Archive for the ‘CarTok’ Category

Car Sighting – His Majesty The Sultan’s Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

Posted: 27 April 2013 by SchwarzeMitternacht in CarTok

Royal Merc 1

Yep. Exactly as the headline says. This is His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei’s personal Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Not just any ordinary G-Wagen though. As you can see from the pic, it has massive AMG rims, a very cool (or should I say hot?) side exhaust system, and V8 Kompressor badges on its flanks. Oh, and matte, yet expensive looking, black paint. Yes, ladies & gentlemen, it’s a G55 AMG.

*Model = Flank badges: G55 = V8 Kompressor,  early G63 = 6.3, current G63 = V8 Biturbo, G65 = V12 Biturbo. Or, you know, just look at the model name on the car’s back door.

A little bit of context:

To non-Bruneians and/or those who are unfamiliar with Brunei’s culture and norms, His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei (referred to by Bruneians as HM) goes to different mosques around the country every week for Friday prayers (Brunei is an Islamic Monarchy after all). He does this to see the current welfare of his people, and how all the development projects being done in the country are progressing. As far as I know His Majesty the Sultan go to these mosques in a random order, and arrives  for Friday prayers unannounced. This pic was taken at my local mosque, located near Brunei International Airport.

Until rather recently, the Sultan drives around in an early model Mercedes ML55 AMG in metallic black. Now though he seems to enjoy driving around in this tough, matte black G-Wagen. I think this suits him better.

Royal Merc 2

As you can imagine, it is a rare opportunity for anyone living in any country to see and greet their country’s leader/ruler. As such, both locals and foreign nationals take this chance to at least catch a glimpse of His Majesty the Sultan. They were making the most of the opportunity by going to ‘ziarah’ (meet and greet) with the Sultan and his sons. Indeed during times such as these, some people may in fact air their grievances to His Majesty the Sultan. I have not seen such actions being done personally, it doesn’t seem to be too far a stretch of the imagination. His Majesty the Sultan does listen, Bruneians can attest to that.

In all of these pictures, you can see crowds were forming from the main entrance/exit of the mosque all the way to the car. Thus it was pretty much impossible to get a ‘clear’ picture of the car i.e. a picture with no one between me and the car.

Whereas most people were taking pics and videos of the Sultan, there I was taking pics of the G-Wagen. Let’s just say some people were amused (or should that be bemused?) by my actions.

In the end though, one phrase came up to me when I was looking at the G-Wagen, especially since it is my country’s ruler’s preferred choice of transport:

Royal Merc Drei

LIKE A BOSS

– SCM

CarTok’s 3rd Anniversary!!! + Inane Major Service & Repairs

Posted: 18 April 2013 by SchwarzeMitternacht in Car Life, CarTok, Inane

CarTok celebrates it’s 3rd birthday today. Again I have to thank Reanxyz for allowing me to have my own section on the KupiTok blog. As I have said in my previous post, I found it unbelievable I had no CarTok posts in 2012. Hopefully this post will mark the return of semi-regular posts, not only on CarTok, but KupiTok as well.

In my previous post, I said I wanted to get new tyres for Inane. In actual fact I wanted to buy Zweihänder new tyres as well. So I budgeted BND $1,500 (USD $1200) to buy new sets of tyres for both.

Thing is, Inane has gone past 250,000 kilometres (155,000 miles) recently. It is also due for it’s annual inspection at the Land Transport Department in a couple of months. So I figured since I have some cash on me, I might as well send the car for a major service (engine oil, oil filter, timing belt, transmission oil, brake service etc). There should still be enough money to get at least a set of tyres for Inane and not much needed to be added to get tyres for Zweihänder.

Alas….

P1000398-1

… things turned out to be more expensive and time consuming than I thought. Also, a couple of issues have been identified.

The area surrounding the oil drain plug on the oil pan needs to be repaired. Luckily there were no oil leaks but it did cost me extra and meant the labour costs were higher than expected.

Another problem identified is that my drive shafts weren’t in their best condition. Nor were the front suspension’s lower arms. So I had to send the car back to the menders a few days later to get those problems fixed.

P1000394-1

$460 + $950 + $18 (cost of alignment at TyreMart) = $1428 total. There goes my budget…..

Well, I guess replacing the tyres would have to wait.

I think I should now add that the tyres for both Inane and Zweihänder are still easily legal. It’s just that they feel ‘old/tired’. So even though the tread look fine, the cars  just don’t feel as confidence-inspiring as they should be when driving them ‘spiritedly’.

But hey, every cloud has a silver lining and all that. At least mechanically, Inane is now as fighting fit as I could realistically expect it to be. That’s not a bad way to celebrate CarTok’s 3rd anniversary is it?

– SCM

I’ll Be Back…….

Posted: 10 April 2013 by SchwarzeMitternacht in CarTok, Inane

…… just in time for CarTok’s 3rd anniversary. Inane needs new boots. Tyre shopping time!!!

(Dayuuuuuuuuum. I really had no posts from 2012?)

– SCM

Schwarz, My 2011 Mercedes-Benz E300 Avantgarde

Posted: 25 August 2011 by SchwarzeMitternacht in C.L.U., Car Life, CarTok
Tags:

You know, it’s actually pretty hard for me to even type about this car. My other cars, Inane (the Rover 416SLi) and Zweihänder (the BMW 850Ci) joined my garage as previously owned cars. And I had both for quite some time, learning each of their characters and foibles before this blog even existed. So basically when I typed the respective introductions for both cars, it was me basically describing my old friends of sorts, who have been through a lot with me.

This time however, I had the opportunity to get a brand new car. Not only that, I was able to choose the spec of the car. One proviso though, it had to be a Mercedes-Benz. Why? My mom wants a Mercedes-Benz. Yes. Really.

My mom has promised herself that she would get a Mercedes-Benz when she retires. Not only that, by the time she retired, she was set on getting a C-Class. A Nouveau Riche Mercedes-Benz!? NEIN!!!

(OK, I honestly do not wish to offend people who drive and own small engined C-Classes/3-series/A4s/ISs. They are nice, well engineered cars. If I was given any one of them, I’d be really happy and thankful. But yeah, when you think about it, those cars are seen as Nouveau Riche, and not just in Brunei either. Or lets put it in another way; in Brunei, what luxury cars would most people get when they graduate university and land their first decent job? My point exactly. Sorry for the rant)

So let’s just say by putting my own money down, I have steered her away from the C-Class and into the latest E-Class. In the spec I want. So basically she pays for the car, I pay for the ‘spec’, if that makes sense.

And that spec includes a V6 3.0 litre engine, and a  7-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shift (apparently you could not get this engine in Europe. You go straight from the 1.8 litre turbo found in the E200/E250 to the 3.5 litre V6 found in the E350. My best guess is that its for marketing  and emissions, since those engines feature direct injection a.k.a. CGI in Merc blurb. I wanted to get the car in E350 form, alas my budget didn’t stretch that far). Oh, and since the E300 comes with an Avantgarde spec minimum (at least here), I get 17 inch wheels, lowered suspension, and real leather. As a no cost option, anything I could spec in black, I have specced thusly (the Obisidian Black Metallic paint, the grille inserts, the ash wood veneer, the roof lining and last, but not least, the leather). Best BND$30,000 (USD$25,000) I spent in my entire life (and there goes my marriage  account. Don’t be sad for me though, I am currently a single-ing, mingle-ing, jingle-ing, ding-a-ling. With an attitude problem. And talk too much. Plus I’m very annoying. Really. Trust me on that).

So the order was made in February 2011. The car itself got made in Stuttgart in April 2011. During that time period, I actually gave the car a placeholder name – Schwarz – simply because of its blackness. I did ask you lot to give me ideas, but I guess I’m sticking with Scwarz. Not original, I know.

We finally took delivery of the car on 7/7/2011.

In my earlier post, I promised to tell how I got on with this car for the month of July, and also as a first step in making ‘proper’ monthly updates on this car. So my next post about Schwarz would be exactly about that, and my early impressions of running this impressive machine.

P.S. Dumbfoundead pointed something ironic about my current situation with the cars I run. My favourite ‘realistic’ cars are the Mazda RX-7s, Skyline GT-Rs (note I said Skyline, not the latest one), Toyota Supras, Subaru WRXs, Mitsubishi Evos and the like. So for someone who likes sporty Japanese machinery, and reads a lot of Japanese-centric car magazines, I am running 3 luxurious European cars instead…..

– SCM

Inane: Routine Mantenance – Servicing August 2011

Posted: 24 August 2011 by SchwarzeMitternacht in Car Life, CarTok, Inane

Inane just hit 236,000kms  (about 147,000 miles)last week, so it’s time for its next oil service.

Just before servicing the car, it started to develop a high pitched sound from the front. As far as I can tell, it was not a drivetrain issue, but the sound only come up when I am in gear…

During the service (which was done, as usual, at Sumber Intermed), it was noticed that my power steering fluid level was on the low side. It was topped up, along with the other usual stuff done during an oil service (changing the engine oil, the oil filter etc.). The high pitch sound has not returned since. So was it really because of the low power steering fluid level? I’d love to hear feedback from you lot if you have any experience (or even theories) with this.

The service cost me BND$50 (USD$40…. the US Dollar is really not worth much nowadays huh?)

On a side note, my Falken Ze-912s are still hanging in there (i.e. still fully legal and giving me good grip and handling), lasting way longer than they have any right to be, but I have heard that Tyre Mart no longer stocks Falkens (?). Is a tyre model/brand change in order?

– SCM

CarTok/CarLife – New Directions

Posted: 09 July 2011 by SchwarzeMitternacht in Car Life, CarTok

GIMME A NAME!!!

Howdy KupiTok/CarTok readers!

It’s been a while since I have made a post on anything here in KupiTok, let alone in CarTok.

Now, I am sure some of you maybe wondering what this post’s title means, what that picture of a Mercedes E-Class is doing up there, and why there have been no CarTok posts form me these past 2 months or so. Here’s the rundown:

As I have said in my last post back in April,  Zweihänder has had power steering issues for some time. The problem seemed to have been fixed when we finally got the car back in May, but then just last week the dreaded ‘P.A.S. Fluid Low’ warning popped up again on the car’s dashboard. And indeed, the power assisted steering fluid level was low…. Not a good sign.

Also, in an earlier post, I have stated that I will have a brand new car that I will be running. That car is a Mercedes E300. More specifically, a Mercedes-Benz E300 Avantgarde in Obisidian Black Metallic.  That’s the car in the pic up there. All black metallic paint, black roof-lining, black grille insert, black leather interior with black ash wood trim of it. It’s not all black though. The interior A- and C-pillars and ceiling are in grey so it is not TOO claustrophobic.

So with the arrival of the E300, and the ongoing issues of the 8-Series, my father has decided that we split responsibilities for the cars. My dad will now be fully in charge of running and maintaining Zweihänder, and I will be in charge of running and maintaining the E300. That doesn’t mean I won’t help my dad in running the BMW, it’s just that updates on Zweihänder will be few and far between now.

So with all of this going on, I have taken this opportunity to change my style of posting updates here in CarTok. Since I am running the E300 from new, I shall try my best to post updates on the ownership experience of the car every month. If you read the long term running reports in various car magazines, e.g. Fast Fleet in EVO Magazine, than this will be somewhat familiar to you. I’m not saying I will reach the high standards of writing in magazines such as EVO, but I will try my best to be as clear and as informative as possible. In light of this, I will be making the first ‘proper’ post on the E300 next month, as I tell my experiences with the car for this month.

As some readers will know, I have a habit of naming my cars, but I have yet to name the E300. I really want to call it ‘Schwarz’ (German for black) because it is practically begging for it. Of course, that sorts of clashes with my ‘pen name’ here in KupiTok. Being a Transformers fan, I am also tempted to call it ‘Wheeljack’. This is because the Autobot character Wheeljack was an E-Class in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Another name bouncing around in my head is ‘Ritter’, in keeping with the Germanic theme (‘ritter’ means ‘knight’). What do you guys think? Which name should I choose? Are there any other names which are better suited to the car? Comments would be appreciated.

– SCM

As I have said in the CarTok post before this one, I plan to balance and rotate the tyres on Inane ‘within a month’. Turns out, It would have been better if I said ‘within a week’.

Before going out for a drive earlier today, I checked and compared the condition of my Falken Ziex Ze-912 (I should really ask Falken to pay me everytime I type that out…) tyres.

(Btw, pardon the dismal picture quality. I had to use my camera phone)

This is my front right tyre.

This is my rear right tyre.

As one can see, the tread on the front tyre shown is considerably more worn down than the rear one.

Also note that the inner side of the tyres are more worn down than the outside for both the tyres pictured. This is because I run a slightly negative camber on all four corners of the car (the fronts slightly more than the rear).

With the prospect of driving a lot this coming few weeks, the fact that the tyres haven’t been balanced for nearly 8 months, that there’s a slight vibration through the steering wheel at medium, and that the front tyres are significantly more worn down than the rears, it could only mean one thing…

OFF TO TYREMART!!! Hahaha

I had my tyres balanced and rotated at TyreMart Lambak. The work was done quickly and efficiently, as per the usual.

Total cost: BND$12 (USD$9)

P.S. If you’re wondering why I have not done any posts on Zweihänder, well… it’s power steering is broken and the repairs are not quite finished yet… for over a month now…

– SCM