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Old 5th May 2008, 08:51   #1
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Default The Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing Experience

Saturday 03rd of May 2008, a day I will always remember as the one when I achieved the holy grail in my automotive life. We always are around cars and cherish each and every moment when we are in and around our passion. Flashback to Sunday 27 April 2008, I get an email from my American friend when we were planning a visit to the VW Bus Fest in Vallejo. We were discussion schedules et al and I just read a line which makes me jump out of my sofa dropping the laptop charger on the floor, the line reads

"Perhaps I can get one or two of my other gearhead friends to go with us, too. My friend xxxxx spent some time in India, and I think he might have had an old motorcycle when he was there? He's got a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and a Ferrari 275 GTS, though I don't know if he'll be driving either one. Often, various car clubs take club "track tours" during the lunch break in the racing, so maybe."

The moment stops for me, I can't hear the TV, my knees go weak, my blood pressure goes up. I need a smoke, I need to think about achieving this one thing in my life, a view at these cars if not a shotgun drive in one of them. I have got to make this happen. I begin writing a reply, and I keep the conversation alive. I write a small note in each of the 14 email exchanges for the next three days. The line reads: "Hey buddy, I would really like a sneak peek at the Gullwing and the Ferrari"

My friend wouldn't disappoint. He invites me over to his house on Saturday to take a look at his Fiat / Alfa Romeo / Lancia / Datsun / Moto Guzzi / blah blah blah blah blah collection. WOW!!! So many brands, so many cars that hold an importance in my life. The choicest of the choicest car collection. I do have the Gullwing and the Ferrari at the back of my mind. I am supposed to get in touch with Stratos to go together for the bus fest. I switch three trains to get to Downtown Berkeley where I would be picked up by my friend. I left at 9:00 am from home to get there by 11:30. I called up my friend and he says he was at his workshop in Richmond and would pick me up in a moment. I wait there patiently for 45 minutes and then suddenly hear a roaring Red car coming down Shattuck street. Ladies and Gentlemen I have just been introduced to an Alfetta. What a machine. Left Hand Drive, I-6 twin cam engine that has a seating position you always dream about. Superb, simply superb. (I'll put up a separate thread for his collection).

He: "Kiran, there is a slight change in plans, would you like to see a Ferrari vintage, classic and modern car races at Infineon Raceway in Sears Point"

The world froze. I can't hear traffic, I can't see cars zooming by, I am looking at him with an open mouth.

Me: "Of course buddy, thats not an offer anyone would refuse. But I would also want to see your cars at home, your workshop projects in Richmond, et al. I want to do everything in the next 7 hours I will be here"

He: "Lets drop this noisy machine back home and take the Jag up to the raceway and guess what xxxxxx is also there with his Ferrari 275 GTS"

End of world, I felt I was going to have a cardiac arrest. I was going to collapse. I wouldn't mind if I died tomorrow but I want to get there. We drive to Infineon Raceway and I get an experience that deserves a separate thread. I lost count of Ferrari's. Classic race cars from back in the day, Ferraris, Maseratis, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, you name them and they were there. ** Cutting this short for another thread **

Cut to future, a call to the friend "Buddy, we are here." We meet. He's excited to see someone from a place where he spent 3-4 years. Me and my friend go around the entire racetrack to get good views, pictures, videos.

End of day, a call to the Ferrari friend "Hey how about catching up if you are free, Kiran would love to see your cars, especially the Gullwing."

Reply: "Why not, follow me, will ya."

I almost killed myself. I start singing in my mind: Today, is gonna be the day, when it all comes back to you. By now, you should have somehow realized what you gotta do. I don't believe that anybody, feels the way I do,.........

There we are at his house, I stare at the shut garage door. I know whats standing inside. We get inside freshen up have a beer, chit chat about India. I spilt some beer on his camera manual and he knew what was happening to me. He insists that we stay back for dinner. Well yeah, lets see the car. There we go, he flips open his garage door and there it is glaring at me. Lets go for a spin Kiran. End of world.

Guys you have to live the experience of one of the finest piece of engineering from the 50's. It bowled me over. My friend (now), gunned the car through the streets and I would never forget the way I got pushed back in the seat. He cornered hard, he drove on the limit. This car has been restored by him and his father 30 years ago. And he has had it since then. he knew anything and everything about it. He could tell you whats where and how to shut the doors. The Gullwing doors are a delight to open and shut.

I will cut it short to just say, I lived the experience and I will cherish this moment all my life. You've gotta be there to feel it. Enjoy the pictures:

Would you like to go for a spin in the Ferrari as well. Umm yes!!! Coming up next... Stay tuned.... (This Ferrari 275 GTS is one of the 200 that were ever made)

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Last edited by Rehaan : 8th May 2008 at 10:27. Reason: Pics edited on owners request +1 more edit
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:09   #2
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I have never been so jealous of anyone in my life! Any chance of you getting to drive one of these? :-D
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:16   #3
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OMG !!!!
holy christ. I am speechless ! 300SL - car that gives wet dreams to all the car-nuts.

you are absolutely lucky, MF.
And thanks a lot for that experience ! I am sure we all must have felt the same way you did. Thanks a lot !
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:23   #4
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Strewth, a real guy with a real 300SL, not a collector with a gullwing, polished and kept in a semi-museum. At least this car gets driven like it should

Lucky you
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:38   #5
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Brilliant but then again you are in a country which many consider the holy grail of any car nut. Waiting for the Ferrari experience.
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Old 5th May 2008, 09:43   #6
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What a fantastic experience Kiran. One of the best ever . Its your most passionate opst as well till date. What a beautiful automobile and so lovingly kept. The one car which we enthusiasts wish we can see atleast once in our lifetime and here you have your dream come true. Simply left me speechless. Lucky you Kiran. Enjoy this moment of automotive Nirvana and more pictures please

Congratulations
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Old 5th May 2008, 10:21   #7
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Hey Kiran:

A wonderfully described experience.
And a nice clean Mercedes Gullwing.

Doesn't this water temperature indicator, with its chrome bezel, resemble what we get from Yenkay in India?



Love the black leather-topped dash with the chrome piping.

Amazingly the white bakelite steering wheel shows not a crack on it in all these years. I guess that would happen in tropical India with repeated cycles of noonday heat and the midnight cold.

Love the textured stainless steel background on which the chromed brass switches are mounted.

Ram
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Old 5th May 2008, 10:53   #8
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I am speechless! I can only *imagine* what you would have gone through seeing the Gullwing first-hand. Mindblowing!

Waiting for the Ferrari and the Infineon Raceway pics!!

PS: A beautifully written post. Loved reading it!
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Old 5th May 2008, 11:23   #9
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MF, you lucky bum! Fantastic, it finally followed through!

Very few people have had this privelege (and I can see theres more to come), savour it. Theres a good chance you'll never see one again, let alone ride in one.

Did you notice the steeingwheel has to fold down in order to get into the drivers seat?

Eagerly awaiting some more.
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Old 5th May 2008, 11:48   #10
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wow thats an amazing find MF,lucky you man,did you drive this beauty?
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Old 5th May 2008, 12:04   #11
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That 300SL looks amazingly well kept . The black paint of the engine cover is looking like its been re painted.

Must have been an Amazing experience MF , am jealous .
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Old 5th May 2008, 21:55   #12
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What an experience!! Lucky you,Kiran!!
Sigh..wonder when I'd within 10ft of such a classic!
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Old 5th May 2008, 22:52   #13
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You lucky guy, man thats one sweet ride
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Old 6th May 2008, 01:35   #14
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I just read a pm from kiran with a link to this thread saying

Quote:
Did you see this thread??
How much more will you make us burn with envy man!!!

Superb Car buddy. You are very lucky indeed.

Last edited by Cyrus43 : 6th May 2008 at 01:36.
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Old 6th May 2008, 01:46   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynumb View Post
I have never been so jealous of anyone in my life! Any chance of you getting to drive one of these? :-D
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramie2400 View Post
wow thats an amazing find MF,lucky you man,did you drive this beauty?
Thats an expensive car and I haven't driven a LHD car as yet. Of course I wasn't offered to drive it but even if offered I wouldn't drive someone elses costly car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram View Post
Doesn't this water temperature indicator, with its chrome bezel, resemble what we get from Yenkay in India?
Love the black leather-topped dash with the chrome piping.
I'd have to see a Yenkay meter like that first. The leather is all Blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA View Post
How much more will you make us burn with envy man!!!
Cyrus, I have some more good material for you to see:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vintag...-thread-3.html (Classic Automobile Books / Workshop Manuals Thread)

Thanks guys for the lovely comments, I shall put up the Ferrari Raceday and Ferrari 275 GTS experience shortly.
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