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Old 15th June 2018, 16:34   #1
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Default Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

In May 2016 my wife and I moved back to the Netherlands after a four year stay in India. One of the very first car events I participated in was an World Record attempt to bring as many Mercedes W123s together.

We were successful and a new world record (323 W123s) was entered into the Guinness Book of Word Records. It was the second time such a world record was done. The first one was organised by the Germans quite some time ago. At the time they managed some 200-220 cars, not quite sure. The Dutch world record was organised by a guy who owns and operates a workshop specialising in (old/classic) Mercedes. It was very well organised and we were very lucky with the weather.

I did a write up at the time

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...ld-record.html

About half a year ago I got a notice from the German W123 club that they wanted to break the old Dutch record! I immediately enrolled, because these things are a lot of fun. Also, I had no doubt the Germans would be able to bring many more W123s together as it’s their home turf so to speak. In all honesty I was a little perplexed about the first world record with only 200-220 cars. That was in Germany too.

Last weekend the world record attempt took place in Tarmstedt, a little town just east of Bremen.

I decided to drive up to Bremen on Saturday, stay overnight and drive to the venue early Sunday morning. Then afterwards drive back home in the late afternoon/evening. I had to get back home as I was due to fly out of Amsterdam to Stockholm at 06.50AM on Monday morning. In the end it all worked out spendidly.

I had never been to Bremen, so I thought it would be nice to spend and afternoon/evening there.

In my thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/diy-do...-spider-7.html you can see that I have been quite busy with all sorts of jobs on my W123. New exhaust, lots of new trim and rubber seals, a bit of respray here and there etc.

But here we are. At the beginning of my journey. The TomTom tells us it is 06.47AM, 367 km to go to my “Gasthaus” in Bremen, ETA 10:05am. Notice, the TomTom also shows a speed camera coming up! As you can see, my tank is about 1/3 full. I wanted to make it across the German border before filling up. Petrol in Germany is easily Euro 0,25-0,30 per liter cheaper then in the Netherlands. So on a full tank (55l) that does make a difference.

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Essentially all the way motorway to Bremen. Here a typical stretch of Dutch motorway:

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I was in no hurry, so I cruised easily stopping several times. In the end I had to stop for Petrol in the Netherlands. Not enough petrol to make it into Germany. So I only added 5l and with what was left in the tank made it into Germany and got a tank full of cheap petrol. Petrol stations along the motorway in Europe are a little bit more expensive than in rural areas. But they do tend to have very good facilities, Coffee, tea, proper restroom, restaurants, shops where you can buy just about anything from a Mars bar to spare light bulbs for your car or a can of oil.

My wife thinks Motorway driving is boring, but I quite enjoy it. Especially if I am in a nice car of course! And every time I drive my W123, I marvel at it. This is a 36 year old car, but you would never guess driving it. Sure, it isn’t particularly fast accelerating and a bit noisier than modern cars, but it just keeps going, no rattles, no creaks.

I arrive around noon in Bremen and the tomTom guided me, as usual, to the exact address of my Gast Haus. A Gast Haus is essentially a sort of German Bed & Breakfast. Which means the rooms are small, but clean, everything works, good WiFi, and a very simple breakfast. Euro 45 per night, Breakfast was another Euro 6. And I had arranged for a parking place for my W123 in their garage, another Euro 7. But it was a very appropriate parking place!

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After checking in and dumping my bags in my room I walked into town. It is a little old town on a river and Bremen is actually a sea port, although quite a way land inwards. On my way to the city centre I came across this view:

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Not exactly what I was expecting, but still, quite pretty. In Europe if you find yourself in a town/village with a river, you will find that the city centre will always be near or at the river front. So just make your way to the river front because there will be lots to see and do. Restaurants, Cafe’s, shops, people enjoying the sun etc.

I had a bit of lunch whilst reading the various tourist brochures I had given by the Gast Haus. i love the water and if possible I will always go on river / harbour tour. I was lucky as there was one departing just about as I finished my lunch.

These are sizeable boats, take several hundreds of passengers, have a bar and cafetaria on board.

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So a few images of the water front as seen from the tour boat.

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If you look closely at the little tug boat you will notice it is showing a Dutch flag. It is Dutch tug boat. There are still several hundred of these sort of tugs around. Most of them are privately owned and are used purely for pleasure boating. So this is not a working tug anymore. The owner is probably just on a nice cruise trough Germany along the many rivers and canals.

I was a bit disappointed by the actual harbour. It was huge, but completely empty, no sea ships at all.

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A few more shots along the river

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After the harbour and river tour I walked into the little town. Just an impression through a couple of images:

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I can say many German little towns are very similar. They usually have some sort of central large square. Usually around a big church and or the old City Hall. There are always shops and restaurants, terraces where you sit, drink and eat.

Last edited by Jeroen : 15th June 2018 at 18:25.
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Old 15th June 2018, 22:45   #2
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Around 1800 hours I returned to my Gast Haus, freshened up a bit, checked some mails, called my wife and by 19.00 hours I was back in town.

There was some sort of protest mars ongoing. Lots of young kids/adults, lot of noise, but quite pleasant otherwise. They were protesting against cars, parking place and very much for more trees, greens etc.

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In the end they all gathered at the market square. That where I noticed they had some of them cleaning up. Here some are picking up pieces of wrapper, cigarette etc.Well done!

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I had my usual Wiener Schnitzel with a glass of (alcohol free) beer. I love Schnitzel. My mum used to make me a Schnitzel for my birthday and these days even my wife does. Obviously, for the best you will need to go to Austria, but German Schnitzel on the whole are very very good!

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I walked back to my Gast Haus and turned in early. Up at 07.00 for breakfast. After breakfast I walked into town to get a Starbucks. Love my Starbucks. Whenever I somewhere with a Starbucks, that’s where you will find me early in the morning.

After the Stabuck, I picked up my W123 from it’s VIP parking place and headed for the venue in Tarmstedt. About half an hour drive. Now until Saturday the weather forecast had been quite nice. But on the actual Sunday morning it was raining cats and dogs! Not a good sign at all. Vintage car events are heavily influenced by the weather. I have organised events where we where expecting 50-75 cars and due to weather less than 10 showed up.

Anyway, no going back early obviously. So I motored on and soon found myself in the company of 6 German W123 all heading for the venue.

We were amongst the first to arrive, around 09.30 or thereabouts. The official start of word record attempt would be at 1300.

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On these sort of events you will see just about every variety of the W123 in existence. So let me show you a few of the more unusual ones:

This ambulance version was meticulously kept inside and outside. I seem to recall I used to have a little model when I was a very young lad.

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When you bring hundreds of old cars together you are likely to have a few problems. Luckily the W123 technical man, Dirk was on hand to fix all problems. Dirk was also the main man behind this whole event, also as I found out, he is Dutch but has lived in Germany for several decades.

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This is a red variant of the ambulance. Not quire sure what the story was though.

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This thing is just awful. Most W123 owners felt it was absolutely sacrilege. You don’t do this to a sedan. Actually there were three of these. They were all purpose built with varying degrees of attention to detail.

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W123s have been used by just about all law enforcement agencies as well as any other emergency services. You are not allowed to drive around Germany with blue emergency lights. Even if they are not switched on. So you have to cover them up or take them down whilst on the road.

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Some details of Dirks’ car, His would be the last car in the parade later that day!

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And it was still raining. It just did not stop!!

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This is probably the version for which the W123 is best known. To this date, all German taxis have this colour. W123s taxi did legendary mileage. Hundreds of thousands of kilometers all on a little diesel engine. Here and there you might still find a W123 as a taxi! Spotted one several years ago in Essen.

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The W123 club had also arranged for several car parts companies to attend. Slowly, but surely MB parts are beginning to run out. Hopefully other suppliers will take on this market. For quite some time, the original fabric as used on the chairs was unobtainable. This guy can deliver any fabric, as good as the original! He had a roaring little trade going on this Sunday.

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Some more conventional MB parts. Some hard to get these days.

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And one ‘scrap merchant’. Unfortunately, the few bits I was interested in he did not have. He was not charging much either. I kept his business card because he is also on the Internet.

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Last edited by Jeroen : 16th June 2018 at 01:50.
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Old 16th June 2018, 00:05   #3
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I was looking at these hub caps he brought along. He was asking Euro 5 which is nothing. I don’t need hub caps and besides they weren’t in that great condition. But they look good on the wall of my garage. Also, I want to make a clock out of one. But I want it to be “my” colour obviously.

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The W123 club had made sure there was entertainment for the whole family and lots of food and drink to be had. This particular vendor might be of interest to quite a few of our members. I have noticed many Indian have quite the sweet tooth!

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Pancakes were available too!

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When you are out in Germany on these sort of events, there will be sausages everywhere. There is no avoiding them. They are very good sausages too!

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A Merry go around for the kiddies, so they had something to do whilst the dad were discussing cars endlessly!

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And it just kept on pouring. People were very good about it. Nobody complained. People got their rain gear out, umbrella’s and huddled up.

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A very smart vintage tractor in front of year another candy store!

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As you drove on to the venue, one guy had parked his trailer with the restored W123 right next to the entry road. He had up for sale. I had a good look at it and I thought they did a good job. The asking price was Euro 13.250,--. Which is sort of the high end of the market for a W123, just under concours condition.

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The German W123 club had also ensured the co operation of a few other oldtimers! This truck together with an old MB fire truck would lead the convoy later that afternoon

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The rain kept coming down, but a steady stream of W123 kept filling the field.

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The W123 organisation team had brought their own truck. A Mercedes Benz truck obviously. From here they addressed the crowd.

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Last edited by Jeroen : 16th June 2018 at 00:08.
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Old 16th June 2018, 00:20   #4
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Rain please go away!!

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More and more W123 were entering the field and at some point in time my count was at 350. From there on I stopped counting as I knew the new World Record was in reach.

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This lady was probably the most photographed person on the venue. She had this very cool hand bag.!! And she was very happy to show it off to anybody who took an interest!

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I came across one of these nodding dogs. I had forgotten about them. In the 70s, early 80s, many people put such a little dog on the parcel shelve of their car. The dogs head moves about a bit as the car moves. I need to try and get me one!!

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Here another interesting piece of entertainment for young and old. How many boxes can you fit into a MB estate?

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Still more cars were arriving and it was starting to dry out. With even an occasional patch of blue sky!!

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The vintage fire truck arrived. Interestingly enough this fire truck was owned, maintained and operated by the local Fire Brigade. As you will see later on the Fire Brigade was out in force. This oldtimer lead the convoy!

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No German car event would be complete without somebody offering some nice model cars. And of course, we were not disappointed. Young and Old were absolutely fascinated!!

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Old 16th June 2018, 00:50   #5
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Around noon, cues are starting to form at the various food stalls. Notice how relax it all looks? Germans are very disciplined and polite. Nobody will jump the que. That’s just not done.

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And another quite remarkable W123. This is know as the “rat-look”. It is quite a popular genre in particular with hot rodders in the USA. I am not convinced it looks good on a W123. But it certainly did attract a lot of attention.

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By about 13.00 hours the organisers got everybody together for the final instructions.

Germans take getting instructions seriously.

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It took another 45 minutes before the first W123 passed the starting line. Police and the Fire brigade had to shut down all the roads that we were to be travelling on. I was number 35 to go through the Starting gate.

At long last we are moving, at 10km/h, but we are moving.

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Here you see one of the many Fire Trucks along the way. Here they are blocking this road, so we have free reign. In all, most road to and from Stamstedt and the centre were completely blocked off for regular traffic for three hours.

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Lots of people along the route. Even a little band!

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This lady is one of the official and independent observers. She and several others are along the route and are counting the cars. Also, each car was given a unique sequential number at the starting line. They also check the sequence to check if any car has left the parade.

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Here my number 35

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More cars, more people, a great event.

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And finally, after about 25 minutes and about 5 km distance I am back at the venue and I’m passing the finish line.

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Last edited by Jeroen : 16th June 2018 at 00:53.
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Old 16th June 2018, 01:09   #6
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I made it back to the finish line and parked my car. Still about two thirds of the total number of cars had not even left. It was slow going. But by now it was dry, the sun was out and I wandered around the venue taking some more images.

Here you can see what happens at the starting line. Each car upon arriving at the venue was given a enrolment form. You had to fill out a few details, such as your name, registration number of your car and agree to obey all normal traffic rules. As you got to the starting line, you would hand in your enrolment form and they would put these sequential numbers on your wind screen.

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More and more cars are lining up to pass the start line

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More and more cars are returning back to the venue as well. A steady endless stream of W123s leaving and arriving back at the venue!

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This was the second but last W123 to pass the starting line. I have never seen anything like it!

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At long last; Here we have Dirk with his crew, passing the start line and bringing up the rear. They put number 462 on his car. They were in high spirits. They had been working round the clock for the last couple of days and by now it was pretty sure the old work record was properly beaten!!

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As Dirk passes the starting line a steady stream of W123s makes it back to the venue.

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The actual route went through some quite nice roads.

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At the finish most of the returning W123 were directed back into the field where we had come from. The more unusual ones were kept together. With the sun out, quite the treat!

How is this for a LWB variant? It might be a lot longer, but you are still not getting much leg room I think!

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A few more cabrio W123. I had never ever seen a W123 cabrio. Here there were three!. You can’t argue with taste, but I don’t like it one bit!

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Last edited by Jeroen : 16th June 2018 at 01:15.
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Old 16th June 2018, 01:34   #7
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This is an interesting W123 as well. This one has been prepared and modified for touring all over Africa. There are quite a few of these around. People buy a W123, do it up, modify it, beef up the suspension and go wandering around Africa for several months!

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This here is very German. What you see is so called Kuche. German cake, a real treat. But it needs cutting and that is done the German way as well. Guy measures out the pieces with a ruler!

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At long last, Dirk and his crew make it back to the finish line. They were so happy! Organising these sort of events is a huge undertaking and they did really well.

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Next the official count needs to take place in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Guinness Book of World Record. Here you see one of the observers who stood along the route, filling out a declaration.

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In the end the official count was 457 W123s. A new world record!!

I started my drive back home at around 16.15 hours. A bit busy at first due to some road works. My TomTom with its Traffic Information system manages to minimize delay and soon we are cruising at a steady 130 km/h. Cruise control set, point the star towards the Netherlands. Some nice music on the stereo.

For those who never travel in the EU, this might be a surprise. But for all those countries under the Schengen treaty there are absolutely no border controls, none whatsoever. Here is me crossing the German/Netherland border at 130 km/h. The sign tells me I’m back in the Netherlands.

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From the border still well over an hour and a half cruising. I came across one interesting feature you will find across many European countries these days. A so called eco-duct. As we build our motorways, we often cut through nature. In order to allow the animals to cross the motorways safely these eco-duct (as opposed to viaduct) are put in place. There are fences all along the motorway to keep the animals from straying onto the motorway and guiding them to this eco-duct where they can pass safely.

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I got home a little after 20.45 hours. Quite tired, but very happy and satisfied that I went and that we managed to smash the record!!

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 16th June 2018 at 01:37.
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Old 16th June 2018, 11:14   #8
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the International Scene. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th June 2018, 16:32   #9
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Splendid report Jeroen. Well written, well photographed and well organised all together. Congratulations on the world record!


Here is my favourite border crossing. Belgium to France, but not a motorway border crossing.
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Old 16th June 2018, 19:29   #10
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Jeroen, thank you for sharing this event and for your splendid photos and captions. Now you can tell your grand children one day that you have a corner in the Guinness Book of World Records. - Narayan
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Old 16th June 2018, 22:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dileepcm View Post
Congratulations on the world record!

Here is my favourite border crossing. Belgium to France, but not a motorway border crossing.
Thank you. On the more rural border crossing in Europe you are very likely not even to have a sign at all. You will notice only because the houses start to look a bit different, slightly different road signage etc.

Anorak fact: Within the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) the border control was done away with much earlier then in the rest of the EU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
J Now you can tell your grand children one day that you have a corner in the Guinness Book of World Records. - Narayan
They don’t add your name into the book though. In fact I have now participated in three successful World Record attempts, all in the Guinness book of World Records. Obviously, the two W123 record. But about 15-20 years ago I participate in a similar event that brought together the most open top cars. That time I went in my Alfa Spider. I can not remember the exact numbers but it was more then the 457 we had here.

Also, it appears as the Guinness book of World Record has relaxed its rules. In the past all the car needed to be on the road together. That is a huge challenge and is probably becoming impossible these days.

Jeroen
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Old 18th June 2018, 00:11   #12
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
And another quite remarkable W123. This is know as the “rat-look”. It is quite a popular genre in particular with hot rodders in the USA. I am not convinced it looks good on a W123. But it certainly did attract a lot of attention.

Attachment 1771916
Wow! If that car has the odometer figures to match the looks then hands down this would be my favorite pick of the lot.

There's just something about a well used and judiciously abused machine which has withstood the test of time that gives me the goosebumps.

And I have to ask, is that real rust? If so how is the same maintained i.e prevention from affecting the impact resistance of the shell.

I was a bit too hasty going through your report as I was more interested in the pictures(Guilty!) so I might've missed a section containing info of the car with the highest odometer figures, if not then please do share some information on the same. Analogue Machines FTW!
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Old 18th June 2018, 02:08   #13
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

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And I have to ask, is that real rust? If so how is the same maintained i.e prevention from affecting the impact resistance of the shell.
Yes, it is real rust. I am no expert, but here is what I was told. They basically strip the paint, use some acid. Then they let the panel(s) rust. As soon as the rust looks good they spray transparant lacquer on it.

There is probably some more science to it, because the rust looks very even. But apparently the principle is just that, you let the panels rust and when rusted enough you put the lacquer on to stop the rusting.

Jeroen
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Old 18th June 2018, 21:28   #14
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Most of the spectators are actually looking at the cars with their own eyes, and not through the cell phone cameras. A big thumbs up for that. These days many do not see or enjoy any vistas while trying to capture everything. No matter how you shoot it, I'm not sure one can enjoy the beauty of these cars by looking at them later on a mobile screen!
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Old 19th June 2018, 00:38   #15
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Default Re: Drive: From Netherlands to Germany for the longest Mercedes W123 parade

Thank you Jeroen: a well written-up and photographed adventure!

I recall being a passenger in one of those taxis. The driver said that it did 24-hour duty: he drove it in the day and his brother drove it at night.
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