Friday, January 31, 2014

The New Mercedes Benz V Class

Replacing "R" With "V"

Mercedes Benz Introduces A New Way To Travel In Class.

Few would admit they actually wanted a Minivan, yet the practical car-like van originally invented by Chrysler in the 1980's proved irresistible to many families.

With the demise of the traditional station wagon, The Minivan became the conveyance of choice for those needing to seat 7, until the SUV and Crossover SUV's entered the market.

The problem with SUV's, however, was that they didn't drive like a car. They were heavy, gas hogs and displayed handling characteristics that many drivers were just not prepared for - especially making long sweeping J-turns and praying to all the gods you could count you could keep the shiny side up.

Mercedes - aware of the public disdain for the boxy Minivan - introduced the R Series in 2006 - a minivan that didn't look like one; The R featured four real doors and luxurious seating for six or seven in a pinch. Unfortunately, sales proved less than robust and Mercedes withdrew the R Class from The USA in 2012.

Both Chrysler and Volkswagen have attempted to market to the luxury Minivan buyer.

Chrysler has long marketed the semi-luxurious Town & Country, and Volkswagen actually partnered with Chrysler to produce a Town & Country based variant called the Routan - featuring distinct VW fascia and upgraded dashboard.

Now Mercedes is taking the Minivan where it has never been before - creating a super luxurious version with a sumptuous interior with limousine seating for six or seven: The V Class.

Shown Above: The 7 Seat Configuration

The V-Class will be offered in two wheelbases and two configurations. Shown here
is the 6 seat option package.

Although no production dates for a US introduction have been confirmed, the van will be made available in two wheelbases for those desiring the ultimate in spacious travel. The van will be produced in Spain starting in 2015. Pricing is expected to be approx $60,000.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

560SL | The Next Collectible Mercedes-Benz Roadster.

  The Next Collectible Mercedes SL Roadster

     Now that the 230/250/280SL's have become priced out of sight, here comes the 560SL.

As recently as the mid 1990's, you could pick up a nice condition 1971 280SL Pagoda Roadster for around $20,000. Almost in the blink of an eye, that's what a basket case now goes for - with good condition examples regularly selling north of $75k and more.

There are good reasons for this: scarcity, limited production, and a demographic generational shift that shows the 50's and 60's muscle car prices have peaked and the next generation is after the desirable cars they remember - which mostly came from Germany in the 70's, 80's and early 1990's.

By all rights, the R107 SL's ( for Sport Light ) should be appreciating even more than they have, but the lengthy production cycle from 1973 through 1989 insured plenty were built, and the quality of the build insured most survived.

Collectors are zeroing in on the final muscle car series with the 5.6Litre V8's, produced for North America as The 560SL, specifically targeting the 1987, 1988 and 1989 production. Of this group, mileage and originality are playing a HUGE role in price appreciation, for as of early 2015:

Under 30,000 miles: $45,000+
Under 50,000 miles: $27,500+
Under 75,000 miles: $20,000+

Color is obviously subjective, but it stands to reason that after condition, the rarity of a color combination
also plays a role. Oddly, Black, Blue, Turquoise and Light Beige are the rarest colors - with
White, Red and Silver being the most common.

An original 1987 Mercedes Benz 560SL in Diamond Blue Metallic. These cars came with a meticulously fitted manually-removable hardtop and german canvas manual soft top- in this case, Navy.
The wide grille and prominent three-pointed star carried over from the previous generation.
The traditional hood ornament is replaced with a coin-type emblem. The fit and finish was beyond reproach.

For almost $70k, you got manual seats, a manual driver's mirror and manual top.
Electric creature comforts were limited to one zone climate control, electric windows, electric rear defroster and electric passenger mirror. The interior was all business: sparse by today's standards.
An original 1988 560Sl MSRP Window Sticker. With California being the largest market - add 8% sales tax and 2% registration and these were over $70k out the door.

Here's what CarAndDriver Magazine had to say in a recent article about the R107 Roadsters: ( A year later- prices had increased by 10%+ )

From the Feb 2014 issue of CAR and DRIVER magazine

The archetypal Mercedes-Benz SL has got to be the granite-sided and chamfered R107, a classically styled Benz roadster that came to embody filthy richness during its seemingly endless and unchallenged U.S. sales streak (1972 through 1989 model years). The R107 evolved in many ways over the course of  its long life span, generating a list of both must-have features and better-avoid issues for the prospective owner to ponder. Though well-preserved and -fettled versions still fetch big dollars, some homework can land you a ­reasonably priced example that will keep your maintenance-induced headaches to a minimum.

1972–1989 Mercedes-Benz SL-class Buyer's Guide: Get Pinkies-Out Fancy [Econo-Exotics]BODY

The things to look for in R107s are rust and any signs of damage that may otherwise go unmentioned or of which a seller may be unaware. The SL is known for impeccable bodywork and high-quality paint. Any unmolested version you look at should have tight, uniform panel gaps all around, and the doors should close with a solid thunk. Be sure to inspect the bolts that mount some body panels to the car: R107s were painted after the panels were mounted, so a broken paint seal on these bolts is a quick indicator that they’ve been removed or replaced, possibly to repair collision damage.
The U.S. R107s were fitted with 3.8-, 4.5-, and 5.5-liter V-8 engines over the course of their production run. Horsepower ranged from 230 in the 1972 350SL 4.5, down to 155 in the 3.8-liter 1981–85 380SL, and back up to 238 horsepower from 5.5 liters in the final years of the 560SL. We’d avoid the 380SL. Not only is it underpowered, but the 3.8-liter V-8 has timing-chain issues that are expensive to resolve.
Meeting federal standards required new emissions equipment in the 1975 450SL. The catalytic converter was under the hood, and a lack of ventilation caused overheating (Mercedes addressed this for the 1976 model). Also, 450SLs may have issues with the valves, controls, and other equipment in their climate-control system. Not only is the system a pain to operate, but it’s complex. The 380SL and subsequent 560SL have a push-button, vacuum-operated system, which has its own problems, including vacuum accumulators that go bad with regularity.
(Assumes excellent condition):

Timing-chain replacement$350$500–$1000
Front brake pads and rotors$200$150
Rear brake pads and rotors$180$150
Oil change$54$50
Valve job (560SL)$80$2400–$2500
Tuneup (plugs, points, air filter, fuel filter)$265$250
*Values provided by Black Book (

    Traditional Short Deck and Long Hood. Tail lights for the SL were similar to the S Class except the backup lights were moved inboard instead of centered. US regulations required the 3rd brake light add-on from 1986 through 1988 as shown; The 1989 was smaller and placed near the edge above the chrome star.

    As the owner of the car pictured, I can attest to the quality of these collectibles. Great power provides 0-60 acceleration in about 7 seconds and comes with expected below average gas mileage; As with most Mercedes, parts are easily available but never cheap - all the reason to buy the best example you can find.

    Our best estimate is that these cars are now appreciating at 10% per year and will rapidly accelerate in price as we reach 2019 and 30 years out of production.

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    The Cars Of The Beatles

    The Cars Of The Beatles:

    The Most Famous White VW Beetle In The World with Plate " 28IF "
    Automobiles Owned, Driven By, Seen In or Related to The Beatles 
    John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr.

    Above:The Beatles with John's Rolls Royce Phantom V
    Prior To The Psychedelic Treatment.

    Above & Below: Apple Records Bentley S1

    Each Member Of The Beatles Loved The Mini:

    Above:George's Mini Cooper,
    and (Below) Ringo in Passenger seat years later.

    Ringo Exiting His Mini
    Above & Below: Paul's Mini Cooper

    (Above) Paul's Mini On Museum Display
    Below: George Harrison's Garage

    John's Psychedelic Rolls Royce Phantom V

    John with son Julian
    On display (above), and parked next to George's Mini (below)

    John enjoying having photos taken with
    The Rolls Phantom V

    John enjoying a drive.

    Paul signing an autograph behind the wheel.
    The Beatles Visiting Elvis Presley at his home after their 1965
    Hollywood Bowl Show.
    John sold his Mercedes 600LWB to George
    when he and Yoko emigrated to NYC.

    George Harrison's Jaguar E-Type Series 1

    George in a mid'60's Mopar convertible.

    George's Aston Martin DB4 and
    (below) McLaren F1

    George owned a Mercedes 300SEL and a 250ce

    George and Paul in an Austin Healey Sprite.

    Johns Mercedes 230Sl that was custom-converted to
    right-hand drive by Mercedes at his request.

    Above & Below: John's Iso Fidia S4

    John's 1979 Mercedes 300TD wagon
    John's 1972 Chrysler Wagon
    This photo of a crashed Lotus in London inspired John to write
    " A Day In The Life "; The driver - 21 Year old Tara Browne- died, he was
    the heir to The Guiness fortune.
    This is the model Austin Healey that Paul supposedly
    died in - sparking the "Paul Is Dead" rumours.
    Paul and George both favored the Aston Martin DB Series.
    Lexus provided this 600H as a gift to Sir Paul after his recent
    and very nasty divorce.
    Ringo's 1957 Chevy customized by George Barris

    Ringo's 1967 Mustang Hardtop Coupe.

    Ringo crashed his Vintage 280SE Coupe In London.
    But he and wife Barbara survived unhurt - which would lead to
    the purchase of several more Mercedes - a 190e, a CL600 and
    a CLS - shown below...

    Ringo's Mercedes 190e

    Ringo with wife Barbara in CL600 in Beverly Hills.

    Ringo's Mercedes CLS was auctioned by Mecum.
    Above & Below: Ringos 190SL roadster.

    Ringo also owned two rare Facel Vegas 

    Paul favors a blue Corvette convertible for
    getting around California.

    Paul previous owned this beautiful Lamborghini 400GT
    Paul's Aston Martin DB4

    John's 1965 Ferrari 330GT

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