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Old 23rd March 2023, 16:32   #1
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The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Sometime in mid 2022, Aakash8300 and I began the hunt to find him his next car.

The requirements & conditions, while not too many, were as follows -
  • A V8 with no constraints on body-style.
    OR
  • A V6/i6, but only in a coupe or convertible guise.
    OR
  • A 4-pot convertible.

Cars in immediate contention, fitting into the aforementioned categories were the Lexus LS400, the Lexus SC430, Mazda Miata, R170/R171 SLK, C207/A207 E350, A209 CLK350, E36/8 Z3 etc.
A few others which did not really fit the above categories, but were considered due to sentimental value, like the W210 for example, which Aakash8300's grandfather owned back in the day.

One of the first cars which Aakash8300 went into advanced stages of negotiation was a lovely bottle green Lexus LS400. He flew down to Jaipur with another friend to go see the car, negotiated the price and delivery terms. But like is the case with a lot of imports from the era, paperwork turned out to be somewhat dodgy and that proved to be a deal-breaker.
Amongst all the cars that came by, this is probably the one that Aakash8300 regrets letting go off, the most.

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The famous Lexus LS400 cluster was working almost flawlessly too!
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We looked at a bunch of other prospects, but none really materialized.
A few weeks passed by, we had spread the word around to the dealers around and rightly so, one of them reached out with a seemingly clean R171 SLK200 Kompressor. The pricing for this one, however, was a bit on the higher side than the budget on hand. Nevertheless, with hope of haggling down on the price et al, we took the SLK for a check-up and took a few test drives as well. Alas, the seller did not budge on the price as much as we'd hoped for and this SLK had to be passed up as well.

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It seemed we had hit a roadblock, with no decent car coming up our way. Just then a friend from Pune put up his beautiful, immaculate BMW F13 650i for sale. We called him up and expressed our interest in the car. Even before we could plan to drive down to Pune to see the car, it was snapped up, all in under 24 hours of being posted online.

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We had looked at a couple of C207 E350s which were offered by a few dealers but the ratio of asking pricing vs condition/work required on the car did not really seem sensible. At the same time, a friend here in Bombay put up his C207 E350 on the block.
Aakash8300 to have a look at this one as well. The car, albeit a high run one, had been in long term ownership and most issues on the car were known. Like they say, a known devil is better than the unknown!
Since we already knew the owner well, he offered that Aakash8300 keep the car for a few days, experience the car properly, before he could close in on the deal.

The butter smooth V6 motor coupled with the sleek body of the C207 seemed like a match made in heaven - and it looked like we had finally found the car we were looking for!

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The C207 stayed with us for quite a while, and we drove it to car meets, drives and even took some pictures with its grandad - the C124 300CE!

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As luck would have it, Aakash8300 and the owner could not conclude on pricing and payment terms and thus, the beautiful C207 too was returned to our friend, who continued to use it as his daily.

We kept the hunt alive, widening our horizons a bit more, geographically atleast.
One day, I chanced upon a sale post of a black R170 SLK230 Kompressor on Facebook Marketplace and shared it with Aakash8300. He had simultaneously received the TeamBHP Classifieds link to the same car from another friend. We contacted the seller, based in Ahmedabad, who immediately sent us pictures and other details.

Aakash8300 then discussed the specifics with him. Meanwhile, I got in touch with my mechanic, who had worked on my Toyota TownAce, soon after I had purchased it in Ahmedabad. In a rather lovely turn of events, he told us he had worked on the SLK in the recent past and shared many details pertaining the car and its history. With the car vetted by someone known, knowledgeable and trustworthy, it helped us gain some more confidence in the car.

A couple of weeks passed after the initial conversation with the seller, when we finally decided to head to Ahmedabad to check the car out in person.
We initially planned to drive down in Aakash8300's W204 C200 Kompressor but then realized we would end up driving back in two separate cars, should we end up buying the SLK. So, we decided to look at other options to head to Ahmedabad.

Akasa Air fares on the BOM-AMD route made it pointless to check any other means of transport - we got 2 tickets with a meal included - all for Rs. 3000! While the flight experience was very sub-par, the flight fare does not really leave any scope for complaints.


After months of hunting for the right car, on the 12th of March 2023, Aakash8300 and I took a 5:40 AM flight out to Ahmedabad to see the SLK230 Kompressor.

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Last edited by Aditya : 31st March 2023 at 15:46. Reason: Hyperlinks removed
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Old 29th March 2023, 18:26   #2
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re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

A very sleepy Ahmedabad welcomed us as we landed and exited the airport just around 7AM.

With the city yet to get up and running, we decided to head to the area where the car was located and started to look at hotels near the same locality. The optimism that the deal would go through was so high, that the only filter/parameter selected on our hotel booking app was " Parking Available ". We took a cab out of the airport and reached our hotel, which thankfully accommodated us way before check-in.

In a rather spooky coincidence, we were allotted room #202, and the R170 is built on a shortened W202 chassis!

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Before we flew out to Ahmedabad, the seller had shared some photos of the car with us.

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This particular SLK was a 2001 SLK230 Kompressor with the M111 motor, which is the same block as the W124 E220 that was sold in India, but with 100cc more and a supercharger plonked on top. This particular example was not in the best shape cosmetically, as the pictures show, but was a runner. The spec-sheet of the car is as below.

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After checking into the hotel, we freshened up and grabbed some breakfast. Upon getting back to the room, we realized it was still too early for a Sunday morning in Ahmedabad. So, we took a quick nap and at about half past 11, left to meet the seller and see the SLK.

The car was kept ready for us to test drive, and we immediately drove out for one. Sunday morning is the best time to test drive a car in Gujarat, period! No cars on the road at all and that only helped us do a thorough drive of the car, in and out of lanes and by-lanes of Ahmedabad.
After driving the car around for around ~30 mins, we got back to the seller's residence and decided to give him an offer on the car.

After going back and forth over the next hour or so, we finally decided on a number and sealed the deal! The SLK was coming home

The following hour was spent transferring funds, signing documents and exchanging other stuff pertaining to the car. We picked up the car and drove it straight to the workshop to give it a basic check-up, change a couple of blown light bulbs.
The ever enthusiastic Aakash8300 had carried a fresh set of IND style number plates from Bombay and a Fastag, both of which were promptly installed on the car!

At the workshop, with new plates shod onto it already!
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While work got done on the car, Aakash8300, the mechanic and I grabbed some much-needed lunch after all the running around all morning!

Post lunch we returned to the workshop, picked up the car and drove back to the hotel.

In the hotel parking, reflections of a very happy day!
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We decided it was only wise to rest out for the remainder of the day, for a 600km journey lay ahead. We did head out for an hour to grab dinner but called it an early night, since both the car and the people needed to be fresh and alert for the long drive the next morning!

Last edited by Aditya : 31st March 2023 at 15:50. Reason: Hyperlinks removed
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Old 29th March 2023, 20:12   #3
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re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

The SLK is not the cleanest example out there.In fact, the car had a bunch of beat up edges and a fair share of parts waiting to be replaced. The suspension needed an overhaul, the roof to be serviced and the engine tappets made a distinct clatter. But, with all the neglect and abused, the motor and transmission had soldiered on, like a true-blue Mercedes-Benz would've!
And that, is what made us go through with the purchase. The potential the car showed was immense.
And thus, on the 13th of March 2023, we set out towards Bombay with a prayer and a hope that the SLK would pull through the drive without throwing any surprises our way!

We'd set a 6:00AM alarm on both our phones, which proved futile against fatigue from the previous day. We woke up at 8:00AM and within 30 minutes, were loading in our bags into the absolutely tiny boot of the SLK. With the sun and temperatures rising quickly, we hit the road immediately. But before we could commence our actual journey, we needed fuel. Google Maps took us to this lovely Shell fuel bunk, just before the ramp that climbs onto the beautiful National Expressway 1. The NE1, which connects Ahmedabad to Baroda, is a stunning stretch of access-controlled tarmac which is one of my favorite roads to drive on.

A huge speed-bump had scraped and pulled out the already screwed on front right corner of the bumper. With no time to fix it, we slammed it into place, hoping it would hold on till we reached Mumbai.

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We hit the NE1 at 8:45AM sharp, and slowly yet steadily made our way to Baroda. The cloudy skies were a Godsend and made our drive a car with a dysfunctional AC much bearable!
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Since the car had not done a journey even remotely as long as this in a long long long time, we'd decided to take stops every 2-2:30 hours, irrespective of the distance covered. Our first pitstop after Ahmedabad came in after ~110kms, at Jagdish Farsan, just off the highway in Baroda. I do not remember stopping anywhere else but Jagdish on my innumerable road-trips when heading towards Bombay. Authentic Gujarati snacks served hot and fresh + good, clean washrooms and a store that sells a variety of chilled beverages makes it a compelling stop. Sev Khamaniya, Khaman Dhokla, Patra were washed down with lassi and lemon soda before quickly hitting the road again.

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I took over driving duties for the next couple of hours, when we drove towards our next pitstop - Schmitten Chocolate Factory Outlet, at a distance of ~112kms from Baroda. Two hours of stress-free driving when we reached the chocolate factory at about half past noon. The overhead sun had really got the temps rising everywhere around, except the SLK which did not even cross the 80 mark even once!

We parked the car outside to cool down and headed in to grab some much-needed cold coffee.

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The SLK cooling down while looking cool!
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We decided to wait for a little longer as the temperatures had really risen, and we thought it would be only good to let the car cool down properly before heading further.
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Roughly 2 more hours of driving ensued and we then made it to our next stop - Sugar N Spice on the outskirts of Valsad. The SLK did the 110 odd kms with aplomb, but the heat really got to us in this leg of driving. The ambient temperatures for this part were the highest we'd experienced that day.

Lunch time for the two dehydrated humans and cooling time for the SLK!
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The next 2.5 hours, we covered about ~125kms and made our final stop at FoodHub, at Haloli, just after Manor. It was a quick pit-stop, more of a bio-break and to grab some cold water. In the 20 mins or so we were there, the car got a lot of attention from other travellers and it was quite amusing and interesting to see. Probably something that Aakash8300 has to get used to!

A funny thing happened as we were about to drive out, and I got into the car to take over from Aakash8300, who had driven for the past ~4 hours. But as I got into the car and turned the key, the car refused to start. A couple of cranks and still no response from the motor. Would be lying if I said we did not worry for a bit.

Cut to Aakash8300 who got into the car and turned the key once, and the car fired up promptly!
Talk about the car choosing it's owner!

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The final leg of the journey consisted of ~100kms of driving, but possibly the toughest as we would finally encounter traffic. We departed from FoodHub at 6:00PM and drove into Mumbai. Thankfully, at the dreaded Fountain Hotel junction, we encountered almost zero traffic. The Western Express Highway looked choked on Google Maps, so we took the route via Thane into Mumbai.
The car did not like the slow-moving traffic but did not trouble us at all.

Finally, after about 11 hours of our departure from Ahmedabad - 560kms and 5 stops later, the SLK finally made it!

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The SLK230 Kompressor had us surprised and not - surprised because while we prepared ourselves for a breakdown or some minor hurdle on the way, the SLK just shone through it all, without skipping a beat! The unsurprising bit is what makes Mercedes-Benz the brand that it is today - incredibly engineered cars that just keep going on and on. Sadly enough, the build quality on newer Stars has taken a turn for the worse, especially when compared to the cars from the 80s onto the early 2000s which were quite literally built like tanks.

The SLK is going to be an interesting build, and I shall try and post updates,and I shall even nudge Aakash8300 to make some posts.

And before I forget, big congratulations to Aakash8300 for picking up this pocket sized Star!

Time to get that Kompressor to whine and the car to shine!

Last edited by Aditya : 31st March 2023 at 15:52. Reason: Hyperlinks removed
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Old 31st March 2023, 12:29   #4
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Imports section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage tomorrow
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Old 1st April 2023, 13:58   #5
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///RMan View Post
Sometime in mid 2022, Aakash8300 and I began the hunt to find him his next car.

The requirements & conditions, while not too many, were as follows -
  • A V8 with no constraints on body-style.
    OR
  • A V6/i6, but only in a coupe or convertible guise.
    OR
  • A 4-pot convertible.

Cars in immediate contention, fitting into the aforementioned categories were the Lexus LS400, the Lexus SC430, Mazda Miata, R170/R171 SLK, C207/A207 E350, A209 CLK350, E36/8 Z3 etc.
Obviously, when you want a great looking car with a supercharged V8 you should go for a Jaguar!!!

But seriously, the SLK is a very good car. In my opinion it is actually quite an underrated car. I have American friends who have had a series 1 from new and still drive it without any problems. The first series had some problems with the hood mechanism.

All in all these are proper roadsters. Really nice and comfortable to drive wit not to many niggles. And most of them, if they occur, can be sorted pretty easily.

I have been looking at a few SLKs over the years. They are relatively cheap here in the Netherlands.

Enjoy this car, should be fun ownership!

Jeroen
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Old 1st April 2023, 22:29   #6
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Very appealing purchase after lots of searching - I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. Solid and simple is the best way forward with aging European, from everything I've seen / experienced.

Good fun ahead.

-Eric
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Old 2nd April 2023, 06:38   #7
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///RMan View Post
Sometime in mid 2022
Congratulations on finally completing the search for the seemingly unattainable car

The travels and endless search are well worth it in the end!

Your post really hits home with me. I have been in a similar situation earlier, when I have had to search and travel all over to get the car I wanted!

I am in the situation now as well, with the e46 regular 3 or m3. The car is just timeless. Have searched for it a bit but hopefully will get my hands on one

Last edited by omar : 2nd April 2023 at 06:40.
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Old 2nd April 2023, 09:04   #8
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Interesting and Congratulations. Just wondering, if the 15 yrs rule applies in Gujrat and Maharastra. As the car is 22 yrs old. Really envious of you guys it does. We in NCR are devoid of such nirvana inducing motoring pleasure. Enjoy
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Old 26th April 2023, 19:32   #9
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Re: The Kompressor Konnoisseur | Getting home the Mercedes SLK!

Congratulations to Akash on acquiring an amazing car! Cannot wait to see her during the usual events and drives!
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