AUGUST MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 9th August

A big crowd numbering almost 60 attended our August General Meeting at the Drouin Golf Club with most booking in and enjoying a plentiful and delicious buffet meal as well.

Ray ran the show in his own inimitable fashion, introducing a couple of new members and breezing through the general business, assisted on past and coming events by the roving microphone and various volunteers. Joel Martin and Ian Maud regaled us with the sorry tales of their respective 6-Hour Relay teams before we paused for a short break prior to Ray introducing us to his new 2003 Mercedes E55 AMG.

This big black Merc was the car Ray eluded to at last month?s meeting when describing a recent journey to Sydney with his brother to collect their old Monaro race car. On a whim they detoured into Canberra to look at this car after inspecting a similar one in Sydney earlier in the journey. This one didn?t disappoint, a deal was struck, a new exhaust was fitted, some new tyres replaced the old, an ACT roadworthy certificate was obtained and Ray was soon winging his way back to Canberra and enjoying the return drive to Warragul through Cooma and Cann River behind the 3-pointed star.

Although 15 years-old and with over 200,000 kms under its belt, this big Merc carries its age well. Apparently everything still works as it should and it is in excellent mechanical condition. The AMG 5.5 litre supercharged V8 is built by McLaren in the McLaren factory and it wears an engraved plate signed by the engine builder. Producing 350kW and 700Nm of torque, it really packs a punch and endows the heavy E-class sedan with formidable performance. Brembo multi piston calipers on large disc brakes front and rear are capable of reining it in, but Mercedes thought it prudent to activate the traction control as a default setting whenever the ignition was turned on, and Ray concedes that it?s a good idea ? especially if the roads are a bit damp!

Equipment levels are very high, as one would expect on a top-shelf Mercedes that retailed at around $225,000 when new. It has 14 computers controlling everything from the automatic transmission, to the heated and cooled seats that even have self-inflatable bolsters which give extra support when pushing hard around corners.

Ray has given the car a very thorough detailing since bringing it home and has been tidying up a few niggly issues that came to his attention. A new bearing for the supercharger drive pulley was an easy fix, but having to replace the entire front sway bar assembly with integral bushes instead of just the bushes themselves went against the grain. Once behind the wheel, however, these nuisance matters soon disappear. It truly is an amazing car to drive and I understand why Ray enjoys driving it so much.

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