This year, the sausage part of the evening was not held and we had a later commencement time of 7.30pm. We all arrived at MB Spares at the appointed time to be greeted by a very large Bentley which had completed two Peking to Paris races.
These are very large cars in every way, and you can understand why Ettore Bugatti referred to them as the fastest lorries in the world. There was nothing subtle about the car. John Green, our host, was gracious enough to start it and the noise was impressive. The exhaust was of the drainpipe variety.
The owner was to pick up the car later in the week and was driving it to Melbourne via Cooma, Jindabyne and Barry Way which takes you through Suggan Buggan were you cross the Snowy River, Buchan and either Orbost or Nowa Nowa. I have done the trip on a motorbike and the road is in parts challenging being mostly dirt to Buchan. If you have a suitable vehicle and time, it is and excellent and exciting way to travel south.
John then took us through the work that he is currently undertaking in the workshop. First up was the 190SL (pictured above left) which had been restored in the late 80’s early 90’s to a very high standard. Hardly used since the restoration, he was recommissioning the car. One thing that he was doing was fitting electronic ignition. While this is not original, it makes a huge difference to performance. I have done this to the green finnie. The car is easy to start, runs smoothly and feels as if it has more power and torque. It is a very beneficial and easy upgrade on the older models.
We also looked at a W108, 280SE on the hoist having its exhaust seen to. Another lovely car, that could be on the market soon. Next to the 190SL was a local W126 having its 4.2litre V8 rebuilt. Much to John’s dismay parts are not readily available and so much ingenuity is being used to rebuild the motor. If you want a good half hour conversation, talk to John about the motor.
He followed his presentation with a test which required us to name specialist tools and their uses, the winners receiving the right oil filter for their car. I must confess to being very perplexed by the tools on offer but I did recognise a hub cap puller after some thought. He had produced a Dremel which was used to fix non-returning blinker switches on early model Mercedes and a ring expander which I had never seen before.
Hidden in the workshop was an unrestored finnie which had been fitted with a 280 motor, hotter cam and twin Webers. This was being built as a fun car that could be driven around without worry and give everyone a surprise. The Americans have a name for these they are called "derelict cars”. The bodies are left in original condition but the mechanicals are completely rebuilt and enhanced. In the states the company most famous for this type of restoration is called Icon. We did not take photos as the owner wants to keep the car as an unknown for as long as possible.
It was a most enjoyable evening whilst not as big as past events because of the time, it was much more intimate and the cars on display were of excellent quality.
Once again on behalf of the club we must thank John for the evening.