I thought that noone would ever ask!
I got back into Dallas on Thursday afternoon. It made for a long day. I was up at 5:00AM at EuroDisney in Paris where I had been for a three day conference. My Dad picked me up at the airport and we went straight to the MB dealer. I had been away for two weeks when the CClass rollout occurred.
I drove about 2,000 kilometers in Germany and Switzerland, and another 400 kilometers in France. The best stretch of Autobahn I found was between Mainz, through Kaiserslautern, to Saarbrucken. As luck would have it, the road was wet most of the time I was on it. I still had some various sections of open, dry Autobahn to roll fast on. I was in a company A4 with low profile tires and sport suspension for most of these kilometers, then a rented A4 with standard tires and suspension for about the last 800 kilometers including France. The standard tires and suspension made an absolute dog out of a car that was otherwise identical. Running 180 to 200 km/hour will uncover this very clearly.
I got a good look at the new C Class in Bremerhaven. They were about 75,000 Dmarks, while the E Class was about 55,000 DMarks. I thought that this was odd. I drove a C200 I believe it was with a six speed. It was standard suspension, but was great. I've yet to drive a C Class Sport. The standard suspension handles well, except that there is noticable body roll. The Sport has stiffer springs, but the same sway bars.
Also during the trip I went to Derby which is 60 or 70 miles North of London. We had a 50 mile drive to Heathrow. The Lories were having their "go slow" in protest of the 80% fuel tax. The night before we got the last rent car with fuel in it. We allowed 3 1/2 hours to go the fifty miles to the airport and still ended up literally running for the plane. It was frustrating, but actually kind of an adventure being part of it. It's hard to imagine 80% tax, although unchecked, we will be looking at the same thing in just a few years unless we act to change the guard in government.
Since I did not get my tools in time to take apart my 300E before leaving, I still have to remove the head and take it to the machine shop. At least I didn't have to do it in the 108 degree weather we were having. I don't know about anyone else, but my shop is not air conditioned.
Yesterday, however, I bought some time to get the 300E back on the road. To make a long story short, I bought a 2001 C Class, six speed which should arrive Monday or Tuesday. They are putting on the simple pinstripe for me, and the pinstriper will be at their facility Wednesday, so I expect to take delivery Wednesday or Thursday. I plan on selling my Vette.
Being gone for three weeks allowed many things to break around here; plumbing problems, flat tire on the lawn mower, my son driving my 240D had a window riser fail, and my daughter ran out of fuel in her 300D with the fuel guage indicating 1/4 tank.
My ex brother in law, who is an MB Tech, took my daughters 300D for a couple of weeks and went over it with a fine tooth comb. The biggest problem was a bad motor mount. It accentuated a slightly weak cylinder, maybe a marginal injector. In the course of doing too many things to list here, he replaced the valve seals and we're waiting to see how much this curbs the oil usage. After running out of fuel, she had no idea how to prime it. She had added some fuel, so I primed it with the hand pump this morning and it busted right off.
I guess I will attack the 300E next weekend after catching up on plumbing leaks and lawn mower flats this weekend, not to mention attempting to overcome jet lag this weekend, so that I can get back in the routine on Monday.
Thanks for asking, I will update everyone on the outcome of the valve job and head gasket on the 300E. I plan on platooning the 300E and the C240. I will actually have two manual transmission, gas engine Benz sedans.
You also asked about interesting places. I guess everywhere in Europe is interesting to me. I saw the City Square in Brussells, and the Maniquin Pis. The City hall is as impressive and ornate as anything I've ever seen and was built in about 1,100 AD. I also took my trip down the Rhein river, one of my favorite places I've visited in Germany over the years. I also spent a few days in Konstanz, which is on Lake Bodensee, a beautiful natural lake. The city is chocked full of history. We went on a dinner tour down the river and back in Paris. It began under the Eifel (sp?) tower and ended under it. There are beautiful lights set up on the tower which make it look like a sparkler.
I missed my plane in Eindhoven going to Hamburg, about a 550 KM trip. I found a rent car that needed to go back to Germany, so as not to pay a drop charge. I drove from Eindhoven Holland about 70 KM to the German border, and ran about 120 MPH much of the way, when there was no traffic. It's amazing how fast 100MPH gets to feel like moderate cruise speed.
I also went to Kienle in Heimdingen outside
Stuttgart. This collector car restoration facility is absolutely amazing. The nicest machine shop, metal fabrication, body shop and general work restoration shop I ever saw. They had machines scrubbing the floors when I visited there last Saturday. They have incredible and immaculate condition pieces of MB history including several gull wings, et al. It's worth the visit if you ever get the chance.
If I think of more to tell, I'll wait for another solicitation. Of course, after this dissertation, I will probably not get another request for me to ramble.
Have a great day,
[This message has been edited by LarryBible (edited 09-23-2000).]