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German Auto Haus: Customer Profile - Gary Diffen - Mercedes-Benz 380SL

My passion for my Mercedes-Benz 380SL

If you look at the range of collectable cars that are available, we are spoiled for choice in Australia….and batting well out of our crease compared to other countries. My brother has been collecting cars since he was 16….and he was always driving something different to everybody else. In the mid 1980’s, I got fed up with my accounting job in one of the big firms and changed career to sell Mercedes Benz at 3Point Motors for a couple of years before moving to computers.

This was my first association with Mercedes Benz….and the 380SL was the top of the range. Most of the convertibles we sold were red…and at the time they were priced at around $84,000 with all the options. This was the price of a Victorian cottage in North Fitzroy….and I’m pretty sure I know which one was the better investment!!!

Fast forward to 2007….and my brother convinced me to look at buying another car for cruising on the weekends. I went back to my Mercedes Benz roots, remembering how much I liked the 380SL…but way out of my affordability in 1884!!!

I saw an advertisement in the Unique Cars magazine in May 2007 the day it was released, advertising a red 380SL with only 76K on the clock. I went round to view the car in Sandringham…and I knew straight away this was the car for me. It was the first car I looked at!!! I tried to negotiate with the elderly owner, who was selling the car because his wife couldn’t get into or out of it. The phone kept ringing in their dining room, and I could hear the voice messages of people who wanted to buy the car. Either it was a clever ruse…or it was incredibly well priced. I bought the car in 30 minutes.

It turned out that the car had only had three owners. The car was delivered to a gentleman in Sydney who only kept it for about 3 years before selling it to Reg Hunt who owned the golden mile of cars (and real estate) along the Nepean Highway. He kept it for about 20 years before selling the car to one his accountants, the gent I bought it from.

The next job was to find someone who would service the car. You can call up any European service centre and they will all respond, “Yes…we can service your car”. But as we all know, “oils aint oils”…so I went for a walk around Richmond to visit half a dozen potential service centres. On the third one, I walked in to German Auto House….and poked my head in the garage to see what was in there. Up for service were 3 SL Mercedes….and I thought, “this is the right place”. If people were going to send their cars to Andreas, then I will too !!!

So that’s how I came to have German Auto House looking after my car….and I have been with Andreas for 15 years. He also serviced my BMW (now since gone to God). The important thing here is that I bought a very good SL….and I have been lucky not to have had any engine issues. I’ve only had one big bill to fix the fuel injection, the manifold, and a number of auxiliary items that was affecting the performance of the car. It’s been a lot of fun to drive….and I know if anything goes wrong, it’s in good hands to be looked after quickly by Andreas and his team.

My partner and I love taking the car away on weekends in regional Victoria and it has also had a trip around Tasmania. These cars are very reliable (in my experience) … and I would recommend this model to anyone as an entry into collector car ownership. In my 15 years of custodianship, I have added another 40K on the clock….and had a lot of fun doing it. I have no intention of ever selling it …. because I know I’II never find another one as good as this. So, I’m looking forward to another 15 years …. and more country trips.

Enjoy your passion …. and enjoy the ride ….

Gary