New Zealand Classic Car - - Special Feature -

Barry’s car is one of the last of the leg­endary hand­built, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated, 6.2-litre V8 Mercedes, so AMG did some­thing spe­cial and re­placed the nor­mal de­tuned C63 en­gine with the Black Se­ries unit that makes some se­ri­ous num­bers. With ex­tra power on tap, AMG also up­graded the stop­pers with Black Se­ries 405mm disc brakes, while a Black Se­ries cool­ing sys­tem keeps ev­ery­thing nice and cool. The car is also fit­ted with a fac­tory lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial op­tion, a seven-speed gear­box, and a panoramic roof.

Al­though Barry’s car is a lim­ited-edi­tion model, from the out­set, he de­cided he’d drive it like it was built to be driven rather than treat it as a garage queen. As such, the Mercedes has now trav­elled 16,000 kilo­me­tres, some of which can be at­trib­uted to three Targa Tour events as well as sev­eral track-day ses­sions. Power is now around 362KW at the wheels, with the kind of in­stant re­sponse only a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine can pro­vide.

As Barry puts it, this rear-wheel– drive coupé can be driven “like a kit­ten in ‘C’ mode or it can be­come a com­plete an­i­mal

in ‘S+’ or man­ual mode with the trac­tion con­trol turned off!”

For events such as the Targa Tour, Barry runs 18-inch wheels shod with Nitto NT01 tyres, while, for nor­mal street use, he re­verts to the fac­tory 19-inch rims and more road-ori­ented rubber — with far less trac­tion but much more daily-driver friend­li­ness.

“I’ve been in ev­ery Targa Tour since the Kim Dot­com event and love it,” Barry says. “It’s a unique op­por­tu­nity to drive our cars with­out hav­ing to race-pre­pare them or fit a roll cage. We get to drive them fast but in a con­trolled and safe way, and ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of closed roads and be­ing able to take up both lanes with­out be­ing in a full-on com­pe­ti­tion en­vi­ron­ment. The ca­ma­raderie is fan­tas­tic, and I have made many new friends on Targa. Other than a co­driver, we do not need a crew, nor do we have the pres­sure of rac­ing that can lead to over­cook­ing it into a cor­ner, be­cause a Targa Tour leader sets the pace. Lastly, at the end of the day, in­stead of [do­ing] car main­te­nance, we get to re­lax at the bar and share the day with our fel­low Targa Tour par­tic­i­pants and the main Targa com­peti­tors. It’s a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, and af­ford­able with­out the lo­gis­tics and cost of tak­ing part in the full com­pe­ti­tion event.”

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