The Concours Run 2023 – Day 1: Mt Victoria to Tumut

Today was the first day of our epic road trip to Melbourne in 9 classic Mercedes Benz.   Our goal was to head down for the annual MBCV concours event and a tech day they were running the day before.  I previously covered the plan for the trip.   Our destination today was Tumut.

Before we even started, we lost one of the cars.   One of our group had purchased a lovely ‘new’ W108 280SE 3.5 earlier this year.  It’s a really nice car, but it had not seen a whole lot of use in recent years.   Unfortunately all the work required to get the car ready for a trip like this was not complete.    Its the usual thing with classic cars.   The more they are used, the more reliable they are.

Our route started in Mt Victoria (Sydney’s Blue Mountains) at 6:30AM.     Therefore, five of us elected to stay up there the night before on an unofficial ‘day 0’.   I was one of them.   This meant for a much easier start.   Two more of our group lived somewhat locally and elected to meet us at the starting point ,and two more skipped the first leg and planned to meet us at Goulburn.

The seven cars doing the first leg met without major incident in Mt Victoria.   The only minor issue was that one of the W108’s had a snapped a handbrake cable that morning.    For our first leg, we had seven cars – three W108s (Two 280SE 3.5s and a 280S, two C126s (my 560SEC and a 380SEC), a 450SLC and a 320CE.


Our first leg would take us from Mt Victoria to Goulburn where we had planned to meet the other two people at the Big Merino.    The road from Mt Victoria to Goulburn is one of my favourites in NSW and it didn’t disappoint today.   There was very little traffic at all, and the road is a delightful combination of twisty sections, long sweeping corners, elevation changes and amazing scenery.   It is one of those roads you can have fun driving at the speed limit.

On the way to tumut

We stopped for Petrol at the Big Merino, were the two W124 Wagons joined us, namely an E220 and a 300TE.    At our fuel up, it was interesting to note how good on fuel the two 280SE 3.5s are.   This is especially impressive, given the W108 has all the aerodynamics of a brick.    The W108s did better than both W126s for eample.

MB Spares

From there we took the back roads towards Fyshwick to our lunch stop at MB Spares & Service.   It was great to catch up at MB Spares and see some of the projects they have going.   Of particular interest was some very interesting factory literature, some very rare cars in the workshop, the rebuild of a factory 617 turbo diesel and see a wrecked 560SEL that was an amazing demonstration of the rigidity of the W126 passenger safety cell.   It was very good of John, the owner of MB Spares, to host us for lunch.


After lunch, the next stop for our convoy was Cooma.   The scenery gets progressively better along this route, but it probably the least interesting that we did today.   What was apparent was how well all the cars were responding to a good run.

After we had a short break at Cooma, the final leg of the day was to Tumut via the Alpine Way.   However, before we left Cooma, we called in breifly at Flynn’s wrecking yard, which is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, and can be seen from space.   Given there was a $10 entry fee, and it wasn’t clear how many Mercedes-Benz they had, we didn’t go into the actual yard and kept going.

Towards Tumut

The Alpine way was the only part of todays drive I had not done before and I really enjoyed it.     It was a really fun road through some amazing scenery.     One of our group suggested a stop off at Yarrangobily Caves Thermal Pool.    This didn’t turn out to be quite as good as we had hoped.    The road to the pool was one way, and quickly became unsealed.   The owners of the W108s were not enthusiastic about taking their cars down that road.   We did get there in the end, and take a few photos of the cars, but there wasn’t really time to do much more, as we wanted to get to Tumut before it started getting dark.    Driving on the back roads in Australia at dawn and dusk means a high chance of encounters with the local wildlife, especially Kangaroos.   I know this all too well.

On the way to Tumut

Our group rolled into Tumut about 7;30PM.   According to my odometer, we covered 634km today.    Given the core route was 585, this made sense for the various small detours we did.  We checked into our hotel  in Tumut and went to a local pub for dinner.    Our first day was really good, especially how we all arrived without incident.

I’ve been very happy with how the 560SEC has performed on this trip.    Its been fast, powerful and comfortable, and the A/C has kept me cool.

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