As Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts, we tend to invest a great deal of time waxing lyrical about driving classic cars. Improving your car for your own enjoyment, but like all good things a classic car is better when shared.
It might not be the time for taking long country drives, but there are plenty of things that can be done to ensure your first post-lockdown drive is motoring perfection.
How can I make touring in my Pagoda more enjoyable for my partner?
Our Sales Director, classic Mercedes-Benz connoisseur and Pagoda owner Bruce Greetham and his wife Marie have put together the following Travel Tips. They have been all over Europe in classic Mercedes-Benz SLs, driving the both R107 and W113 models. This guide is specific to the Pagoda, but many of the points apply to all generations of classic SL.
Keep the shoes clean
When heading away for the weekend with the Pagoda, we don’t exactly travel in mechanics overalls. When travelling in a fine car, it’s best to enjoy the experience in full and that will usually involve a rather fine pair of shoes… a nice pair of shoes is easily ruined in a classic car.
Bruce always puts a sheepskin rug on top of the over mats to protect Marie’s shoes; “Believe me this goes a long way in comfort in a Pagoda.”
A sheepskin rug is an easy addition to your car and a neat way to improve both comfort and warmth at very little expense. It’s these simple details that mitigate arguments and make the weekend go a lot smoother. Often it’s the small details that make a big difference.
Keep the noise down
Old cars can be noisy to travel in, especially if your journey is more than a few miles. Both the soft top and hard top can become suffer from wind noise on a Pagoda, especially if not properly adjusted on the passenger side. Take the time to get this sorted and avoid hours of headaches. You’ll also ensure your car is water tight.
This service falls under our Hard & Soft Top Check, so why not book your car in with us so it’s ready for the next adventure?
Keep it composed
Always take a wind deflector if travelling in a soft top. This simple addition makes a huge difference to the levels of buffeting as you cruise along with the top down. Not only will it keep you warmer for longer, but it’ll prevent any turbulence damage to an expensive pre-holiday pamper!
Keep it cool
Mercedes-Benz MB Tex can get very got on summer days. A seat cover not only saves your legs, it’ll also prolong the life of your seats.
Keep it comfortable, keep it warm and keep it working
Make sure your heating and air conditioning are fully functioning, and that the dials, knobs and switchgear are all in good order. Get those heater sliders fixed, it’s an awkward job but is rewarding once it’s complete! Find the parts in our online store here.
Another easy one is to fit some retractable inertia reel seat belts, a very easy DIY job and well worth it for driver and passenger comfort and safety.
Keep it clean
If your seats are black leather, make sure they are perfectly clean before you embark. Disembarking at the hotel in a light coloured dress or suit is not the time to discover the black seats were hiding oily fingerprints!
Keep it together
At The SLSHOP we aren’t well known for our relationship advice, but Bruce makes a great point here.
“Put the sat Nav away and get out the map, discuss the journey together and how long it is before the next stop. You maybe enjoying yourself but two hours in it can get boring for your passenger. Show them the road and what to expect along the way.”
This is a simple point to overlook, and as drivers and enthusiasts we often get carried away with the roads and the experience. If you both parties are involved with the route, choosing rest stops that work for you as a team (and beauty spots, cafes and coffee shops that are evenly spaced) will help to maximise enjoyment of the driving and the journey.
Keep the fumes down
The rear mounted fuel tank of a Pagoda and it’s associated pipework does have a habit of leeching fuel smells into the boot. If these aren’t vented correctly then you might be sharing an evening meal at the hotel with Eau De Shell Premium. It’s always wise to use suit bags and place clothes flat ontop of the bags. The 107 has a similar problem if the fuel tank is over filled.
Replacing fuel lines front and back is not only inexpensive, it’s sensible and could be a life saver, if not a car saver. Bad fuel lines are the number one cause of automotive fires. These are old cars, so we highly recommend replacing your fuel lines. Why risk it? There’s more than just the smell of petrol at stake. Contact our team to get your car booked in.
Keep it charged
This point is such a simple one, but it’s one that could lead to the biggest headaches, arguments and annoyance. Does the 12v charging point work in your car? Most devices these days work on a USB plug, so fit an adapter with a double charger so you can run your sat nav and charge a phone at the same time… Or run a wire into the back to power the wine cooler! Perfect when you’ve got the hamper with you.
We offer a range of solutions for electronic issues and keeping your battery in top shape,or why not bring the car to us so we can set it up for touring? We can discuss the best accessories for what you and your car needs, and fit modern comforts without compromising the classic looks. Our glovebox mounted 12v charging socket is a best seller.
Another really vital point here is make sure your battery doesn’t go flat. We’ve all been there, you’re running late for the hotel and by the time you’ve finally sat down to dinner you’ve forgotten that the headlights are on and the still plugged in wine cooler has drained the battery… Fit a battery isolator or cut off switch. Not only will it stop your car needlessly draining it’s electricity, it’s a simple and effective anti-theft device.
Keep it audible
The Mercedes-Benz Pagoda stereo and speaker set up was, of course, designed and built in the 1960s. Audio technology has come a long way since then. The old pin stripe Becker might look the part, but is it up to the job?
We have a range of audio enhancements which can be fitted at home, or we can fit them for you in our workshops. Improving the speakers, adding an AUX input or bluetooth connectivity can make a long classic car journey a breeze. It’s these simple upgrades that don’t cost the earth but hugely increase your enjoyment levels.
Failing that, use a portable Bluetooth speaker. Buy a good quality one and you’ll have better sound and better connectivity than the factory standard audio equipment without having to make changes to the car. This can then be removed from the car and taken into the hotel if you wish – simple but very good advice!
One modification that’s popular with classic car owner is a hidden amplifier. We’ve seen clever installs where a modern amplifier is hidden out of sight, powering capable modern speakers with just a bluetooth or AUX input the only things on show. Anything is possible, if you can dream it, we can fit it.
To improve the audio in your Pagoda (or any other classic Mercedes-Benz) then Contact our team to get your car booked in.
Keep it fair
Our final point, and the final bit of relationship advice is to keep it fair. Make sure you’ve got a playlist of music that both of you like, and if you are sharing the driving, make sure the car is set up for both of you to use.
When swapping over, are the seats and mirrors adjusted exactly right, does everyone know how all the controls work? Be sure to talk over the controls of the car and establish where things are before you set off.
You have been warned!
Have you got any tips for touring with your partner? We’d love to see your feedback and read your ideas!
Email your suggestions, thoughts and photos to [email protected]