THE BEST OR NOTHING
Owning a classic that you can touch, admire, and drive on a daily basis is total joy for many enthusiasts. For most modern-day classics, such as our featured Mercedes-benz SL600, they were extremely expensive when they were new, and the servicing costs weren’t for the faint of heart. If you’re in the market today for such a vehicle it’s advisable not to rush out to purchase any car — buying a quality example at the right price and with full service history is now a specialist area, and you’d be well advised to have an expert at your side to minimize the risk of any nasty surprises down the track.
With this in mind, we asked the service and technical manager for Mercedes-benz, Jon Mcilwain, a few questions about how to get the best out of your Mercedes-benz. New Zealand Classic Car — Mercedes-benz’ slogan is “The best or nothing”. How do owners ensure their car stays in tip-top shape throughout its life?
Jon Mcilwain — Servicing is always a key part of keeping your Mercedes-benz in pristine condition, and ensuring your Mercedes-benz always operates at its best. Whether it’s a classic car or one of our latest models, keeping your Mercedes properly serviced and maintained will mean your vehicle will give you years of loyal service.
What should you look for when sourcing a service centre and parts for your MercedesBenz?
Firstly, we would always recommend that your vehicle only be entrusted to an Authorised Mercedes-benz Service Centre, to tap the required knowledge of the vehicle and brand, and get access to the latest available factory information to ensure your vehicle is in the safest hands, all while being serviced with only Genuine Mercedes-benz replacement parts.
All Authorised Mercedes-benz Service Centres have the latest factory diagnostic equipment, factory trained technicians, and the special tools required to complete the repair or service. The other benefit of using an authorized service centre is that we are able to use the latest factory diagnostic testers on even some of the earliest Mercedes vehicles.
Training — Mercedes-benz runs a comprehensive training programme that is globally recognized. The training programme covers all aspects of the dealership, from the department managers to sales consultants, service advisors, technicians, and parts staff. Technicians are factory trained to the very highest standards, and this has never been as important as now, given the level of technology in our current range of vehicles. Parts — What a lot of people don’t realize is that Mercedes-benz still manufactures a large number of new genuine replacement parts and factory remanufactured parts for older models, not just new vehicles. This is so no matter how old your Mercedes-benz is, chances are you can still purchase a genuine part to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition. Authorized dealers only use genuine parts, so you can keep your Mercedes-benz all Mercedes. Service commitment — Authorised MercedesBenz dealers are committed to providing the very best customer experience. All service customers, irrespective of vehicle age, are invited to complete a global Daimler AG CSI survey detailing their service experience, from the moment the service booking is made to when they collect their car. This is to ensure we continue to maintain the industry-leading service provided when your vehicle is in our capable hands. QR Code Rescue Sticker — At Mercedes-benz we put you and your safety first. MercedesBenz is now able to provide specific digital rescue support for your vehicle by means of QR code rescue sticker. In the unfortunate event of an accident, emergency services can almost instantly access the construction details specific to your vehicle by scanning the QR code sticker.
Since late 2013, Mercedes-benz vehicles have been progressively fitted with QR code rescue stickers during production. Vehicles produced from 1990 that do not have rescue stickers installed can be retrofitted at your authorized Mercedes-benz dealership.
Are Mercedes-benz classics an important part of the future for the company in terms of design and heritage?
Mercedes-benz invented the car more than 100 years ago, over this time we have produced some of the most iconic vehicles and introduced a number of new technologies that we all take for granted, such as the safety cell and ABS braking, to mention two. The history of the company is very important, and tells the story of how we have got to where we are now. Many of our vehicles can be viewed in the Mercedes-benz Museum in Stuttgart, and if you are lucky enough to visit, a trip to the Classic centre in Fellbach is also well worth the time: mercedes-benz.com/classic.
In your opinion, what is the best MercedesBenz ever built?
That’s a really hard question, as there are so many iconic cars that have been produced over the years, all of which are special in their own right, from the iconic Gullwing to the awesome AMG range. My personal favourite is the 300 SL Gullwing coupé. The 300SL was introduced in 1954 as the first iteration of the Sl-class (Sport Light), and at the time was the fastest production car in the world. The distinctive gullwing doors and beautiful design make it a timeless classic, and a coveted collector’s car. This is such an iconic and unique vehicle, and I was lucky enough to see three of them being fully restored at the Mercedes-benz Classic centre in Fellbach when I visited a couple of years ago.