This year an anniversary special was arranged by John Green to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of his business and also of the running of an event for members of the Mercedes-Benz Club.
The usual precursor for the evening was the traditional gourmet sausages, salad and liquid refreshments which were most enjoyable. A crowd of 50+ had arrived by the time the aroma of BBQ gourmet sausages filled the air in Lyell Street. This event normally attracts members from out of Canberra and it was pleasing to see members from Sydney, Goulburn and Bemboka in attendance. A number of women were also in attendance which was pleasing. Thank you for making the effort.
With such a large turnout it was impossible for John to do a conducted tour of his facilities so he improvised by splitting the gathering into three groups armed with detailed notes for a self-guided tour highlighting various restoration projects, cars, parts and other aspects of the business. Some of the projects I found particularly interesting included a W123 being prepared for the 2016 Peking to Paris Rally. This car was being prepared to mimic the Mercedes-Benz entered cars in the 1977 London to Sydney rally and it was amazing to see the alterations being made to make it rally ready for the arduous journey. I was on a round Australia trip with my family in 1977 and happened to be in Port Augusta when the Mercedes cars came through on the London to Sydney rally, and have since viewed the actual winning 280E W123 driven by Andrew Cowan housed in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. So this project was of particular interest to me. Another project was a 300d Adenauer undergoing a major restoration which had the body removed to show the bare chassis. It could have been a small truck to the uninitiated but it was fascinating to see the degree of design and engineering that went into a 1950’s limousine, including an amazing chassis lubrication system.
We all know that a proper restoration can take years and by coming to this event annually you sometimes spot a restoration that was in the workshop 12 months ago. This is evidenced by the restoration of a Binz conversion of a W111 to a station wagon that is gradually taking shape.
John concluded the night with a slide show presentation highlighting the origins of MB Spares from a time of dismantling cars in his garage at Jerrabomberra (to the dismay of neighbours no doubt!) to various premises in Lyell street. It was an interesting 20 year history recap which included photos of members Bob Sobey and Lindsay Miller indulging in their motoring passion many years ago.
I presented John with a plaque from the Club in appreciation of his continuing effort in running this annual event of interest to members.