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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Auto Summit 2008

By accident, I stumble in a not-so-high-profile auto show in our favorite shopping place in the South. The Auto Summit 2008 in Festival Mall, Alabang is a typical car show in which half of the exhibitors are brand-new car dealers with really no interesting stuff to show.

There were several Japanese ricers modded for different types of competition. But what made this show interesting are the European entries. One that stands out obviously is the Ferrari, well I'm not an Italian engineering nut so I may not have an idea on what's the difference between a Ferrari F-this and a Ferrari F-that if I don't have a catalogue with me, but anyway, F*-that.

There was a lone muscle car as well, Chevy at that, but I guess this one is being used for drag racing.

Going around the show, I kept on wondering why there isn't a single Mercedes-Benz, what happened to the marque? I thought most people will stand down, hands up, step back or shiver upon hearing the word "Chedeng". But I couldn't find one single piece of the Three Pointed Star. I keep on reading about a lot of raves and rants about it here in the Philippines but WHERE IS IT?

Finally, my wife called up asking where the hell am I and demanded that I had to see her in a boutique somewhere, so I hurriedly left and along the way in a not so prominent corner of the mall. Finally, I sent an SMS that I'll be on hold for a while, I spotted not just another Mercedes-Benz but it's a rare silver E320, C124, blue-top convertible.

This beauty is not actually one of my favorite Mercedes-Benz. But it is a shame that it was placed in a spot where not much people are going to see it or even appreciate it. Since the Mercedes-Benz was unattended when I found it, I wasn't able to get in touch with the owner or person in charge with it so that I can exclusively feature it this blog later on.

Mercedes-Benz is very active in lots of high-profile events such as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz Open, Mercedes-Benz Cup etc etc. Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts should be more excited in putting in not one but more of these beauties and dominate the floor! But for now, we'll leave that honor to BMW and Honda. The MB nuts are not doing it and not making it happen so somebody else will and I salute this guy who put his C124 where at least people can see.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mercedes-Benz of the Week

Mercedes-Benz of the Week, is of course, a weekly write up of certain Mercedes-Benz model of interest that has been spotted and captured in the streets of Metro Manila. As a pilot article, the feature lucky model is the Mercedes-Benz AMG G-Wagen Kompressor or W463.

G-Wagen short for Geländewagen is a four-wheel drive or SUV conceptualized through the proposal for a military vehicle by the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a major Mercedes-Benz shareholder. The U.S. Marines has employed G-Wagens as Interim Fast Attack Vehicles (IFAV) in Iraq and Afghanistan which is more agile and nimble but lightly armored compared to a more burly, heavy-heeled and slower Humvees. G-Wagen has also served as a Popemobile

In the Philippines, a nice and smooth running G-Wagen is a rare site. It mostly dwells in the urban jungles most of the time and rarely hits paydirt.

G-Wagen is a basically a wolf in sheep's clothing. The body styling can easily feign weakness to clueless individual as compared to other SUVs in its class, it really looks cheap.

But just like the Humvee, it was intended initially for military purpose that has also earned a reputation as a FUNVee.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mercedes-Benz 190E vs. Honda City

Alright, alright you all know it's a mismatch. I just came from a stressful drive. In Manila, whenever there's a heavy downpour of rain all (I mean ALL) motorists are in panic mode scrambling to go home. And this afternoon I was caught in the middle of it. A little sprint from Amorsolo to Skyway-Nichols Tollbooth where traffic is slowly building up then a little sprint again to Bicutan off-ramp and then slows down approaching Sucat Exit. This is where the heat started when I tried to make my way to the leftmost lane since I have to go straight all the way to Susana Heights which is around 5 kilometers away. While signaling and inching my way leftward with every slightest opportunity. 18 years of driving in the streets of Metro Manila has already taught me hard lessons; Pure defensive driving is unsafe. You hesitate, you die.

So this is the story of one bigot Honda City owner, who thinks that all Benz owners shouldn't be yielded a right of way. But first, what is a Honda City?

This is a compact sedan a typical Japanese Ricer. Everything in this car is so stupid and backward, the design is totally the opposite of German engineering superiority. Believe me, I rather take a bus than to own this one.

So going back to this bigot gayf'cker, I'm really convinced that this gayf'cker hates anyone that drives a Mercedes-Benz, that the moment I took away the lane ahead of him he won't accept it and keeps blowing his Honda-tuned horn on me. "F'ckhead", I uttered and I pushed quickly at 80km/h away from the Sucat traffic jam and I knew he'll follow and he actually did, I can even hear his stupid car squealing in pain as if its power has already exceeded the limits. I pushed to 90km/h and the pulled a sudden drop to 80km/h and let him go ahead. I want to hear that tin can scream. Then he slams his brake, so I believe this fuckface is no sport. He wants a rear damage. Brought the drivetrain on third and slingshot from his ass. From rearview mirror I can see the desperate chase. I gave the cool smirk of "The Most Wanted" and ladies, he's now my wingman. At that point I can hear the 3000rpm+ sound of this rice-cooker, so I pulled in 4th, sink the pedal, he's 12 feet. I can sense he's in 5th coz the rice-cooker is about to get toasted! Going on 100km/h and I pushed on Klaudia's Holy Fifth Gear. Wham! the f'ckface is smokin'!

For one, that asshole-extraordinaire never did his math. 2.3L German engine against a 1.3L twisting aluminum China-assembled Japanese-designed engine, 124bhp versus what 3o? 40? The only thing I lost is my gas but so what everyone loses it anyway.

I'm not a Benz elitist and I don't want to be. But please, I just already made my point across, don't kiss my butt just for that.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Where Klaudia Keeps Fit

It's been seven months of my ownership with Klaudia, and so far driving is great as long as traffic is tolerable. Seriously, sometimes it hurts driving with a manual transmission in a traffic jam. But I still love manual transmission because it's more agile and nimble for a twenty-five-year-old car.

Rolling restoration is a tough game than I ever anticipated and right now I'm just keeping Klaudia running smoothly by taking care of mostly routine maintenance tasks without much upgrades being done so far. Fortunately, there are still competent ghetto Mercedes-Benz shops around the community that can handle Klaudia confidently. And they are even more competent than those wearing the coveralls.

Face off with the only worthy foe

A.T.E which is located in Daang-Hari and beside Ayala-Alabang Village is a regular shop to Klaudia's fixes. It has been a good shop for her from removing her non-functioning turbo, full-engine restoration, tune-ups, oil-changes, brake repairs and replacement. Soon she will undergo drivetrain and underchassis works. Recently, her eyes has just been replaced with a regular 100-watt Hella lamps from a disgusting yellow beam. She has been a workhorse for the family since she only one available (for now) to perform that task. Soon I'll have to find a partner/reliever. I don't want her to get "tired" soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pragmatic Driving

Drive defensively. That's what they say but in Manila, it's a different story. The more you drive defensively, the more you're going to cause accident; in broad daylight. Here's why, most private motorists around Metropolis has already accustomed to heavy traffic jam every single day. They drive slow most of the time and as a result their mindset on the road is slow and even in expressways they all drive dangerously slow! The minimum speed in our expressways is 60km/hour in the rightmost lane. Fast cars should be at 80km/hour in the middle and leftmost lane. But because of the slow mindset in head, slow drivers still takes up the leftmost and middle lanes! But doing this, it endangers motorists driving at the "right" speed at the correct lane as they will put themselves off-track and will need to change lanes and put another fast car in jeopardy.

But unfortunately, a lot of Filipino drivers don't get it. That they drive as dangerous as the overspeeding driver when they underspeed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Fuel Price And My Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to global fuel crisis. From Second World War, The Seventies Oil Crisis and to the Eighties Crunch. Mercedes-Benz automobiles may not be the most fuel-efficient automobiles around but they sure gets the job done whenever it's needed.

My W201 is no exception. It may be considered a gas-guzzler but it do accelerate on-demand. Currently it consumes around 7-8 km/liter on mixed city and highway driving. But just like any fuel-saving measures applicable to other cars. It is well-kept and itineraries are well-planned.

Driving the 190E, 25 Years Later...

I know it's a bit late to write a review for a car that has been around for twenty-five years. But what makes this particular model unique(or better yet, stand out) from the rest of the street cars that Mercedes-Benz has built? For this particular write-up, I'll be discussing about my own W201 and an honest assessment of what it has become.

I got my Baby Benz from a real estate agent who now settled for a "lesser" car. During my ownership there are a lot things that has been repaired, replaced and improved and named this beauty Klaudia, after a famous German supermodel. As of now, an IHI turbo has been removed, original Behr radiator has been replaced, second round of tune-up and oil change has been done, brakes has been overhauled, new sets of tires (Goodyear Eagle F1) has been installed. Actually, this baby is undergoing a rolling restoration.

Just like any other Mercedes-Benz, the 190E is a tank as long as the owner keeps it faithfully. Klaudia has seen hard driving in the city and in the country side, top speed that she can endure for now is around 110km/h to 120km/h But I guess it will improve drastically once I start working on the driveline (clutch, transmission etc.) and on the suspension too.

Going back from Nasugbu


Klaudia is a 1984 2.3-liter 8-valve US Version w201 with all options; ABS, Fuel Injection, all-disc brakes, 5-speed manual transmission, power seats, illuminated sun visors, power windows, central locks, power sunroof and other advance features that is being enjoy by Japanese ricers just recently. Driving Klaudia in a traffic jam is exhausting, just like any other car with manual transmission but on the highway it's a different story, it actually feeds dust to the Japanese ricers such as the Civic and the Altis. Klaudia combines looks and adequate power when needed.
In the Philippines, there seems to be really something when you're hauling the three-pointed-star (as long as you're not driving the MB-emulating jeepneys), it easily commands respect sans those commemorative plates, village stickers and other flaunting paraphernalia that most sissies will try to show off stuck in their ricers. It's just one of the beauty of driving the 190E.

The Key To Klaudia

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Mercedes-Benz 190E

For the enthusiast, it is also known as the W201 or the "Baby Benz" which was first produced in 1984. The W201 is also my first Mercedes-Benz and one of my dream Benzes. Probably one of the best designed automobile in the world. After 25 years, the physical attributes and the looks are still fresh and never goes out of style. The superior build quality is what make this particular a class act of its own.

Although there's a lot of praises and rants still needs to be written about this all-time favorite marque. I'll put it in several topics that will be more relevant and timely.

My Black Mercedes-Benz

A Lyrics borrowed from the song made popular by The Breed

in the cities in the highways
in the highrise or in the backrooms
in the hotels in your motels
do you know what's goin' on

in the mornin or in the evenin'
when the sun shines or when the sun sets
when the clock ticks or when the clock stops
when time just runs out on you

people fightin' and people cryin'
people tryin to get their hands on you
people dyin' of starvation
what are you gonna do?

while you're riding in a black mereedes benz
riding high in a black mercedes benz
you can't help go on in a black mercedes benz
inside a black mercedes benz

crooked rich man when you see a poor man
do the tears roll or do your eyes close
do the breaks lock or do you run him down
in your higher

be a big shot and let the shortstop
get to the top anyway you can
exploitaion no condemnation
in a nation justice you can buy

make a big deal and make some money
run down anyone who gets in the way
make your heart cold and make the cash flow
it's gonna make your day

don't you know we want some black mercedes benz
wants to buy himself a black mercedes benz
he's gonna die in a black mercedes benz
inside a black mercedes benz

death rides in a black mercedes
inside a black mercedes benz