Why the not so Sporty or Leicht (SL) R129 is the next car you should get

Why is the R129 SLs so cheap these days and the R107 SL so expensive in comparison? The R107 has already become a true classic since it started production back in 1971. The oldest R129s are already passing 25 years and becoming old. But they are ridiculously cheap compared to what you get. This is a common trait among luxury sedans aged between 20-30 years old before the prices start to go up again, but the SL is supposed to be a sports car and it is a convertible. These types of cars normally have quite higher prices than the aging luxury sedans.

The funny thing is that you can get a V12 SL600 fully equipped for just around 15k Stirling pounds. That’s crazy for a car that nearly cost 100K£ new back in the olden days, especially considering the inflated currency and the value of money back. Why would you even consider buying  new car when you can get this luxury three pointed star of rolling ludicrousness for absolutely less than a single cruise holiday to the Caribbean? Also if you want one R129 in red, they are the most expensive ones, not many came in red and for some reason they are highly valued.

The R129 SLs are also reliable cars where the bigger engines have super strong dual overhead cam axles. Buy it, drive it and don’t bother opening the hood in between services. The only major thing you need to take care of here is the soft top that will deteriorate quicker than the rest of the car. But you probably have a garage right? You can even get them with a hard top which can be used for other seasons than the summer, perfect for northern Europe. Although my personal opinion is that you should avoid driving around in a convertible with the hard top on, what if the sun comes out!?!?

The styling has become timeless yet still feels modern even though it’s a 30 year old design. I have never heard anyone said that the R129 SL looks bad, and in the end that’s what matters right? To drive around in a cool car is first priority. Power, speed, comfort and reliability usually comes second when having a 2-seated mostly unpractical convertible. If you get the R129 you will get all of these except the practicality. Although you will probably fit your unused golf clubs while impressing your business friends that most likely are not good at gold either. (I would rather hang my muddy mountain bike off the back, throw in my diving gear in the boot along with the boots and back pack for hiking, but that’s just me)

So what are you all waiting for? Get out there and buy a cool R129 and drive it!

To be inspired check out these videos about the R129 from Harry’s garage and The Smoking Tire respectively:

Cheers, Robs out 

Views from behind the wheel in a W123

What are the things you can see from behind the wheel driving a W123? Beautiful nature, wild animals, interesting architecture, challenging conditions and weather and unimaginable surprises. This is a small collection of stuff seen from going about in a W123.

The road trip is enjoyed best with good friends in a vintage Benz.

Of course you can see the same from other cars, but I found that the whole experience is much more visceral and when having road trips in a vintage Benz. You can maybe even call it cozy behind that big steering wheel hearing the sweet hum of the engine. Somehow you are more connected with the car and the road.

Instead of taking anti depressives or going to the psychologist due to the stress of daily life, take a week with some good friends on a relaxing road trip where the aim should be the trip itself. Go some place you have never been to see new stuff and not worry so much about the destination. There are always interesting things to see along the way. You might even end up some better place if things didn’t go as planned. Take a tent and a sleeping bag with you and you can camp literary anywhere.

Sometimes you need to cross bridges.

w123 over hardanger bridge
Crossing Hardanger Bridge

Sometimes there are optical effects in the atmosphere.

rainbow
Optical effects

Sometimes you see a field besides a river.

w123 and field view
River valley

Sometimes there will be rain.

w123 and heavy rain
A good dose of H2O

Sometimes there are good winter days.

snow covered field
Winter can be good too!

Sometimes driving in winter is needed.

w123 in winterlandscape
Did you remember to change from summer tires?

Sometimes there are fjords to explore.

w123 and fjord
Fjord country

Sometimes there are wild animals.

moose in the road
Moose in the road, for testing brake performance

Sometimes there are domesticated animals.

sheep in the road
Sheep on the road, for testing the horn

Sometimes there are very cold days.

cold landscape
Frozen landscape, hopefully the heater is effective

Sometimes tunnels are explored.

hardanger fjord tunnel
Wait a roundabout inside a tunnel?

Sometimes you will need to have a break.

300TD in mountains
Pit stop, who needs to take a leak?

 

Vintage Car show in Cologne

While I was in Köln or Cologne as it’s called in English like the fragrance, for an weekend back in 2012, I randomly came across a vintage car show in the streets outside an art museum.  I came across some really nice classic Mercedes that showed up. Worth mentioning is that all these cars came here driving and left driving, and even if they were shiny and clean you could see they are used to be driven, totally my motto with old cars. The paint does not have to be perfect as long as the car is in good condition to be driven. Cars should be driven and not standing collecting dust in a garage!

I made a short video of various cars and explore in more detail in the images under.

Over to the images, mostly Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes Benz w112
W112 300SE
Mercedes Benz w186
W186 300 Adenauer cabriolet, quite rare and expensive.
Mercedes Benz W108
W108
Mercedes Benz R107
The R107, always wanted one of these

Oh and lets not forget the W123s!

Mercedes w123 coupe
W123 Coupe
Mercedes W123 Sedan
W123 Sedan, interesting green moss colour, not my preference in colour choice
Mercedes w123 Wagon
s123 wagon, diesel power
Mercedes w112
W112. Look closely and you will see a w123 wagon too
Mercedes benz interior
Look at all that leather!
Mercedes Benz pagoda
The pagoda, I think it is overpriced compared to the R107 which is much better in performace and handling
Mercedes benz pagoda
Fintail and pagoda side by side

And since this a web page about cars, lets look at some of the other cool vintage cars at the show!

Dodge Challenger
Dodge Challenger
Jaguar E-type
Jaguar E-type
Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona
Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona
Porsche 911
Porsche 911
BMW 2002
BMW 2002
Fiat 500
Fiat 500, timeless shoe box
Renault Alpina
Renault Alpina, one of the more special looking cars out there
Porsche 911
Another Porsche
Willys jeep
Willys jeep, one of them have written Golden Gate ’48 under the windscreen
Messerschmidth
Messerschmidth, no not the 109 fighter jet. Smallest car on the show!
BMW E3
BMW E3
Porsche 914
Porsche 914, very disliked by many, but loved by a few, I think it looks appealing from behind

And lastly a cheeky pic of me next to the 190SL

DSCN0556

 

2600km Road Trip with 280CE in Norway

I had one week summer holiday, so I had to fully maximize my time, what better way to to it than going on an epic 2600km road trip?!

The car of choice was my W123 280CE, not the most economical car ever, but not the thirstiest either! I recently changed all the injectors and the fuel economy isn’t really that bad, around 0.9L/10km. The car held up good and did’t have any problems during the entire trip. Needed to fill a little engine oil after the trip, but it was expected after driving in mountainous areas. For 3 people the car was more than big enough for everyone and luggage unless you are very long, you can easily fit 4 people if you though bring a little less luggage each. The boot is large and can fit big suit cases.. I wouldn’t recommend the mid back seat for long drives and I think Mercedes realized this and removed it all together in the W124 Coupé.

side view of 280CE in a canyon
The car in a scenic Canyon

The grand tour can be seen in the map above, it’s quite crisscrossing, but for a good reason. Started out in Oslo, went to a cabin to see my family in Trysil, road trip not yet quite started. Then to Kongsvinger to pick up a friend, then to Oslo to pick up another friend, then the “first” real tour of the week could start.

scenic tunnel in hardanger
They know how to make scenic tunnels!

The tour went to Odda over the mountain pass of Hardangervidda, with scenery along the road such  as; a meteorite crater, waterfalls, tunnels that twists like a corkscrew down into the mountain and mighty fjords.

Odda is the place where you can visit the spectacular Trolltunga, a piece of rock sticking out from the mountain wall 700m above a lake, although the the site requires 10-12 hours of quite hard hiking to get there. Also there are lots of scenery and waterfalls in the area.

Trolltunga
Trolltunga

From Odda the the plan was initially to drive to Flåm, but the same day the road got taken out by a rock slide and the road was closed. Due to the Norwegian topography, this is the only road there and a huge detour had to be made across the other side of the mountain, which basically took the whole day, then we ended up in another place instead.

The Hardanger suspension bridge
The Hardanger suspension bridge. The toll was 150kr, so we only went over it once..

The alternatice route required two ferry crossings over Sognefjorden, which is the world’s longest fjord and the deepest, with depths down to 1.3km. Although there are many long tunnels here, the longest one of 25km called Lærdalstunnelen, was missed due to the rock slide.

Crossing sognefjorden with ferry
Crossing Sognefjorden with the car-ferry

Western Norway is famous for having some really old wooden churches called Stave churches, these are from 12-13th century and looks like a crossing between viking architecture and Christian churches.

vikøyri stave church
vikøyri stave church

After a night in Lærdal, the tour went back to Kongsvinger with a stop for BBQ in the quite unknown town of Dokka. Here you can find 4000 year old stone carvings of big game like moose at the river bank.

Roadtrip 1 came to an end. My two friends had to leave their separate ways, but the same day six other friends came to join the second road trip in one week! Two of them I put in the vintage car while the others were driving a dull Audi A3.

I picked them up in Oslo again, and now the tour went north instead of west. The road was going to Jotunheimen, the home of the ice giants, on a quest to climb Norway’s tallest mountain Galdhøpiggen, actually Northern Europe’s tallest mountain. Don’t be fooled by the height of only 2469m, up north like this it is permanent cold and often treacherous weather even in July!

The road went up towards Gudbrandsdalen passing by Norway’s largest lake, Mjøsa, which has an unofficial depth of 600m. This is the quickest road to Jotunheimen from Oslo, but with the most tolls (which are expensive) and the most traffic.

There are two routes to climb Galdhøpiggen, one is from the east side and the other from the north side. The northern route requires passage of a glacier which can be dangerous and requires safety harness and ropes preferably going with a guide.

Galdhøpiggen mountain
Looking towards the top of Galdhøpiggen

The mountain was climbed and while everyone suffered a bit from fatigue, the mood was great. It was even a small hut made on the top. This hut was the fourth iteration since the last three had blown down due to hurricane force winds.

On the road back to Oslo the tour went over Valdresflya another mountain pass which has some of the most spectacular views of the mountains in Jotunheimen, a much cooler road by my opinion than the other one, except the last part before Oslo is a bit desolated.

2600km driven in one week and no issues at all with the car! It just shows how reliable a 32 year old car can be if you keep it well maintained! No need to invest in completely new cars and throw away your money. What can be cooler than having a road trip in a vintage car? You’re going to be surprised how many nice comments people give you about the car.

So go driving out there with your vintage cars, use them and maintain them as long as possible!

Cheers!