FEA­TURE CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car -

Res­o­lu­tion

Garry’s te­na­cious na­ture spurred him on to ex­press in­ter­est in the cars again, but, as be­fore, he was ad­vised em­phat­i­cally that they were not for sale. How­ever, with his quar­ries in sight, Garry wasn’t about to give up the chase so eas­ily, and he con­tin­ued to make con­tact with the cars’ owner about ev­ery 18 months over the en­su­ing years — each time re­ceiv­ing a firm ‘no’ in re­sponse to his pur­chase of­fers. All this time, Garry was also well aware that the three-pointed-star grapevine was work­ing over­time in Europe and the US, with much spec­u­la­tion that th­ese cars were in New Zealand. In­deed, from time to time, he was asked to con­firm th­ese ru­mours while trav­el­ling in Europe or the US — nat­u­rally, and for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, he po­litely de­nied any knowl­edge of their where­abouts. Of course, if the time ever ar­rived when the owner was pre­pared to sell, Garry was determined to be in the right po­si­tion to buy both cars.

All this dogged per­sis­tence fi­nally paid off when he was con­tacted by the cars’ owner, at first to make en­quiries about the po­ten­tial cost of restor­ing the road­ster. Garry po­litely obliged by pro­vid­ing a sched­ule of costs re­lat­ing to his own ex­pe­ri­ence of restor­ing his road­ster, while at the same time con­tin­u­ing to ex­press in­ter­est in the cars.

Then, fi­nally, the call Garry had been wait­ing for came one Sun­day morn­ing at 9am. “Hi Garry, Michael here. I want to sell you the cars to­day!” Barely able to con­ceal his ex­cite­ment, Garry ne­go­ti­ated a suit­able price that was sub­se­quently ap­proved by his wife, and a deal was fi­nal­ized sub­ject to a visit and in­spec­tion of the cars the fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day. And so, in April 2007, with the re­quired bank cheque burning a large hole in his pocket, Garry headed to Te Kuiti to re-in­spect the cars he had last seen over five years be­fore.

Un­for­tu­nately, time hadn’t been kind to ei­ther of the Mercedes, and Garry feared the over­all con­di­tion of the cars had de­te­ri­o­rated even fur­ther. The Gull­wing was housed in an old ship­ping con­tainer that had been left sit­ting in a pad­dock on the out­skirts of Te Kuiti, while the road­ster had been left to rest 10 kilo­me­tres away in an aban­doned old farm shed.

The Gull­wing’s on­go­ing de­te­ri­o­ra­tion had been ex­pe­dited due to damp­ness within the con­tainer, while the farm shed was open to the el­e­ments. As well, Garry dis­cov­ered 300SL parts scat­tered quite lit­er­ally ev­ery­where — road­ster parts were thrown in with the Gull­wing, Gull­wing parts were with the road­ster, and the

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