2021 Fleet Update

With the year coming to a close it felt like a good idea to do a 2021 fleet update.   A bit of a summary of any issues I had with each car, how much I used it and any future plans.    I don’t own a modern car, so these cars not only get used as a hobby, but as everyday transport – regardless of weather or traffic.   My wife does own a 2007 car, but I only use that car when the whole family is going somewhere.   The cars are listed in the order of how much I used them this year.

Highlights and lowlights:

The highlights this year are the 60th anniversary of the E-type celebration, and some of the extended drives I did while I was between jobs earlier in the year. There was also Youngtimer Sacco day and the 107 Bridge drive.   The lowlight of course was crashing my 250SE Cabriolet into a Kangaroo, although that was later tempered with how well it was repaired.   It was also a shame that so many events were cancelled this year due to COVID-19.    I’m also happy with the purchase of the AMG wheels for my 450SLC and 560SEC.   Overall I drove the cars 18,500km this year, quite high for me.

Fleet Changes:

I purchased the 1979 280SE, which will replace the 1986 300SE.   I also purchased the 1987 420SEL parts car, and have started dismantling it.   I didn’t sell any cars this year, but the 300SE will be for sale soon.

1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL

The 560SEL is  a fairly recent purchase (March 2020) and I managed to use it a lot.   As a one owner car that was well looked after, it had the foundation to be really nice and I’ve now done a lot of the things I need to do to get it up to the level I wanted.    You really wouldn’t know it has 336,000KM on the clock.  Despite no major issues, I ended up spending a fair bit on this car, but I expect it should be a lot less next year.

  • KM Driven: 5,200
  • Spend level: High
  • Availability: Excellent
  • Highlight: How well this car drives now I have re-instated the self-leveling rear suspension.   Youngtimer Sacco day.
  • Lowlight: Front suspension rebuild was more expensive than I was hoping.   The sway bar mounts required the fuse box and brake booster to be removed.  Took a couple of goes to get the alignment right.
  • Work this year:  I had the B pillar trim and sagging seat fixed, as well as the front suspension rebuilt, new brake hoses and oil level sender.  I also changed the wheels out for a refurbished set.
  • Plan for 2022:  After doing a lot in 2020 and 2021, just routine maintenance.    I’ll see if I can hit 340,000.

Fleet Update

1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

I’ve now owned this car for three years and it’s getting better and better with more use.   This year, I did a fair few things to this car, but they were mostly upgrades rather than mechanical work.   I’m really happy with the Cocomats, stainless steel exhaust and the AMG wheels.   It may not be next year, but at some point I plan to fix the rust under the rear window and fit an upgraded A/C condenser.   I’m glad I bought a 560SEC when I did as prices have started to climb.

  • KM Driven: 4,300
  • Spend level: High
  • Availability: V. Good.  Was out of commission for about a month while I waited to do brake hoses.   The car had a spongy pedal.
  • Highlight:  Some of the longer drives I did and how well the AMG Aero I wheels came out after refinishing.
  • Lowlight: None.
  • Work this year: After driving the car on a hot day and experiencing a very spongy pedal, I had all the brake hoses changed.   I fixed the in-dash outside temperature display, purchased, refinished and fitted the AMG Aero I wheels and had a new stainless steel exhaust system installed.  The A/C was also recharged.  There is a minor leak from the compressor.   The A/C is really cold when freshly recharged on this car.  For some reason it is much better than the 560SEL.
  • Plan for 2022: Oil level sender is leaking.

Fleet Update

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

I originally purchased the 300SE as a daily driver.   These days, with my children a bit older so they don’t require fitted child seats, and regular working from home, I don’t have the same need for a daily driver as I once did.   The 300SE went on club rego and still got used when I needed to run errands or take the children to and from daycare and school.   Now owning the 560SEL, I found I didn’t drive it as much as last year.   I also had the strange issue of the oil pump catastrophically failing.  I was lucky I noticed the low oil pressure and was able to troubleshoot this and have the pump replaced before any damage to the engine.   This car will be for sale early in the new year with an asking price of $11,000.

  • KM Driven: 2,500
  • Spend level: Medium
  • Availability:  Good.  Was unavailable for about a month while I waited to have the oil pump replaced.
  • Highlight:  Its a great car to drive around town.   Its far more nimble than the V8 models.  I also really like the Signal Red.
  • Lowlight:  The failure of the oil pump.
  • Work this year: Replaced the oil pump, changed the brake hoses and bled the brakes.  I also changed the fuel pump, adjusted the self-leveling rear suspension and changed the passengers window regulator.    The car now has a USB port in the dash too.
  • Plan for 2022:  Sell the car.    I’ll miss the car, but I’ve got two other W126 models and have never owned a W116.

Fleet Update

1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC

I ended up doing a lot of work to the 450SLC, most of it not planned.   I discovered rust in two places that I addressed – on the passengers floor from the A/C condenser and under the rear screen.   The floor I tackled myself, but the rear screen needed a fair amount of work to be done.    Due to COVID, the car sat without a rear screen for months, meaning that I probably only had access to it for about half the year.    The driving experience had become progressively worse over the last couple of years, so this year I had the subframe mounts changed.

  • KM Driven: 2,200
  • Spend level: Very High
  • Availability:  Poor.  I wasn’t able to use it for extended periods of time and it wasn’t running or handling well for much of that.
  • Highlight:  The MBCNSW 107 drive over the bridge.   We had 47 cars, which which was pretty cool.
  • Lowlight:  Finding rust under the rear screen and having to spend a lot of money to get it right.   I am very happy with the outcome.
  • Work this year: Replaced fuel accumulator, drive shaft flex discs and centre support, installed a new foglight lens, replaced the rear screen, fixed the rust and had that part of the car repainted, purchased AMG ‘Penta’ wheels and tyres, fixed the A/C rust, replaced subframe mounts, fixed sticking odometer, new plugs  three new suppressors.
  • Plan for 2022: I am planning to drive this car to the Mercedes-Benz clubs national rally in Adelaide, April 2022.   At some point, I would like to install a Nardi steering wheel and a set of cocomats. I’ve also got a noise from one of the rear wheels I need to sort out.   I think it is caused by a lug bolt touching the parking brake spring.

Fleet Update

1965 Mercedes-Benz 250SE Cabriolet

The main occurrence this year was the crash.   I was also chasing some rough running issues.  I really enjoy driving this car and am glad I was able to have it repaired so well.

  • KM Driven: 2,100
  • Spend level: Medium
  • Availability:  Poor:  Was off the road for months due to the ‘Roo incident.
  • Highlight:  Having the car fixed after the ‘Roo incident better than ever.
  • Lowlight:  Hitting the ‘Roo.
  • Work this year: Repairing the car after the ‘Roo.    I also fitted a new battery,  had rear seatbelts installed and addressed some running issues.
  • Plan for 2022:  Nothing major, drive the car.   Apparently the Mercedes Club are planning a Paul Bracq day next year.  I’m still getting some strange issues with the radio I need to sort out.

Fleet Update

1965 Jaguar E-Type

I was able to take the E-Type on a few really good extended drives, where its in its element.   One of them went down to Oberon and then back up to Bathurst.   The other was also to Bathurst, but with the Jaguar Drivers club for the 60 years of the E-Type celebration.   The car was also featured in the November edition of the JDCA Jaguar Driver magazine.   I really enjoy driving the E-Type but its not the sort of car you use for errands, so it does slightly lower mileage than some of the other cars.   For all the stories about classic Jaguar reliability – I find it to be a very reliable car.

  • KM Driven: 1,300
  • Spend level: Low
  • Availability:  Good.   Just a minor electrical problem in one of the tail lights.
  • Highlight:  60 years of the Jaguar E-Type celebration.
  • Lowlight:  None.
  • Work this year:  Preparing the car for the 60th anniversary drive by fixing a minor electrical problem.
  • Plan for 2022: None, just drive the car.

Fleet Update

1970 Citroen DS21

I only used the DS a couple of times this year.   There were a series of minor issues that kept me from using it and COVID lockdowns exacerbated the time taken to get them fixed.   I started out with a very leaky hydraulic pump that was sent off for a rebuild.   There were a few issues getting it fitted, as at first it wouldn’t prime.   Once that got sorted out, I had two further problems.   One of them sounded like an engine knock.  Turned out it was just a broken air cleaner bracket.   engine vibrations were causing it to tap against the exhaust manifold.   I also had increasingly poor running.   This was caused by one of the idle jets working its way out of the carburetor.   Finally, I had a bad LHM leak from the brake accumulator.     The good news is that none of this was particularly expensive.

  • KM Driven: 900
  • Spend level: Low
  • Availability:  Terrible.  A series of small issues have kept me from using the car much.
  • Highlight:  None really.   The one decent drive I had the car kept stalling as the idle jet had fallen out.
  • Lowlight:  Not being able to use the car much.
  • Work this year: Rebuilt Hydraulic pump, broken air cleaner bracket, carburettor idle jet and leaking brake accumulator.
  • Plan for 2022: Drive the car more.  At some point it will need a clutch, but not immediately.

Fleet Update

2021 Fleet Update Summary

It was a an odd year in that I got to use the cars a lot in the first six months, due to being between jobs.   In the second half of the year we had lockdown for about four months and I had a new job that kept me very busy.   For most of the year, the fleet didn’t change much other than a parts car, but I was able to do some nice upgrades on a few cars, and managed to crash and repair my 250SE.   I’ve also started a change with the introduction of the 280SE.

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