Graham Banks MERC 380SKC

Graham Banks MERC 380SKC

Graham and Vanda Banks MERCEDES BENZ 380SLC

I bought the car two years ago from a panel beater friend in Adelaide, saving it from being wrecked for parts.

The car was converted to LP Gas in October 2000. The last person to register the car was a lady in Macedon Victoria who allegedly would not let her husband drive it. That registration ran out in 2010 with 92,000 kms on the clock.

The engine fired up and ran first go every time but needed tuning. Parts had deteriorated over time, the spark plug leads lit up like a Christmas tree. I replaced the spark plug leads, rotor cap and rotor, changed the spark plugs to the correct LP Gas plugs. The viscous fan coupling and drive belts were next. The LP Gas converter was replaced and the gas tank removed, pressure tested, stamped and replaced.

One of the rear anti sway bar links was missing so I replaced both. The centre steering rod ball joint had a little play in it and so a new rod was fitted. Two new front tyres completed the suspension work.

I was fortunate enough to buy cheaply a genuine Mercedes stainless steel exhaust system of twin mid pipes and muffler to replace the somewhat tatty system on the car.

To meet the present regulations I fitted a third child safety harness mounting point to the rear shelf. The top clear coat on several panels was flaking off so they were rubbed back and repainted.

Now I was ready to face the infamous Regency Park registration inspection. First up was a trip to Lonsdale for proof of identity, where I presented my paper work – all went well. Now off to Regency Park with baited breath. The car was on the hoist within 10 minutes of arrival. Two inspectors carried out their multitude of tests, smiled at me, told me the car had passed with flying colours and said what a beautiful vehicle I had.

Now I needed to join a club and arrange historic registration. As I did not have a Cadillac so I could join their club to be with my friend, the club secretary suggested I try the triple A. One phone call to Steve Thiselton and I was a nominated member. My first meeting was later that week and the next month my first club run – lunch at Hahndorf 19.4.2016.

I would like to say the car ran like a watch but it was occasionally backfiring, blowing off vacuum hoses. At the Mt Barker tea stop the battery had to be replaced. Thank you RAA for fabulous service. It was a great lunch – good new friends and a trouble free run home.

The backfiring problem was chased down to a misaligned distributor cap and tracking on the ignition coil. A dyno tune was the final touch improving the power from 61.7 kw to 80.1 kw at the wheels (107.4 hp to us oldies).

Now I can report the car runs like a Swiss watch but the truth is it goes like a rocket – what a joy to drive.

Graham and Vanda Banks Club Member Profile

Vehicles 1981 Mercedes Benz 380 SLC
 1989 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC

Interest I have been repairing/restoring since 12 years old

Member since April 2016
Why a member I needed historic registration
Car found 380 SLC Adelaide – Friend who owns a panel beating business and who was going to wreck the car for  parts
 560 SEC Glen Alpin Qld I was looking for a 560 and saw it advertised

Restored 380SLC I restored it quite extensively
 560 SEC It is in absolutely original virtually perfect condition with 142,000 km on the clock.
 I just got in it and drove back to Adelaide in two days.

How long to restore 380 SLC Two months restoring

Problems None. Just tasks that needed doing

Looking for parts No

No limit vehicle None on the radar at this time

Best run Bridgewater Mill – because of the friendship, meal and venue

Problems on run No ran beautifully

Article ID: GRAE30

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