, so, depending on your favoured model, there may be a short period when we can’t give you what you want. Believe us – the wait will be worthwhile!
Le Mans Classic – July 2014
We’ve just returned from a slightly extended trip to the Le Mans Classic race meeting. We’ve always intended to go, but wanted to be close to the action for this three day event, so a hotel miles away from the circuit didn’t appeal. We (more specifically Ann!) didn’t fancy camping either, so we’ve always delayed it.
However our recent purchase of a classic Mercedes motorhome meant we could combine comfort with proximity, and it turned out to be an ideal arrangement. We hoisted our company flag over the truck, mainly to aid location as the campsite was very large, and we were gratified at the number of fellow Mercedes enthusiasts who stopped by for a chat.
Weather was mixed, with a couple of scorching hot days interspersed with heavy showers and strong winds. This made for some exciting racing, and interesting scenes on the campsite as our surrounding tent dwelling neighbours found their temporary homes being blown away!
The racing is very well thought out to mimic the full 24 hour event, with 6 separate grids of around 80 cars in each, of all eras from the early 1920s to late 1970s, each doing a series of two hour races throughout the day and night. Just as spectacular in its own way is the ‘Little Big Mans’ race where kids compete just as fiercely in
beautiful small scale replicas of the racing cars.
There are also the paddocks to visit where you can get up close to the cars and drivers, an extensive trade and retail village on circuit, huge car club displays and an excellent social scene in the small towns around the circuit. It is possible to dip in and out of the racing at will in a real holiday atmosphere.
We were slightly disappointed that hardly anybody took the period dress code seriously, particularly as Ann had taken some of her 1950s/60s style dresses to wear – we’ll have to go back to the Goodwood Revival for that. Despite that one reservation we voted it as a great all round event; one that we will definitely go back to and which we can recommend highly.
Drive-It Day – April 2014
Sunday 27thApril was Drive-It Day*, so we decided to do our bit and rounded up 30-odd** NW Mercedes-Club members in 18 cars to do a tour of the Cheshire (and a bit of Derbyshire) countryside. We all met up at our workshop in Macclesfield in the morning for coffee and cakes and, aided by glorious sunshine, drove a very pleasant 31 mile route through some of the less visited scenic byways. Each
team attempted to answer an observational quiz set by Ann as they went round, and we finished up at The Robin Hood Inn at Rainow for a lovely lunch. The papers were marked and Ted and Liz Robertson were found to have scored 100% and won a free service for their car at our workshop. Aside from rather slow service at the pub everything went well, and we might even do it again next year.
*If you don’t know about Drive-It Day see full details HERE.
**We didn’t mean they were odd, just that there were more than 30 of them. Mind you, now we come to think of it…… _____________________________________________________________________________________
Quentin Tips the R107 SL for Greatness – May 2014
In the May 2014 issue of Classic Cars magazine, Quentin Willson nominates five cars as his Smart Buys of 2014, i.e. those that are set to rise dramatically in value due to market conditions. All candidates must have three virtues to be eligible: driving ability, image and looks. The R107 has them all in abundance, and needless to say comes out as one of the chosen five.
Read why in the full article on P54 of the magazine – and see our advert on P184.
Further to the Chancellor’s budget teaser last year, where he advanced the eligibility of classic cars to free road tax by one year, he has now gone the full distance and fully re-introduced the rolling exemption. this will apply to all cars from their 40th birthday onwards and is a very welcome development.
Laon Historique – 23 to 26 May 2013
Apologies for the lack of updates recently, but we’ve just returned from a week travelling around northern France and Belgium in our 1972 280SE saloon. Whilst there we participated in the Laon Historique classic car road event along with several NW area members of the Mercedes-Benz Club and around 800 other British and European classic car enthusiasts. As usual our trusty steed took the 1,000 or so miles smoothly in its stride, despite the shocking state of the road surfaces on the Belgian motorways, and was a delight to
travel in. We highly recommend this event if you actually enjoy driving your classic (see reports of this event in previous years by scrolling down thispage), and we all had a great time despite variable weather.
Passion for Power, Manchester, 6-7 April 2013
This was the second time we have had our stand at this event, which grows year on year and is set to become an essential fixture as a season-opener for the classic car scene in the North West. We had six cars on display and took many enquiries from local enthusiasts who will now come to see us after the show for booked test drives.
A little-noticed part of the chancellor’s 2013 budget, alongside the freeze in fuel duty, was the advancement by one year of the manufacturing date of classic cars which qualify for free road tax. After being originally introduced as a rolling exemption for cars older than 25 years, it was frozen in 1998 at 1 January 1973. It will now be moved on to 1 January 1974. Although not stated, let us hope that this might be an annual discretionary advance which gets announced at each budget. The change comes into force in April 2014.
See an independent evaluation of our 1965 220SEb Coupe in the 9 January 2013 issue of Classic Car Weekly, page 41. Staff writer Paul Hardiman came to inspect and test drive it and gave it a glowing writeup with a strong recommendation to purchase.
16/17/18 November 2012 – Classic Motor Show As usual we were rushed off our feet at the Classic Motor Show last weekend and are currently busy arranging delivery of the cars we sold there. Thanks to everybody who came to see us, and especially to those who bought our cars. The show gets bigger and better every year and if you haven’t yet attended we highly recommend it. ____________________________________________________________________________________
September 2012 – Goodwood Revival Just back from this fabulous event which seamlessly combines classic cars, aviation and the chance to dress up like your mum and dad. The perfect weather made it even better, and the sheer scale of it meant that you could not possibly see it all. This was our first visit, having always intended to go but somehow never having got it organised in previous years, but somehow we think it will become an annual visit for us. We travelled down in our 1971 280SE 3.5 Coupe (see it on the Cars for Sale page), which meant we could park in the historic car park just a stone’s throw from all the action.
August 2012 – Yet another winner! We were at the MB Club’s W123 day in Windsor last Sunday to witness one of our recent customers, Dave Webb, scoop the prize for Best Coupe in Show out of around 18 coupes present, for his lovely Astral Silver 230CE which he bought from us recently. Dave was bowled over and graciously shared the credit with us saying “All I’ve done is polished it”. Thanks Dave. This comes hot on the heels of Denis Haward’s concours success at Oulton Park recently with his W123 saloon.
August 2012 Small Part in Biggs Production!Earlier this year we were approached by ITV studios. They were looking for “street furniture” for their forthcoming five part drama, Mrs Biggs, staring Sheridan Smith (Two Pints of Lager) and Danny Mays (Ashes to Ashes). Our 1965 220SEb fitted the bill and spent a day on location being parked alongside a Jaguar and an Austin Healey.
The five-part ITV series Mrs Biggs follows Ronnie and Charmian from when they met in 1957, right through the infamous train robbery in 1963 and into the ’70s.
The drama is scheduled to air this autumn but don’t blink or you might miss the car!
We took our 1972 280SE saloon to the classic car show at Oulton Park race circuit in Cheshire on Saturday and were delighted when the show organisers awarded a prize for 2nd best Mercedes in show, out of approximately 20 cars, to the 1983 230E saloon which we recently supplied to Denis Haward.
Tatton Park Show
As usual we attended the Mercedes-Benz Club stand at the Tatton Park Classic Car Show on the Bank Holiday Monday of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, with the added twist of a fancy dress theme and masses of bunting decking the stand. Monday was bright, sunny and warm, and we were so lucky to have missed the torrential rain of Saturday and Sunday. Just as well, since we opted to go with our good friends Geoff and Sue as teddy boys and rockabilly girls. The fancy dress theme was well supported, with Weed (Bill and Ben), California Highway Patrol, Mother Theresa, Coco Chanel, Bob the Builder, Friar Tuck and many others, plus of course Alan Cross in his unforgettable (!) lederhosen and the catering ladies in German fraulein outfits.
The quality of the cars seems to get better every year, with members going to extreme lengths to outdo each other in the concours stakes. We were glad to see several cars that we had supplied vying for honours.
Just back from Laon – can’t wait for next year!
We have just returned from France where we made our second visit to the Laon Historique from 18 to 20 May, held annually in the city of Laon, which is about 120 miles south-east of Calais. We enjoyed it so much last year that we had to return, and this year took 35 North-West Mercedes-Benz Club members in 16 cars with us, to join the 700 or so other cars taking part.
We took our recently acquired 1971 280SE 3.5 coupe and it was a delight, cruising happily at the legal limit on the Autoroutes and getting very favourable reactions from the crowds at the event. The event followed the same basic plan as last year with a road run of around 170Km around the local countryside on the Saturday and a 10Km closed-road circuit round the town on Sunday, with various sub-events, presentations, speeches and concours intertwined.
All very French and all very enjoyable in a very relaxed way. We have already booked for next year!
19 April 2012
Now and again, quite out of the blue, something reminds us of why we love these old Mercs so much, what fantastic cars they were in their day, and how that translates to their seamless integration into our modern day lives. It happened again yesterday when I was due to collect a car we had just purchased from near Watford and drive it home via another appointment in Hertfordshire, a total distance of around 200 miles.
I was looking forward to a pleasant drive on a sunny Spring day, but due to a series of delays and horrendously wet and windy weather it ended up having all the ingredients of a potential drive to Hell. Part of the journey was through heavy rush hour traffic, some of it in the dark, much of it in torrential rain and wind, with a more than liberal sprinkling of Motorway roadworks thrown in.
And yet it was one of the most satisfying trips I have had for some time. The car itself helped hugely – a 1985 280TE W123 estate with all the toys; leather, aircon, auto, ABS, electric windows, front armrest, sunroof (could have managed without that!) etc etc. It could however have been any well cared for Mercedes of its era.
Threading through the school-run 4x4s in the drizzle I was struck by the number of admiring glances, grins and thumbs-ups from other motorists ‘of a certain age’, and not a few youngsters either (7-15 year old kids are the true arbiters of style and taste – they have no agenda), and of being let into traffic more than would usually be expected. Just as comforting was the complete absence of temperament from a 27 year old car which had only covered 300 miles in the last year, creeping along in heavy traffic for miles on end.
It was the same story when I reached the M25. The car felt so solid, composed and dependable at any speed up to (slightly more than) the legal limit. After my second appointment I relished the prospect of easing down the slip road onto the busy M1, sliding smoothly across three lanes and joining the modern Mercs in the homeward procession. Starting to get dark now; wipers on, rear wiper intermittently arcing through the back window spray deposit, heating and demisting keeping me and the windscreen in perfect order, seating position the epitome of ergonomic comfort. I felt like I had been transported back in time to be a business executive from 1985.
And so it was for the next 200 miles save for a brief loo stop at Donington Services, gliding along in perfect comfort, Radio 2 for company, and not a single beat missed. I reached home at 10pm relaxed and composed, and could easily have carried on to Glasgow. I had to keep reminding myself that this was an elderly classic car, but how many of the concours queens of other makes could rise so admirably to this challenge?
In case you’re thinking that this was some cosseted gem, museum fresh and hardly used, it wasn’t. Its mileage is well into six figures, but it has been well maintained and sympathetically used throughout its life, and given regular preventative maintenance and remedial work when needed. Until a change of circumstances a couple of years ago the last owner used to make regular day trips to Belgium in it without a second thought.
It has now taken its place in the queue for preparation, and after a thorough mechanical check and attention to one or two minor cosmetic details it will break cover on our website in due course. Lovely!
The North West Indoor Classic Car Show, Event City, Manchester
The show was a great success, and we managed to meet many potential new customers from our local area, in contrast to our typical sales pattern which is UK, Europe and beyond. Alex and Natalie, our glamorous ‘Pinups in Pinnies‘, caused as much of a stir as our cars, and made many new fans with liberal distribution of their delicious cupcakes each afternoon. This show is definitely an annual date for the diary now, and we look forward to next year.
Thanks to everybody who came to see us at the Classic Motor Show, and especially to those who bought our cars. Attendance was up on last year, in line with recent trends, and we were rushed off our feet for the whole three days, proving that the classic car market is bucking the recessionary trend. Roll on next year – our aching feet and strained vocal chords might just have recovered by then!
Part of our stand before the hordes descended. Picture by kind permission of Alan Cross.
We have just returned from France where we spent a few days participating in the Laon Historique, a classic car event which is now in its 20th year. It is held annually in the city of Laon, which is about 120 miles south-east of Calais on the A26. We had never heard of it until a few weeks ago, and it seems to be a well kept secret among the several hundred British classic car enthusiasts who make the trip every year and form well over 50% of the 700 plus entry. British makes formed the majority of entries, but there was a good showing of French made cars including Voisin, Bugatti, Panhard and many others rarely seen over here, plus a sprinkling of others including a few Mercedes. We took our 1972 280SE saloon on what was its longest journey yet with us, but we needn’t have worried as it lapped up the 1300 mile round trip with relish, cruising happily at the legal limit on the Autoroutes.
The event itself is totally different from any British classic car gathering and, we have to say, a lot more fun. On the Saturday morning everybody congregated in the area around the cathedral before setting off in informal groups on a superbly pacenoted road run of around 170Km around the local countryside. At every village and town along the way the local population turned out in force to clap and cheer, and unbelievably the organisers had provided motorcycle outriders to block off road junctions as each group swept by. At the halfway point there was a lunch stop with free sandwiches, soft drinks and beer laid on (yes, we know, but this is France!). The day was rounded off by a concours d’elegance and barbeque with live music at the local horse racing circuit.
On the Sunday the whole town was closed to normal traffic and over 700 classic cars crammed in to the town square and every other available space. At noon all the crews squeezed in to the banqueting hall of the Hotel de Ville, where rousing speeches were made by the mayor and event organisers in French and English amid much cheering and applause. There was then a complimentary glass of champagne (yes, we know) and at 2.30pm we all set off on a closed road route around the city walls with crowds cheering us on, covering as many laps as we liked before parking along the route to watch the others go by. All this was accomplished in a most relaxed and friendly manner with not a high-vis jacket or jobsworth to be seen. The atmosphere was terrific and we were really sorry to leave.
Our photograph taken by the official photographer
29 April 2011
A Classic Royal Wedding
It was no surprise to see Kate arriving at the Abbey in a beautiful 1960s Rolls Royce Phantom today, but we were delighted to see the happy couple leaving Buckingham Palace in William’s father’s 1971 Aston Martin DB6 convertible (given to Charles as a 21st birthday present by the Queen). Waving the flag for classic motoring in the best possible way! Congratulations and best wishes to them both.
We have just returned from our annual trip to the Techno-Classica Show at Essen, which we extended this time to fit in some visiting around Denmark and Germany. Normally we fly across or travel on the coach organised by the MB Club, but this time we had a car to deliver to a customer in Norway so we took the DFDS ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg and handed it over at Billund airport in Denmark, then continued in our own 1995 E320 coupe, staying one night in Denmark, two at Bad Doberan on the north German coast (steam trains there – another of Pete’s afflictions), two nights in Hamburg and three in Essen for the show. On the return leg we stayed one night in Bruges before heading home via the Dunkirk-Dover ferry. The car ran faultlessly as usual, despite having 183,000 miles under its belt, and was a delight to drive on the Autobahns in its home territory.
As ever the Essen show continues to impress, with bigger and better displays every year. It is also a good place to catch up with friends from the club as more and more seem to go every year. Highly recommended.
Mercedes expands its ‘Young Classics Programme’
Mercedes-Benz has now officially recognised a number of their more iconic post-1970 products as “young classics”. Among the group just announced is the 107 series roadsters from 1971-1985, 114/115 coupes and saloons, 123 coupes and estates and 126 SECs from 1981-1991. This is not just a nice gesture from the factory; it means that they intend to continue and reinforce support for these vehicles with parts, technical support and marketing. From the owners’ point of view it means that they can be assured of being able to maintain their cars with factory support for an indefinite period, which will undoubtedly increase their market value and lead to more of them being saved and restored. As time goes on the programme will undoubtedly be extended to include types from the 1990s and beyond such as the 124, 129, 140 and 201; all of which are currently fully supported by the factory, being recently superseded models.
Images by Mercedes-Benz
2 December 2010
The snow has mostly been cleared from the roads hereabouts, but temperatures remain resolutely well below zero and we are pretty much frozen up, with no running water and sheet ice everywhere that doesn’t get gritted. However our road access is clear and, whilst we are unable to valet or photograph cars at present, we can demonstrate those which are prepared for sale and on the website.
15 November 2010
The Show’s Over for Another Year
We’re back from the Classic Motor Show with a very successful outcome in terms of cars sold and an amazing number of visitors who came to see us and have a chat. As a barometer of how the current fiscal gloom is affecting the classic car market the show gave a resounding “Keep Calm and Carry On”, with early returns showing visitor numbers equal to last year and most dealers reporting healthy sales.
7 October 2010
Yes we have no Depreciation!
Well maybe that’s a slight overstatement, but every model we sell has gone well past the bottom of its depreciation curve and is climbing nicely up the other side. We were reminded of this by an article in the Autocar 22 September 2010 issue, highlighting the crippling depreciation suffered by new car buyers.
Apologies for the lack of updates over the last couple of weeks, but after a particularly busy sales period we’ve been on a well-earned holiday to France.
On the second day, before reaching Chatelaillon, we called to see one of our French customers, Thierry Morosini in Talmont St Hilaire. Thierry recently commissioned us to find him a LHD R129 SL500, and we found him an absolute cracker in Japan, but that’s another story. We have kept in regular contact with him, and when we said we were travelling nearby he invited us to lunch at his seaside home. We hadn’t realised that he was a gourmet chef in his spare time, and were stunned by the exquisite five course meal he laid before us – thanks again Thierry!
We spent a week working our way around the sights (and tastes) of the Atlantic coast, and we particularly recommend visiting the towns of La Rochelle, Rochefort and Royan and the Isle D’Oleron. We came back to Calais via two nights in Paris. The weather was glorious except for one day, and we drove hood-down for the majority of non-Autoroute mileage; perfect!
30 August 2010
We had a great day out at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August, with perfect weather and exciting racing. It was made all the more special by the appearance of Sir Stirling Moss, not only doing demonstration laps in the Ferguson P99 4WD Formula 1 car in which he won the 1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup race, but actually competing in his own 1956 OSCA FS372 car.
26 July 2010
Octane Magazine, Europe’s premier collectors’ car magazine, recently published its “Smart Buys” for 2010 list. The list was intended to alert astute buyers of currently undervalued classics. Number one position was occupied by Ferrari’s 550 Maranello (no quibbling on this choice). The list went on and covered among others, Aston Martin’s V8 Virage, Porsche’s early 911 Turbos, but squeaking in at number 10 was the R107 SL. Hooray!
15 July 2010
We are gradually managing to replenish our depleted stock with some lovely cars now arriving, but the torrential rain lately has made it difficult to photograph them for the website. Of course it rained on St Swithin’s Day, which legendarily portends 40 days of more rain, and we are a week into the North West hosepipe ban, so the chances of a fine spell look slim! If the photos of the newly arrived cars are a bit sparse for a short while we hope you will understand and bear with us.
Regular visitors to this site will have noticed that we are very short of stock at the moment. After our best ever sales month in March we have been trying to regroup ever since, but sales have carried on at a very high level with many cars being sold even before they reach the website. Rest assured however that we have been very busy behind the scenes sourcing some lovely cars which will appear soon, so watch this space.
We enjoyed taking our 1965 220SEb coupe on the Lancashire Automobile Club Manchester to Blackpool run on Sunday 13th June. This is an annual event which ran for the 48th time this year, and is a loosely pacenoted scenic route around the rural byways of Lancashire and a very pleasant way to get to Blackpool. Over 60 cars made the trip, including around 10 Mercedes, and one car which has made the trip every year for the last 48 years with the same driver! On arrival we were met by the Mayor of Blackpool and the cars were displayed in the newly rebuilt St Johns Square while we had a wander around the town. A great day out and highly recommended for next year. See more details at http://www.lancsautoclub.com/
We have just returned from our annual trip to the Techno Classica car show at Essen, where we travelled with the Mercedes-Benz Club and stayed at the hotel where the club has a block booking of all available rooms. As well as all the old faces we enjoyed meeting some new ones, and for anybody who has not visited this premier show, the largest in Europe, we can highly recommend it. The 1960s and 70s Mercedes cars which are considered quite rare in the UK are in abundance, and there are many 1930s, 40s and 50s cars which we just never see over here. Most are in better than new condition and the prices of those for sale bring a tear to the eye!
March 2010 has been our best month ever, with some cars being sold before they even made it onto the website. The result is that we currently have very little stock left. Please be assured however that we have some superb cars in the pipeline, and as we have so few cars ready for sale it gives us more time to spend on sourcing and preparing new arrivals. Thank you to the customers who made March such a fantastic month.
The Car with the Star is the Star!
We had conclusive evidence recently, if any were needed, that the R107 SL (1971-1989) has now moved firmly into the uber-cool style icon territory previously occupied by its W113 Pagoda SL predecessor. Last week we had a very specific request from the publicity department of Diesel Aftershave to provide a black one for a filmshoot for their new TV commercial.
A crew of 35 descended on an area near the North Circular Road/M1 junction and spent 7 hours shooting what will probably result in about 10 seconds of film, with the car occupying centre stage.
The shots were dark and moody, taken at night under railway arches with a gorgeous actress behind the wheel wearing handcuffs and not much else, while an American Police car cruised past. This was one of a series of location shots which we won’t see pieced together until the advert hits our screens, but the car was certainly the star and the actress wanted to take it home!
See the whole advert here
5 January 2010
We are currently under five inches of snow here with everything iced up, so we can’t valet cars or photograph them. Website updates will therefore be a bit sparse for the next few days. For the same reasons we are not able to offer viewings or test drives just now, so please bear with us until the weather improves. We are still manning the phones and email however, so do continue to contact us with your enquiries.
We’re back from the show, buzzing but absolutely exhausted, after talking ourselves hoarse with so many of you who came to see us. Thanks to all of you who turned out, and especially to those who bought our cars. We must also say a special thank you to Mercedes-Benz Club members Mike Powell, Alan Cross, Janet Earnshaw, Chris and Gaynor Murphy, who all helped us ferry cars to and from the show, but especially Janet who proved a star performer with the polishing cloth as well. Having increased our stand size by almost 100% over last year we couldn’t have managed without them.
The weekend of 30/31st May saw the Mercedes-Benz Club stand appearing at the annual Tatton Park Classic Car Show near Knutsford, Cheshire. This is the flagship event of the North West region of the club and is one of the biggest shows in the country, with a vast turnout of old vehicles of all descriptions. The club stand alone had over fifty cars booked in each day (we know because Pete was “volunteered” for the task of marshalling them all on the stand as usual) and the weather was hot and sunny all weekend, with a great time enjoyed by all.
We’re back from Essen where we have been making our annual pilgrimage to the Techno Classica Classic Motor Show, the biggest in Europe. It was great to catch up with old friends from the Mercedes-Benz Club and meet many new ones.
As usual the show was fantastic, with little or no sign of any recessionary slowdown. In fact the most noticeable thing was that asking prices for cars seem to have increased by around 15% from last year, even before any Pound/Euro fluctuations are considered. Price levels of classic Mercedes are around 33% higher than in the UK, so we must be thankful that our cars have the steering wheel on the other side or they would probably all have returned home by now!
One thing which is always apparent is the huge variety of Mercedes vehicles on display and for sale; much more than are ever seen in the UK. Most notable are the huge 1920s and 1930s roadsters which are absolutely magnificent of course, but also the more humble vehicles which are just as interesting in their own way. One which caught our eye in the outdoor sales enclosure was the beautifully restored early 1960s minibus shown below. We would surely have brought it home if it weren’t for the asking price of 149,000 Euros!
We are a little short of stock at the moment after a busy period over recent months and several cars sold at the Classic Motor Show, however we have some lovely cars on the way. As well as the ones listed as arriving shortly on the Cars for Sale page, we have in the pipeline a W123 280CE Coupe in Blue/Black metallic, a 190E 2.5 Cosworth in Smoke Silver, a 33,000 mile one owner 190E 2.0 in Silver, a brace of E220 cabriolets in Midnight Blue and Blue/Black, a 2000 low mileage SL280 in Obsidian Black and two superb W124 saloons; an E320 in Blue/Black and a 300E in Pine Green. Watch this space for details, or if you would like to be notified when any of them arrive just drop us an email to email@example.com.
The 190E 2.5 Cosworth has been borrowed by AutoExpress Magazine to be the subject of an article in their 7 January issue, where it is being compared head to head with its current equivalent, the C63 AMG. We don’t think there will be much competition in the outright performance stakes, but in the smiles per mile ratings we think the Cosworth will win hands down! Whenever we drive one of these beautifully balanced little racers we find ourselves beaming from ear to ear.
We had a fantastically busy three days at the Classic Motor Show, and we thank all of you who came to see us; especially those who bought our cars! It seems that the effects of the credit crunch are quite variable as we sold more cars at this year’s show than ever before, and most other dealers seemed to be achieving good sales as well.
Coals to Newcastle!
We have exported classic Mercedes cars to several countries over the years, but we never thought we would be sending one to Germany! However this is exactly what has happened, as we have just returned from delivering a left hand drive 300SL-24 to Frau Gisele Putzier at her home near Berlin. Frau Putzier had been searching for a low mileage Mercedes SL for some time, and had been unable to find one with exactly the right specification in Germany. She viewed the car on our website, saw that it was exactly what she wanted, and is absolutely delighted with her purchase. The current Euro/Sterling exchange rate made the deal especially attractive.
A Flight to Tangibles?
No, we’re not offering cheap air fares, we’re talking about the economists’ term for what to do with your money when ‘paper’ investments are looking shaky. At least two of our customers in recent weeks have invested in a classic Mercedes because they don’t like the idea of leaving their money in a bank which may not be there next week, but they do like the idea of owning something which will not lose value and which they can enjoy.
Gold Eagle investment website (www.gold-eagle.com) puts it like this: “Tangibles owe nothing to anyone, as they are valuable in themselves, and require no faith in any government. Currently, silver is far below production cost, and gold at about cost, making them both outstanding flights to safety, thanks to the outrageous manipulations of governments and various financial houses. If you need things of interest, try antiques of all kinds, stamps, old cars, rare art, or whatever strikes your fancy, but anything in short supply and which is a literal tangible will do.”
Back from Holiday
Apologies for the lack of updates during the last week or so, but we have just returned from holiday on the East Neuk of Fife in Scotland, highly recommended for a relaxing break and one of our favourite places in the UK.
European Tour by Classic Mercedes SL
We love it when our customers use their classic Mercs as they were meant to be, and we couldn’t resist showing you some pictures that Jonathan Morton sent us of him and his wife Deborah’s recent 2,000 mile trip around France, Switzerland and Italy.
Jonathan emailed enthusiastically: “I know you like to keep tabs on your ducklings, so you might be interested to see some photographs of the beast in action, now that we have at last got the hard top stored. My wife Deborah and I have just returned from a week’s trip to the Italian lakes via France and Switzerland. You will not be surprised to know that the car did not miss a beat in 2,000 miles – or lose/use a drop of oil or water. We sailed over the Grimsel, Furka, St Gotthard and Simplon Passes as though they were not there, and kept up nicely with the moderns on the Autoroutes – where the cruise control really comes into its own. Even Deborah was impressed! The journey home wasn’t quite so nice – we had the hood up all the way from the Simplon Pass home. But at least I can confirm that the hood is completely watertight.”
Higher Road Tax for Older Larger Engined Cars – DON’T PANIC!
Several people have mentioned to us the new UK government proposals for increasing road tax (VED) on older larger engined cars, due to be implemented in 2009, and some are worried that it might affect their cherished classic Mercedes. Rest assured that it doesn’t. The proposals only extend the highest rate of VED (until now applicable only to post 2006 cars) back to cars first registered from March 2001 onwards, so all of the classic Mercedes cars we love to own and drive are totally unaffected.
This makes a pre 2001 Mercedes even more of a sensible buy than it already was, as it is very unlikely that the CO2 based VED could ever be extended to pre 2001 cars. It was not a requirement for manufacturers to provide CO2 output figures for new cars until 2001, so if the government wanted to tax pre 2001 cars on CO2 emissions it would face an impossible task in collecting the required data. Furthermore, as time goes on, there will be less and less cars on the road from pre 2001, thus making it even less worthwhile to tighten the net.
Any pre March 2001 car with an engine over 1549cc (yes, that includes your 6 litre V12!) is currently taxed at £185 p.a. A comparable post March 2001 car is £400. From March 2009 these rates will be £200 and £440 respectively.
We made our annual trip to the Tatton Park Classic Car Show on Saturday and Sunday 31 May/1 June, where it was good to meet up with so many old friends on the Mercedes-Benz Club stand, and also several of our customers displaying their cars. The show gets more popular every year, and Pete was given the unenviable task of arranging the parking of around 50 members’ cars each day in some sort of order.
Keith Girling was delighted to win the prize for Best Convertible on his first show with the E220 Cabriolet he purchased from us last year.
We showed our latest project for the first time. It is the first W123 ambulance ever built for the UK, delivered new to Guernsey in 1980. We purchased it from its original owners in February and have been having it restored since then. Many thanks are due to Chris and Gaynor Murphy and their team at Gratt Motor Company for pulling out all the stops to get it finished at 7pm on the night before the show. It is complete with all its original fittings and equipment and raised a few eyebrows when we arrived with blue light flashing and siren blaring!
Credit Crisis? What Credit Crisis?
April 2008 has already been our best month ever, and we’re only half way through it! From the comments of our customers it seems that they are sitting tight on their property investment plans and awarding themselves smaller treats instead – and what treat could be more pleasurable than a classic Mercedes?
We’re Off to Essen
We will be making our customary pilgrimage to the Techno Classica Car Show at Essen, Germany from 26 to 30 March, so will be closed for business between those dates. As usual we are going with the Mercedes-Benz Club on their organised trip, and we hope to see many of you there.
This is a fantastic event, reputed to be the largest classic car show in Europe, and it naturally has a high Mercedes-Benz content. If you can’t make it this time we strongly suggest you put it in the diary for next year.
More Budget Support for Classic Mercedes Drivers
For the second year in succession the 2008 budget has widened the taxation gap between older and newer large cars, and consolidated the benefits already given to users of larger engined older cars. Pre 2001 cars of over 1549cc have had their vehicle exise duty increased by a very modest £5 to £185, whereas comparable newer cars now pay anything upto £400, rising to £455 in 2009, dependent on their CO2 emission rating. An extra hammer blow for new car buyers is a swingeing £950 first year tax bill for the most polluting cars from 2010.
More than ever, drivers of classic Mercedes cars can couple their pleasure in driving something different from the herd with the certain knowledge that it is also a cost-effective option.
We’re just back from a well earned week break in sunny Madeira after an extremely busy pre and post Christmas period. Of course we couldn’t switch off completely and just had to chat to the taxi drivers in Funchal about their lovely W123 saloons, of which around 10 remain amongst a fleet which is about 90% Mercedes, also including many W124s and W201s.
The 300D pictured above (yes, that is yours truly at the wheel) is a 1983 model, still with its first owner, and has done 661,000 Km on its original engine and running gear, with everything looking remarkably straight and not a mark on the MB Tex interior. They truly do not make them like this any more!
Winter Blues? – Definately not!
When we started this business we expected it to be largely seasonal, with not much happening between November and February. How wrong we were! Each year you have amazed and delighted us by continuing to purchase cars at the same rate as in the Summer months, and we thank you for your enthusiasm for the three pointed star.
This December has been no exception, with cars rolling out of the door at a rapid rate despite the sub-zero temperatures; sometimes bought unseen and in many cases before they have even hit the website! We guess this is because most of you view classic Mercedes ownership as a long term thing, and when the right car comes up you will buy it, regardless of season.
Despite the hectic pace we have been out and about sourcing the very best cars from all over the UK, including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. We have a mouthwatering selection of R107 and R129 SLs, W124 coupes and cabriolets and W123 coupes ready to show you in January, just as soon as we can find time to prepare them for sale and the weather is kind enough to let us photograph them. Several are ultra-low mileage and all are totally gorgeous. Please bear with us and watch this space.
We are open by appointment from 27 to 31 December, and as normal from 2 January onwards. The hosepipe may be frozen and the polish solid in its tin, but the kettle is always on!
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We’re on the Move Again!
It hardly seems any time at all since we increased the size of our premises in March 2006, but we’ve outgrown them again! As a result we have taken on a new building in Mottram St Andrew about a mile from our existing site to display our cars for sale, but have retained our existing buildings for car storage and preparation. We are easier to find now, but you will still need to call for directions.
One effect of this expansion is that we are unlikely to fill all the newly available space for the forseeable future, so we can once again offer secure covered storage for your classic or prestige car (or boat, caravan, truck, bus, horsebox etc) at very competitive rates. See our Car Storage page for details.
15th August 2007
Air Conditioning Now Available in any W124 E class. Cool!
Many of our customers trade in recent model Mercedes and other makes to go back to the solid durability of the W124 E Class cars. Unfortunately in recent years they have become used to their cars having air conditioning, and the sad fact is that the majority of W124s left the factory without it.
To solve this problem we have recently secured from the original manufacturer a limited supply of the air conditioning kits which were regularly fitted by Mercedes-Benz dealers to the W124 models when they were new. We can therefore now offer a brand new air conditioning system on any of our W124 saloons, estates, coupes and cabriolets, fully fitted, for the much reduced price of £1,500 + VAT in addition to the purchase price.
The installation is almost indistinguishable from the factory fitted system, and has the bonus of all components (compressor, condensor, receiver/dryer, expansion valve, evaporator core, switches, brackets, valves and piping) being brand new and operating at peak efficiency.
Please ask for details.
Is White the New Azurite Blue?
Have you noticed that for the last year or so most of the car manufacturers, including Mercedes, have been painting their show cars and new release models white? See the front cover of the August issue of Mercedes Enthusiast magazine for proof. Sales of white cars have increased, and we too have noticed an increased demand. Let’s face it; Mercedes cars look good in white. It shows the lines in crisp relief and provides a great background to the chrome. We currently have a shortage of white cars, so if you have a white one of the types that we supply and you would like to sell it, please get in touch.
New E Class – It’s back to the 80’s
This was the heading to a recent article in AutoCar Magazine. It went on to say: “The interior of the next Mercedes E Class will dump the curves of the current car in favour of a much more angular look similar to classic Mercedes saloons from the late 1980s.” It showed exclusive spy shots which looked curiously familiar to us. We’ve always known that the 80s Mercs have style, but it seems that they’re now the height of fashion too!
20th June 2007
We’re just back from 10 days holiday in France, refreshed and looking forward to showing you several gorgeous cars we have coming in during the next week or so, particularly as we had record sales in May and early June, and many of the cars on the site are currently sold.
Apologies to anyone who tried to call us while we were away, after our answering machine decided it was full and stopped taking messages.
En route to the Sud Vendée region we stopped for a night at Chateau de Vauloge near Le Mans, where the only other guests were a trio of motoring journalists and photographer doing an article for Top Gear magazine based around the Le Mans 24 Hours circuit. As soon as introductions had been made around the large dining table it was obvious that a busman’s holiday was to follow, especially when it transpired that one of them had not only been on our website, but had recently corresponded with us about a particular Mercedes he wants to buy!
We can highly recommend the chateau as a stopping off point if you are heading south, and their website can be found at www.vauloge.com
Tatton Park Classic Car Show – 2nd & 3rd June 2007
Mercedes-Benz Club Visit – 20 May 2007
Once again we will be hosting a visit by the North West section of the Mercedes-Benz Club, this Sunday the 20th May. After refreshments and a look round our cars, the assembled members will leave on a late morning tour of the Cheshire lanes in their cars, finishing up at the Windmill Hotel at Whiteley Green for lunch. Any members wishing to attend who have not already booked should contact regional organiser Alan Cross on 01204 363954. This will be the third such event we have hosted (twice for the NW region and once for the N Midlands), and we thank the members of the club for their interest in our operation.
Techno-Classica – Essen, Germany, 25 Mar 2007
We will be attending this enormous classic car show with the trip organised by the Mercedes-Benz Club from 29 March to 1 April. We look forward to meeting many friends there, old and new, and chatting about all things Mercedes.
Budget Cheer for Classic Mercedes Owners, 22 Mar 2007
Gordon Brown in his 21 March budget has given unexpected relief to users of large engined older cars. Pre 2001 cars of over 1549cc have had their vehicle exise duty increased by a very modest £5 to £180, whereas comparable post 2001 cars now pay anything upto £300, rising to £400 in 2008, dependent on their CO2 emission rating.
This means that (for example) a 2007 Mercedes CLK350 Coupe with a 3.5 litre engine will pay £300, whereas a 1996 Mercedes E320 Coupe with a 3.2 litre engine will only pay £180. Even more satisfying is that those of us with a penchant for 5 and 6 litre V8/V12 power in older Mercedes will still pay only £180!
We like to think that the Chancellor is giving users of older cars credit for the fact that their cars cover less miles per annum on average than newer cars, and also that the longer a car lasts, the lower is the environmental cost per mile of the processes involved in its manufacture. Maybe we’re pushing his fiscal logic a bit far here – but thanks anyway Gordon!
Photo Feature in Mercedes Enthusiast Magazine – September 2006
Tim Slade from Mercedes Enthusiast magazine visited us recently to do a photo feature on our “as new” 1973 350SL roadster and our gorgeous S600 Coupe. Look out for the articles in the October 2006 issue.
Open day for Mercedes-Benz Club Members – September 3rd 2006
On 3 September we hosted a gathering of the North-West section of the Mercedes-Benz Club. Members and their cars gathered at our premises from 10.00am for coffee, pastries and a wander around our cars. At about 11.30am we all departed for a pace-noted mystery tour and observation quiz around the Cheshire lanes, ending at the Sutton Hall Country House Hotel for a sumptuous lunch, where we presented a modest prize for the winners of the quiz. The weather stayed fine, despite threatening rain, and over 30 members attended, in around 17 cars. Everyone said how much they enjoyed it.
Modern or Modern Classic? – The Debate Hots Up! March 25th 2006
The April 2006 edition of Mercedes Enthusiast Magazine contains an informative article comparing the practicalities and costs of owning either a 5 year old current shape C Class saloon or an 11 year old E Class cabriolet as a main car. With both cars costing around the same money to buy, the laurels go to the cabriolet, principally because it is a thoroughly satisfying drive, well able to stand up to the stresses of present day motoring, whilst achieving near zero or even negative depreciation.
If you agree with their findings (needless to say we do) you will find a mouthwatering selection of no less than five E Class cabriolets on our Cars for Sale page.
We’ve Moved! – March 1st 2006
We are pleased to announce that we have recently moved to larger premises near Prestbury, Macclesfield, where we can display even more lovely cars to our customers. Look on our Cars for Sale page to see them. Call us on 01625 260913 or 07980 241177 if you would like to view them.
Honest John Goes for Quality – January 28th 2006
Those of you who take the Telegraph on Saturdays will be familiar with motoring guru “Honest John” and his forthright views based on many years in the motor trade. He is a long term fan of the E Class cabriolet, and came out firmly behind it again in his January 28th column.
Faced with the problem of recommending a “car to enjoy” for a Mini Cooper and Motorbike driving enthusiast, he came up with a shortlist of a 2000 Mercedes SLK 320, 1997-1999 Porsche Boxster 2.5, 2000/2001 BMW Z3 3.0 and 1993-1996 Mercedes 320CE/E320 cabriolet. Needless to say, the cabriolet was the top choice. In his words: “A previous recommendation now holding its price very well. Stunning looking car…..”
The Mercedes-Benz Annual Club Ball – January 28th 2006
Errr…. yes she looks (and sounds) like Tina Turner, but she’s no lady! Crossdressing was the order of the day, for the entertainment at least, at the 13th annual MB Club Ball, held at Oulton Hall near Leeds. Once the chaps had come to terms with the fact that the strapping lass they were eyeing up was in fact a BLOKE, everybody had a great time, and we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends as well as having a boogie.
Classic Motor Show – 4-6th November 2005
We were completely bowled over by all the people who came to see us on our stand at the Classic Motor Show at NEC on 4-6 November (and even more so by those who bought our cars!). The pace never slackened for the whole three days, and we were pleased to act as a refreshment and rest point for our friends in the Mercedes-Benz Club and other Mercedes-minded enthusiasts.