The first generation Mercedes Benz pillarless SEC / S-Coupé / CL Class Coupé, based on the SWB W140 SE floor pan was designed under the direction of Bruno Sacco and went into production in 1992 with either 389 hp 6.0 litre / 366 cui 48 valve V12, 322hp, 5 litre / 302 cui V8 or in a few markets with 275hp 4.2 litre / 256 cui V8 engine options.
From 1992 – 93 the model was known as the SEC, in 1994 it became the S-Coupé and from 1996 to the end of production the model was known as the CL CLass.
These exclusive Coupés along with the larger SE and SEC saloon / sedan variants were incredibly well appointed with double glazed window’s being a particular novelty when the model was first seen in public.
Today’s featured CL with the smaller and lighter 5 litre V8 engine, that improved the handling over the more powerful V12 was purchased in 1996 by Kenny Baker, the diminutive actor had a length of rope fitted to the boot so that he could pull it shut.
Kenny sold the car to his friend the giant former bodybuilder, weightlifter, face of road safety and actor David Prowse, hence the car, seen in these photographs taken at the Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol a few years ago, that has been passed on from the Star Wars R2D2 actor to the Darth Vader actor has become known as the Millennium Benz.
Thanks for joining me on this “Pillarless Millennium Benz” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. May the Force be with you.
The last of this months Sunday Volkswagen Golf posts is about a Golf IV.
Last year I took on a low mileage VW Golf SE Estate IV, that my folks bought new in 1999. Over the 10,000 miles I have driven it, apart from several light bulbs a set of new tyres and a service it has proved to be a pleasantly reliable mode of transport carrying up to 4 at up to 70 mph to numerous events in England and Wales. The most awkward work I have had to do on it was to replace the front headlight bulb that is tucked away in front of the passenger side mounted battery but thanks to to this linked video I got the job done in a supermarket car park with a minimum of fuss.
Three days after I acquired the Golf I had a great time with it on a field in Dundry just South of Bristol trying, unsuccessfully, to defend my Cross Trohpy.
A couple of weeks ago I was reminded that my car insurance was about to expire and after a little shopping around which included looking at the Aviva site I found I was able to halve my car insurance bill with my no claims bonus. With the Golf freshly serviced and insured I polished her up for wedding duties as the brides maids car for a friend who was getting married during a visit from Australia.
While I was looking up the approximate value of my car I was surprised to learn that the highest price ever paid for a second hand Golf IV was US $243,000 @ £160,000 in English. It turns out that the car was sold by its original owner prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II better known as Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger when he expected to retire to Germany after Pope John Paul II died in 2005.
After he had sold his Golf to his surprise Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI and the new owner of the Cardinals Golf put it up for auction on e-bay where it was purchased by a casino.
A couple of weeks ago I made an attempt at reclaiming the Cross Trophy with fellow Bristol Pegasus Motor Club member Chris Clarke and came home a respectable third in class. A couple of days ago I was out again this time on a treasure hunt with GALPOT regular Tim Murray and again we came home a respectable third and won a box of Maltesers to share.
Touch wood the Golf will remain reliable and help me attend a few more meetings which I can report on here for your delectation.
Thanks for joining me on this “Cardinal Classic” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
When General Motors acquired Lotus Cars in 1986 it committed to investing £35m / US$55m in to a new affordable car that was to be built on the reputation of the Lotus Elan which was discontinued in 1973.
Unlike the original rear wheel drive Elan the new Peter Stevens designed M100 Elan featured front wheel drive, and was powered by a development of an Isuzu motor that produced 130 horsepower in normally aspirated form and 162 hp in SE Turbo form.
The rest to 60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and top speed of 137 mph was matched by the handling described by some sources as ‘the finest front wheel drive car bar none’.
Unfortunately as the Lotus M100 Elan came to market in 1989 Europe and the USA were entering a recession and Mazda had already flooded the market with it’s retro ‘Elan’ the MX5/Eunos/Mita series and so Lotus ended up selling just 3,855 M100 Elan’s between Nov 1989 and July 1992.
Second series of 800 155 hp Elan’s were built between June 1994 and and July 1995 featuring mandatory catalytic converters and slightly longer and heavier body work to accommodate the latest US spec safety features including airbags.
General Motors had sold it’s interest in Lotus to Bugatti by this stage and the new Lotus owners did a deal with Kia Motors to license the manufacture of an updated Kia Elan complete with a Kia sourced power unit. Kia wound up production of it’s M100 Elan in 1999.
Today’s featured M100 Elan SE Turbo seen at last years Classic Sports Car Action Day at Castle Combe was built in 1991.
Thanks for joining me for this “Worlds Best Handling FWD” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.
By all accounts it would appear that the Mercedes Benz models built on the W108 platform such as the 250 SE seen here from 1965 – 1972 laid the foundation stones in the Mercedes Benz palate for what is now known as the range topping ‘S Class’.
Back in 1965 the W108 was launched with three 6 cylinder engine options the carburated 2496 cc / 152 cui 250S, fuel injected 2496 cc / 152 cui 250 SE or 2996 cc / 182.8 cui 300 SE and 300 SEL built on the long wheel base W109 chassis platform.
Behind the 14″ wheels were disc brakes all round to match the 15 second 0 – 62 mph acceleration and 114 mph top speed of the 150 hp automatic seen here.
Often referred to as the fintail without fintails the W108 cars added to Mercedes Benz reputation for building reliable and durable motor cars that helped turn the company into a World Automotive leader again.
Paul Bracq styling of the W108 was evolutionary from the slightly smaller tailfined W111 of 1957 to 1971, which would evolve into the E Class, while laying clear markers as to the styling of the immensely successful ‘new generation’ W114 and W115 models that were built from 1968 to 1976.
Unusually for European cars of the period the automatic gear box featured 4 speeds and a fluid coupling in place of the usual torque converter, it was also developed and built by Mercedes Benz at a time when most European manufacturers used US designed and built automatic transmissions.
This 1967 250 SE is one of 130,000 250 models assembled on the W108 platform between 1965 and 1967.
Thanks for joining me on this Fintail Without Fintails edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
A couple of weeks ago you may remember I attempted my first navigation exercise with Bristol Pegasus Motor Club membership secretary Bob in his ‘daughters’ Mini Cooper. Today I am looking at Bob’s own car his Lotus Elan Coupé S/E otherwise known as an Elan S3 FHC (Type 36).
Like the racing Lotus 26R the Elan Coupé S/E has a fixed hard top unlike the original Lotus 26 Elan’s which were all convertibles.
The first 36 Coupé’s were introduced in September 1965, with a 105 hp version of the Lotus Twin Cam 4 cylinder engine.
An S/E version as seen here became available in July of the following year with a 118hp ‘L Block’ version of the Lotus Twin Cam.
S/E Coupés are distinguished from all earlier Elan models by the repeater lights on the front wings and stainless steel trim on the sides.
Bob’s car was built in 1967 by which time Lotus had won two of an eventual seven Grand Prix constructors titles with the Lotus 25 and Lotus 33.
The Elan S3 body was the first Elan to have a boot lid that extended all the way to the tail of the car.
It is estimated that approximately 1,200 Elan S3 FHC’s were built between 1965 and 1968 when the S4.
My thanks to Bob for his help with this blog.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Special Equipment’ edition of ‘Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow’. Don’t forget to come back now !
The Volvo 940 Turbo SE Estate / Station Wagon was introduced in May 1991 and in the UK was aimed solidly at the company car market with a 2 litre / 122 cui turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that qualified for a lower rate of taxation than the 2.3 litre 900 series variants.
The SE was also loaded with goodies like colour coded mirrors, a more comprehensive set of front lights and a smaller black grill.
The B200ET and later B200FT engines which produced 150 hp were gems because they were fitted with a small diameter Garret T4 turbocharger which all but eliminated the throttle lag which was a common feature of the earlier turbocharged B230 motors that had been fitted with hefty Garret T3 units.
From the A pillar back the 940 Estate / Station Wagon is indistinguishable from it’s predecessor the counterpart 740 apart from the more judicious use of black trim in place of earlier chrome items.
While not as rugged as the 200 series Volvo’s, as this example shows, these vehicles are just as capable of surviving in presentable condition for nearly 20 years, a strong selling feature in the UK mired in the depths of a property market recession at the time of the vehicles launch.
Production of all 900 series models ceased in 1998 when the saloon / sedan variant’s were known as S90’s and Estate / Station Wagon’s as V90’s.
Thanks for joining me on this Tax Break edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !