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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Enjoyed A Drive Lately?

It's been a year again since I have been driving in the streets of Metro Manila almost on a daily basis lately and if I'm not doing that I'm dozing off in one of the most modern buses plying EDSA and the South Side of the Metropolis. I would admit I'm not really keen in driving a "lesser" car anytime. Now I can relate how foreigners think of us as motorists in general. Anyway, here are few of my observations from the past twelve months of driving.


Smart Cars Are Mostly Driven By Dumb Drivers

New cars today contains a lot of acronyms that even someone with PhD can't catch up with. CVT, VVT, EFI, TDi, CDi etc. good enough to fill an alphabet soup. In the parking lot I can still see cars that are obviously equipped with backing sensors...and dented bumpers.

Cheap Motorcycles, Cheap Fuel

Obviously what's creating havoc in the streets of Metro today. Every morning, my breakfast will not be complete without an early morning news of an accident involving illegally tuned cheap motorcycle. Add it with fuel price spiraling downwards and you got a dangerous combination of a nincumpoop who can afford to buy fuel and ride like hell.

Can Drive But Can't Read

I really wonder how LTO is examining drivers these days. There's a nonsense on-the-spot drug test that barely deliver its purpose. To my little surprise, I still caught drivers who can't even tell a road sign written in alphabet means. Freight trucks that are not allowed to cross particular bridges still do the opposite with total disregard to the lives of others.


But so much for that. Driving in Metro Manila can become a stress reliever rather than stress giver, oftentimes the relief is coming from being even. And despite this Filipino immaturity to road safety there are times and I will tell when driving is truly a breeze, specially with a classic Mercedes-Benz.

It's Holiday

And you think bringing your Benz out is a good idea? Unless you want to unnecessarily stress an aging ride then go ahead. Rat racers think the same and holidays are like giant Pied Piper.

Shopwise P. Tamo

Going to Work

Filipinos love to cram. That's not rant, it's a fact. Work starts at 0830H most of them will leave home at 0700H to enjoy traffic jams. And the worst part, they will compare how bad traffic here than in any place in the world. Early birds catches the fastest worm. Early morning drives are the best time to drive listening to the engine's gentle hum at 80km/h and climbing.

Klaudia @ Shell Susana Hts.

Driving Home

The part I hate most is to mix with jerks on the road. And that is the time to go home and other drivers doesn't seem to have the intention of doing so. There are a couple of ways to deal with it; stay late in the office or leave on time not a minute late. In this way you'll enjoy the best drives the Metropolis can offer that any traffic-jam-brainwashed flip will keep on driving at snail pace despite a smooth and spacious road ahead, I'd say wake up that chap with a loud air horn. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Merry Mercedes Christmas To All

2008 has been a very interesting and rewarding. Patiently, Klaudia is being brought back in shape and has been stubbornly reliable. On my first anniversary of Mercedes-Benz ownership, it's PHP139,000 worth of spending upon checking her service records. Crazy as others may think on why someone would spend like that on something that can't be resold at a prime value. That is called the happiness money can't buy.


Bringing back to life dead and dying components in her are just some of the simple joys of having her around to take care of. Idling like a fairly new car, can still whip a nasty surprise to the people who thinks she's already old.

I took Klaudia because I believe in Mercedes-Benz's value proposition; Only a Mercedes can be at par with another Mercedes. It doesn't matter if others has higher horsepower, better tuned and well calibrated. The bottomline is Mercedes-Benz is what others want to be associated with.

W201 vs. E30

My Mercedes-Benz ownership was never about prestige or caprice. Contrary to what "practical" people have known, it's cheaper to maintain than a younger Honda Accord. With oil prices dropping, fuel cost is not a valid argument as of this writing. Just like any other car, a well-maintained Mercedes is a reliable Mercedes.

Wet Scene

Owning a Mercedes comes with great responsibility. If someone just want to get one for the looks and the pomp of it please just buy another car. A Mercedes deserves a much more responsible owner whether it's old or new.

And this Christmas, I'm glad that I got to save Klaudia and put her back on the road in the state that she truly deserves and more. And hopefully, she'll spend more years providing great driving experience for me and to the future generation of Mercedes-Benz lovers. Happy Benz Motoring this Christmas!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

So, Buying A Classic Mercedes?

It's been a while since my last post and as we all know we're not yet in the middle of a global financial crisis, we're only at the tip of it, the middle is yet to come. In light of all these, I have to work double time as well. Now, I got a bit of luxury to relax and note my observations on my favorite automotive marque.

Given this situation, one would ask "Why buy a Classic Mercedes today?". One good reply can be "Why not?". It's not about trying to satisfy one's caprice or going against the advises of the "practical" people or even enhance one's status symbol. In some cases, buying a classic Mercedes is even more rewarding than buying just another brand new vehicle which any moneyed bigot can do.

This write-up will not try to pull off a point-by-point buyer's guide, there's just so much of it in the Web. So going back to the real topic; Why buy a classic Mercedes? Classic Mercedes-Benz cars ranges from modern classics with road-going age of ten to twenty-five years, true classics that goes on for thirty years over and vintage which are mostly museum artifacts. We'll basically cover modern and true classics.

These Cars Were Designed With The Car In Mind

The purpose of the car is to move people and goods from one place to another. Recite it four times. So what is Mercedes-Benz value proposition here? A classic Mercedes-Benz has served this purpose gazillion of times and will do more in to the future. With fuel prices plunging as of this writing, a false sense of environmentalism will be sent to the backburner and it's the best time to own a classic Mercedes.

W123 in Kamuning

These Classics Are Easy To Fix

And relatively cheaper too. Mercedes-Benz classics, when handled by the right people, will go a long way, they're so tough they almost live forever. Before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Manila is already enjoying the sight of this great German import, it has stood the test of time and crisis here longer than any Japanese, Korean or even other German brands in this part of the planet. Therefore motor shops that are specializing in servicing these classics are not really hard to find.

Red Pagoda

Nobody's Perfect

It's a fact. Whether we like it or not there will be lemons in our lives. Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to this as well specially when they started incorporating computer technology into these cars and depended heavily on it. I'm a software developer, not the best in the world, and the one dumber than me might have programmed for one of the chip that goes in one of these soon-to-be modern classics. I don't need to imagine how is it going to look like, I always see cars like this whenever I visit my mechanic and it never seems to leave the place.


All in all, these are just the fun and excitement of owning a classic Mercedes-Benz whether it's a W123, W201, W116 etc. these are the classics you can return to when you got sick and tired of high-technology nonsense.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Too Busy These Days

A lot of stuff is keeping me from posting some thoughts about the Three-Pointed Star these days. And right now, I'll just post a real quick one. We are all aware of US-driven Global Financial Crisis that will going to ping like dominoes in all the shores of the world, but despite these crappy scare tactics and learning the hard lessons of just how much the world consumers are willing to pay for a barrel of oil (and these glorified jerks knew that people are smart enough to put a stop on buying when the smell of greed is all around), it is always safe to say that "all is well" in our part of the shore specially whenever a stately Mercedes-Benz breeze through our streets.

There's just a noticeable number of W124s plying around the Metropolis, not much W201s as compared against the BMW E30 (let's keep it that way), W123s of varying states some are eye candies and some are simply eyesores. Surprisingly, there are new S-Classes barreling down the roads as well which gives an investor a hint that our place has a very interesting market today. Another good sign to tell are pocket of enthusiasts mushrooming from different communities sharing their passion for the marque all purely for the fun and love of it sans strings.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Interview with Bruno Sacco

The World Wide Web is so dynamic that sometimes valuable information that we stumble upon today may no longer be available tomorrow for some reason such as the site administrator may no longer keep up with the tedious demands of maintaining and archiving static data.

So while I'm on it and googling "W201 Retro Design Concept". I'm going to make a small breakdown of what I have stumbled upon, Automobile Magazine's Marc Nordeloos Q & A session with the legendary Mercedes-Benz designer; Bruno Sacco. So without any futher adieu. Enjoy!

Automobile Mag: What Mercedes-Benz models do you consider to be your best designs?

Mr. Sacco: The 1980s W126 S-class, the 1990s R129 SL, the CLK, the SLK, and the W220 S-class that debuted in the late 1990s. But my favorite is the Mercedes-Benz 190 [W201] because of its importance to Mercedes.

I must agree that the W201 may not be the best Mercedes-Benz model but it's sure was very important to Mercedes-Benz especially when it was under intense pressure from competitors.


Automobile Mag: Is there a model you designed that you're unhappy with?

Mr. Sacco: The W140 S-class from the early 1990s, because it is four inches too tall.

I'm not sure about it since I'm no big fan of Big Benzes. Some may like it a lot but this particular model wasn't made based on the designer's ultimate wishes.

Automobile Ma: What current designs do you like?

Mr. Sacco: I like what Cadillac is doing with some of its models. I did not like the Allant, but the Evoq show car and the XLR are good designs. It's nice to see manufacturers come up with a new design language and develop it. But it is important to be careful which models a company chooses to feature an edgy design.

Yes, edgy is the new sexy.

Automobile Mag: What current designs make you shake your head?

Some of the SUVs from Korea. Also, BMW seems to lack a clear focus on its design theme. It is important to balance classic design themes when developing out-there designs.

And ACTYON is what I have in mind!

Automobile Mag: What non-Mercedes designs are your favorites?

Mr. Sacco: The Lamborghini Miura, the Ferrari 275GTB, and--although I know it's a Mercedes--the Gullwing.

Who would go wrong for a Gullwing?

Automobile Mag: What are your thoughts on retro design?

Mr. Sacco: It's popular and it helps sell cars, but it offers little perspective on design. I do like the Mini, though.

The Mini, The FJ Cruiser, The Shelby. The W201 retro? Somebody should run a design contest for this!

Automobile Mag: What cars do you own?

Mr. Sacco: A Mercedes 560SEC. I love the car except for the large, plastic door-handle surrounds. I am considering having my car modified to fix this design flaw.

I can't wait to see this Super Mercedes flaw fixed.


Automobile Mag: Say you have a long weekend ahead of you. What do you drive and where do you go?

Mr. Sacco: I would take a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren to Paris.

Now I gotta grab my camera and spot an SLR McLaren. See you around!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Battle of Spa Francorchamps

It may sound like a scene in World war I with exchange of mustard gas and deadly shells from the howitzers. But honestly, it's nothing close to that. Circuit de Spa Francorchamps is one of the most challenging race venue to any racing events that it has hosted since its inception. Designed by Jules de Their and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, and was removed from the F1 calendar in 2006 due to financial, sponsorship and legislative problems, the circuit has been a favorite of many racers for its hilly, fast and twisty nature. From the head of starting line it spans to 14km of pure adrenaline pumping well-rolled asphalt up to the tail of the finishing line. Over the years, from Playstation to the real thing, Spa Francorchamps has never ceased to amaze the drivers and equally the fans. Although the chicanes, the twists and turns hasn't change much, but the surprises and the racing drama are always new.

Mercedes-Benz is never a stranger in this battlefield of speed, wits and endurance without compromising safety of both machines and the men who drives them. Noting the mean machines that negotiated the Masta Kink, Eau Rouge, Raidillion, The Bus Stop Chicane to name a few which is easier to mention than to receive doses of G's from it at the scruciating speeds of 200kph or even 300kph plus. Starting with the 300 SEL 6.8 V8 in which Aufrecht and Melcher has first proven their mettle as the official racing gearheads for Mercedes-Benz.

Following the legacy was the W201 190E 2.3-16 of the Deutsch Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) that showed serious surprises for BMW and Auto Union (Audi).

Up to one of the most dramatic chases completed recently by a Mclaren MP4-23 in the Belgian Grand Prix 2008 that sends one of Ferrari's wonder wheels crashing to the barrier.

Racing for the conquest of Spa Francorchamps forces a team to think hard out-of-the-box without resorting to misadventurism. Going through what the rule book doesn't cover from the art of calibrating the necessary controls, additional aerodynamic enhancers, the precise call to choose the right tyres for the unpredictable weather, a sane mind at an insane moment, a demanding pressure from an equally experienced opponent, highly-trained technical team of pit stop crews are just some of the few things to consider in conquering this crazy battlefield which is a bitter tangible testament that Filipinos can't race yet because after all, this is not just a competion of cars, Spa Francorchamps is a test of team dynamics to its fullest.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Their Multivitamins

Human beings can't live by bread alone. Because we need a balanced nutrition and as we grow older we need more and more of them and we obtain them through different sources such as supplements in the form of multivitamins that we won't normally get through our regular food(fuel) consumption.

Same goes to the modern classics that we own including my aging but still nimble W201. Depending on the owner's preference, Mercedes-Benz classics may or may not need a supplement in the form of oil conditioners (not for your hair), fuel treatments, fuel injection cleaners, fuel system cleaners. So I asked my trusted Benz Meister if these substances are cool to use for my classic, he highly recommended the use of those things since he's aware on how keen I am in spelling off the previous owner's stigma from the car. From my first day of ownership, the fuel system has been patiently worked on; taking down the tank to have it cleaned, replacing the fuel filter and fuel accumulator, no need to replace the fuel pump since it's still new.

At that time, the only thing that hasn't been done was to completely clean the fuel system; from the lines to the injectors and without knowing how much gum, varnish and moisture are stuck in one of the most fundamental system of an automobile, the best approach is always to consult a "qualified" expert to decide on what is the best way to address this issue. And infusing an agent is the most practical approach.

Good thing there was a company who demonstrated a product in an auto show that was actually what I'm looking for, so I purchased but still hesitant to put it on until it's time to do the regular tune-up and oil change, I asked my trusted Benz Meister again if this is the right thing to do and I got a nod, vertically. So the first choice was from the company called Chemisch Technische Produktion GmBH. And the product is a self-explanatory Fuel System Cleaner.

All that is needed is to pour this product to a half-tank or 3/4 full tank of petrol during oil change. As from any other promises, I didn't expect the effect to be immediate, it's like a bitter pill or like cooking first-batch pancakes on a pre-heated stove, it's never perfect because, of course, the initial chunks of undesirables are pushed out to the intake manifold and burned together with the fuel including water, imagine how any type of petrol-injected engine will react to that process. The effect became more obvious on the following days; reduced (sometimes none) white smoke on a cold morning start, more stable idling, smoother throttle feel, cooler and more responsive engine. It has somehow lubricated the fuel pump to perform better.

One caveat, though it should rather be a rule than an exception, before using such substance in your favorite classic it is always advised to make sure that the powerplant and its subsystems are maintained religiously and is working in a roadworthy condition. It has always been a false misconception that the use of these car care products are perceived as silver bullet to eliminate common engine problems permanently which leads to frustration and further waste of money due to gross negligence on the belief that these products, again, will cure every engine problem permanently. Just like our multivitamins, it's a defense against sickness, not a cure.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shooting With The Star

In the Philippines, it's quite a challenge to conceptualize a car photograph that can exude elegance of the classic and the contemporary and sometimes it is achieved by not just exposing too much heavy metal in the "frame", it is also a combination of a living being and the machine that goes with it.


A human element with the subject truly adds more value in the overall image.


Even if it's too late to make a sales brochure for this Pagoda, it looks contemporary with the younger generation.


And sometimes one might think it wasn't even shot yesterday!


These precious metals sometimes tend to manifest their joy on such moment, that one might think they had a persnolity of their own.


Such occasion is a rare opportunity in this part of the world and some enthusiasts of the marque and the people who took part on this endeavor will find that this is a fulfilling experience.


Thanks to:

Route 66 For the R107 and W113
ModelzWorld for the moral support
To the model, you know who you are :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Hunt Continues...

A couple of nights ago, I received an SMS ending in these words; "...buyers are not a problem Jared, our concern is the supply..." and it fell on me that I'll be rolling in this nice-to-have-problem after having the hint of knowing that one was sold in just less than twenty-four hours for a relatively cheap sum of one-point-six million pesos. This hot gray-market merchandise that I'm referring to is no other than the Mercedes-Benz W113 Pagoda SL.

I have never driven a Pagoda but I understand its enthusiast's ecstatic feeling whenever they are behind the wheel. Like from my previous post regarding this model, it de-stresses one from the high-tech pomp and pageantry and just mind the simple pleasure of driving, giving its driver "full control" of everything.

Driving the Pagoda is about taking guts and taking control. The driver takes control of the car, not the other way around. It's all about freedom from worries of a mundane life. And this rare opportunity is only offered by a Pagoda. This rarity is what put Pagoda's value in its ridiculous levels. Every phone calls I make, every SMS I send, people I know are also queried with the same question "Do you know anyone who's ditching a Pagoda?". Strangely enough even with the unstable oil price, there's a respectable number of buyers who's eager to get their hands on one before they die.

Owning a Pagoda is not about "status symbol", it's about the love of driving whether it's automatic or manual. Its technological genius was never manifested in the cabin, but in the powerplant, drivetrain and steering that directly contributes to the fun of driving it. And I guess I will go as far as stopping a driver and make an irresistible offer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thank you Readers!!

After just 27 posts, we hit paydirt in Google search results with keywords ranging from "benz", "pagoda", "AMG", "chedeng", "W201", "W113", "W108", "190E", "Baby Benz" and many, many more in relation with the Philippine internet landscape. This site manage to be in one of the leading results. To those who have done their searches and managed to drop by and enjoyed what they found. Thank you very much!

Proximity-wise, I would like to thank the surfers of Batangas, they seem to really like Mercedes-Benz as they are in the top of the site's statistics, profuse thanks as well to the readers from Pasig for staying at an average of 14 minutes to each article and as second top visitor to the site. Internationally, I would like to thank the readers from Hong Kong as the top international visitors to the site, I would also like to thank Mercedes-Benz Club of Singapore as the top international referring site, please do visit us in Manila and we'll tour you to some of the classics here, you guys are fun!

Our future posts will always be loaded by the usual well-taken shots of our favorite Mercedes-Benzes around the country and around the suburbs and some fun-filled fairy-tales about it :)) All these we'll promise to deliver but don't expect us to:

1.) Beg to borrow a ride from anyone just to say "Heck, I drove it blah, blah" for a nonsense review.

2.) To be self-righteous just to serve the few.

3.) Widen our papers to fill every role in the attainment of Utopia.

4.) To imbalance our ecosystem and the Yin and Yang. As usual we'll be having our fair load of mooncakes, tofus, beancurd, kimchis and ricecakes.

5.) Photoshop our pictures, that makes me cringe. Natural is Job #1

Thanks for putting us where we are now, there's no stopping this site from delivering one of your doses of Mercedes-Benz reading assignments. Rest assured this is going to be just one of the kind. Keep the search engines busy and enjoy your reading! Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Dreaming Stops When The Buying Starts

That's the case if you're in the market for a ricer. But for the loyal Mercedes-Benz fans, the dreaming never stops. To the thirty-somethings, that one great European Dream Car has once passed their brainwaves in several of their nocturnal journeys, whether it's a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo or even Volkswagen. But somehow during the turn of their careers they have to settle for something less because that's the choice offered to them either by force or by circumstance. Well, that's how the ricers make business; by force or by circumstance not by following ones ultimate crazy decision.

Now that you finally made it and you finally arrived and no longer under the whims of "Dad-can-I-have-a-Mercedes-instead-of-a-Corolla-next-year?" or "Dear-we-don't-need-a-Mercedes-a-Space-Wagon-is-just-fine". There's no stopping you from making that crazy dream of yours to reality. You earned it.

So there you go, jumped in to the classifieds online frantically looking for that Mercedes you really wanted and...Surprise! You're in for some real top and tough choices.

The Brand New

Of course, nobody's stopping you right? So it's got to be simple. Have a catalog ready, call a dealer, tell them to cut the bullsh*t because you already know the color and the model you wanted, ask for a test drive, cut a cheque, have the paperworks done and deliver the car to your garage the next day. Fun Factor: Zero.

But of course, there's the obligatory slamming of all the doors repeatedly to let the neighbor's know you "arrived". You're driving smoothly and out of the blue, you run over a nine-inch nail. And as usual, you have to replace the tyres by yourself. Unfortunately, you can't crank the engine because the system is telling you that tires are incorrectly placed and you have to call a roadside assistance. Perfect!

The Pre-Owned Empire

Certified or not certified these clunkers are definitely pre-owned which means someone has deflowered them before you do. You are in this market because now you learned the hard way that they don't "build cars like they used to" anymore and you don't want to spend money just to look stupid by the roadside waiting helplessly for that roadside assistance and that's very "unpowerful".

But of course, you also want to make your choice in this market to be "right the first time". But there's no such thing as "right the first time", the previous owner's wrongdoings in the car is your gallant mission to correct. Even if you have done your homework, followed the so-called expert's advice on what to look at, you still don't know what to look at because excitement will always be in the air.

You finally saw what you wanted and did an initial ocular inspection of the car, knocked the fender twice, popped the bonnet and peek through the engine block as if you really know what you're trying to look at; so far, so good for a small purse. You did a test drive and definitely the car will run according to the current owner's stupid preferences with "this-must-be-set-first-and-that-must-be-switched-first-and-that-and-that". So you haggle for further discount because you knew there's always something to fix contrary to the "nothing-to-fix" campaign in the ad and the owner gave in. And you demanded the documents, seeing that it's not registered in the owner's name and it's not clean, you didn't walk away as per the "by-the-book" advice of the so-called experts because you know that this is going to be a great car and the pride of walking through corridors of power just to get those papers laundered will be a pubic-hair-to-your-hat thing, a thing to brag in a drinking binge. So again, you haggled further for the bargain that you have never done before and it's so ridiculous that you seal the deal with a handshake and an earnest money.

Finally you're driving the car back home by yourself knowing what you're getting yourself into hoping that someday, under your helm, the Mercedes you just rescued will get back to its original glory.

It's true that the dreaming never stops when it's about our beloved marque. But the funny thing is, the dreaming seems to be more of the backward wish rather than embracing the breakthrough innovations, flashy dashboard stuff, ecological efficiencies, it's always about those great things, about those "great cars that they used to build". Because the past is all about commitment to reliability and integrity in the more personal rather than the unproven and unconfirmed environmental way.


Route 66 - For Chester
CATS - For the ML and C-Class

Monday, August 4, 2008

The F1ghting Star

What comes to your mind when these words get in to your ears; Hamilton, Kovalainen, The Safety Car, MP4-23? They all officially carry the three-pointed star in the Grand Prix of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the highest class of automobile racing, better known to the couch potatoes, bums and dumbasses as "F1" and when asked what it means they will just say "Eff-One". I don't watch it fervently and religiously but I'm aware that the W125 is not the W124 successor.

It irks me when hearing conversations about these F1 superstars as if these asshats talking knows what's on the mind of these "G" junkies. There's just too much assumptions which shuns me away from this mouthfarting.

But the latest Hungarian gig, at least, made this traditional balls-in-the-neck ceremony a little more dramatic. With pizza-boy Felipe Massa on an "almost-there-but-not-there" attempt to snatch the great champagne leading three laps to go and a blown skillet is really a tough luck. Rice boys Barrichelo and Nakajima were treated to a carbon dioxide foam shower party when their ricers caught fire while refueling at the pit so tougher luck for them. And of course, Kovalainen won the bio fuel cooking contest by passing off the chequered flag ahead of the pack. MP4-23 is indeed a "dumbo that can fly".

The MP4-23 is driven by a Mercedes-Benz FO 108V 2.4 liter 32 valve V8 engine with 90° bank angle, enthusiasts can consider this another RekordWagen. To the dumbwits "FO" does not mean "F*ck Off", that's the designation for "Formula One". So what's the fuss with these "MP4"? First, I don't think the guys at McLaren love guns, otherwise they will be in a different sport. It's not also the next-generation audio format that Apple will going to sell to your grandchildren. MP4 stands for "McLaren Project 4" and definitely, it's not based somewhere in Quezon City! And the last two digits, by Mercedes-Benz tradition, is always the serial of the current RekordWagen.

McLaren Group, founded by Bruce McLaren, the beauty of sole proprietorship, you can always name your outfit with your full family name, unlike AMG or CosWorth. McLaren, just like Cosworth is also a profound British Influence in the development of some of Mercedes-Benz's "Reihe" cars, commonly known as the SLRs.

In its theater of operations, the FO 108V can only do so much as per FIA regulations. In fact, its design were constrained by several FIA restrictions which means slowing down is virtually not allowed. In the event of a regulated pace due to an untoward incident in the raceway when these "G" junkies got a little too excited, marshalled by a CLK 63 AMG Safety Car that can't even keep up to the slowest cruising speed of an F1 racing car, the FO 108V has a tendency to overheat. And this is where the driving skill plus the luck will come into play.

Just like any lessons learned through the necessity of struggle. Derivatives from the research and development acquired in the circuit, test chambers and drawing boards were also applied to the assembly plants building the next-generation street cars, needless to say, with F1 technology, at the expense of corporate sponsor's money; makes good business.


Lothar Spurzem - W125
Mark McArdle - MP4-23 - CLK 63 AMG

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mercedes Gyms

If Sacco and Werner has Unterturkheim to do the final tests and tuning of their wonderful projects. Where do we bring ours to really take care of these great work of automobile art and keep them roadworthy?

For those who owned nice Benzes that are Euro-4 compliant, with 7G-tronic transmission, electronic coolant flow control (goodbye mechanical thermostats). A local Mercedes-Benz dealer with service bay in its backyard is the better option to go with. Be aware that when you bring your W123s and W124s in this service centers, the mechanics and technicians may not be "out-to-date" in their trainings so you might end up overcharged and underserviced.

So where do these old-school Benz owners like me bring their wagens for periodic pampering? Before I start, I'm not going to bash or endorse any of these old-school Benz shops around town as this has been said in the local forums already. But I will just drill down on several variations that a Benz owner will encounter in his/her lifetime of joy or punishment depending on where his/her beloved machine will end up.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Benz Meister

These neighborhood shops are like "Q" ships, they looked like an old junkshop from the outside but on the inside, it's a mini-museum of your favorite classics. It's like a car show/museum with a never-ending "under construction" look. The head guy in these "Q" ships are normally in their senior years, gained experience in servicing several hundred cars like your Benz from an oil-rich country or from Stuttgart itself, exudes strong personality and knows what he's talking about, never hesitates in sharing his tips and tricks. Their enclaves normally has a 2-post lifter, so they can seriously service the underlings of your priced old-school Mercedes. Most of the time, these shops only serves our beloved marque. They got their customers from word-of-mouth of other satisfied customers.

The Enthusiast/Hobbyist

Mostly, these are not trained professionals. They got their knowledge of the marque and how to tweak it through collection of books and Do-It-Yourself experiences. They also keep a good collection of their own Benzes. Sometimes if you're lucky, you'll just have to buy the parts and they will fix your car's problems free-of-charge. Their work area is normally their garage, complete with tools and sometimes equipped with a lifter. The conditions of these garages varies from obsessively-compulsive squeaky clean to a typical "Q" ship. Normally, these guys don't seek customers and if they will work on a project car, they will charge according to how your car should look like and behave in the end and not usually how you want it to be in the end. These are artisans, they normally "outsource" highly-technical jobs to other competent people they trust.

The Indie

These breed is the "Lone Warrior" type. Very well-known in his home-service style of fixing and tuning up your Benz. Sometimes these Indies have their own small shops or they are employed/outsourced by the "Q" ships or The Hobbyist and moonlighting as an independent contractor. These group of species are capable of light mechanical works such as tune-ups and small body works. These guys are ideal to work with if you want to grease your own garage or annoy the neighbors with the incessant revving of your engine.

In being fit, there's a saying "NO PAIN, NO GAIN". Then try this...

The Japanese Gigolo

Want to cook rice? These guys has a different assumption on how your European car should run and if your school of thought agrees with them then good luck on your pain. Start driving into their garages and you will see the beginning of the death of your three-pointed star. These bunch has their own share of hobbyists and indies but no "Q" ships because most of them reflects the image as what they are working on. In this domain, "conversion" is the name for repairs.

The Gypsy

Or the "Jeep-sy". What would you feel when you bring your Benz to a shop who claims can fix it and one day you'll see a jeepney or a very low-displacement japanese ricer inside being serviced and your car is parked by the roadside languishing under the heat of the sun and at the risk of being dinged by pedicabbies in which you can only get back with the unnecessary vulgar display of power? Well, you'll just feel the blood rushing up to your head and that is the gain out of this pain.

It's not really hard to keep a Mercedes-Benz fit for running up to the legal Skyway speed limit. It's just a matter of getting into the right place and the right person doing the job.


Mercedes-Benz Classic Corporate Archives - Sacco and Werner Photo

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The British Influence

Even before Aufrecht and Melcher settled in Affalterbach, there was a British racing engine company founded by Mike COStin and Kevin DuckWORTH, taking hints from the prefix and suffix of their respective family names, obviously, the company I'm referring to is called Cosworth. Just like Aufrecht/Melcher (AMG), Steve Jobs/Wozniak(Apple), Bill Gates/Paul Allen(Microsoft) and of course Daimler/Benz, one has to be the technical wizard and one has to be the entrepreneur. No success is guaranteed if these pairs are both experts in one specialty.

Founded in 1958, Cosworth has seen success building high-performance engines and branded them Ford through the years until it became the company's technology and racing division.

September 1980, Mercedes-Benz has sent its M102 2.3L 8-valve engine to England and ordered to drill eight more holes to its cylinder head to achieve 320 horsepower to the much-anticipated racing version of the soon-to-be launched W201 190E. The engine has been fondly known to its enthusiasts as 2.3-16 Cosworth.

Consisting of light-alloy cylinder head, roller chain-drive dual overhead camshaft and sixteen valves. It is not called 2.3-16 for nothing. Putting it all together plus M102's already oversquared engine block is an excellent combination for an element of surprise. Even before the stickers "16 VALVE" started making its way to the rear windshields of the front-wheel drive Japanese ricers, this work of engineering marvel is the true pioneer.

Buzzwords will surely pop out when the 190E 2.3-16 becomes the subject of discussion among enthusiasts with names such as Nurburgring(apologies for my US-locale keyboard), Ayrton Senna, Nardo, Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) also known as German Touring Car Championships coming out of their throats. For whatever records the 2.3-16 has achieved, those are searchable in Google and I don't want to retype them all over again.

From the outside, 190E 2.3-16 can be distinguished by its different airdam, sideskirts and spoiler. In the Philippines, sometimes the outer looks will not always tell the whole truth.

The innovations put together in this particular model is unprecedented in Mercedes-Benz history. The technology that was infused in this development has never been so interesting than adding 8 more valves, personalized climate controls, adaptive steering headlights, GPS navigation systems etc. of the later years to come.

Designed for racing and ultimate driving experience. This machine just like the BMW M3 E30, only with luck, can survive Metro Manila's monstrous traffic jams if driven at a wrong time. Unfortunately, for the uninitiated eye, the 2.3-16's resale value is preposterously overrated because those who are in the market for their first Mercedes-Benz, the 190E is always the "starter" candidate and a buyer doesn't really care whether it's eight or sixteen valve as long as it looks the same it should be appraised similarly.

Not exactly a perfect car, but surely, the strings and catches attached are not a high price to pay for The British Influence.


Route 66's anonymous customer - Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Super Mercedes

If it's not good enough yet. Bruno Sacco's super project turned over to Aufrecht and Melcher to become their super-super project, of course, we'll have a super WerkWagen. Without any further adieu, one of my much-venerated Mercedes ever.

The coupe to end all coupe. The Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG C126 is an unarguably a real Mercedes muscle, it's not just a Panzerwagen it's a Blitzwagen. Only 28,929 coupes where made from 1985-1991 or four thousand eight hundred twenty one and a lunch break were made per year. Only 2 known real WerkWagen arrived in the Philippines, one ended up in ashes and the other one is still kicking (but not the bucket).

An AMG Werkwagen, by the way, is not a Mercedes that is tuned and modded using all original AMG components inside a ghetto shop, it's a Mercedes that has been hand-stitched with AMG component at different AMG facilities that existed during C126 era.

This lovely beast is not called The Super Mercedes for nothing. With an AMG-tuned M117 V8 engine that yields 300+ horspower, I can put the label "Duck Rice with Soya Oil" to any Japanese Ricers of the same class today (if there is any).

The M117 engine has been around with Mercedes from 1969-1991, Mercedes-Benz engineering has been founded on solid platform that building its cars has been a modular affair. Observing keenly, Mercedes flagship cars that were sold from 1969-1991 only differed in looks, safety and aesthetics but the engine didn't change or the engine block, so to speak.

Inside, we'll be able to understand that Mercedes-Benz's business is all about building great cars and not electronics. The cathode-ray tube compact television may look so cool during the '80s but it's totally a joke by today's standards.

One of the most popular sci-fi TV show during the '80s was the Battlestar Galactica and surely, AMG will not fall behind. The standard controls, climate control buttons resembles much of those in the Viper(not the car, but the fighter).

One cannot appreciate the "Superness" of The Super Mercedes without taking it for a spin. Even with a not so perfect condition powertrain our very Super Mercedes immigrant still kicks up to 120kph in less than six seconds.

But due to the faulty transmission, power is quite difficult to tame and just like any other super creatures this one don't want to be taken with a good shot.

The Super Mercedes was one of the best works put together by Bruno Sacco and his team and with the ever-enthusiastic Aufrecht and Melcher. It's sad to know that they don't build Mercedes like they used to be because Mercedes-Benzes today are basically no longer designed by automobile designers and engineers but by scheming jokers, policymakers and Poison Ivies disguised as environmentalists.

Special Thanks To:

Route 66 - For The Super Mercedes and a great lunch at A La Diane