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                                                                                                                                                     David Sutherland

A 1990 car, this 560 has                                                         Air time
the most powerfull version
of the M117, with 296bhp.                                                        North London’s wonderful air museum
                                                                                 served as the backdrop to our photoshoot
popped down to London to check the         For many years                                                                                                              65
560 out, which I was so grateful for. His  Richard coveted                       We are grateful to the Royal Air Force Museum in Colindale,
verdict was: “Go for it!” Sure, it needed  an SEC. Now he                        north London,for allowing us to photograph the 560SEC in its
some bodywork and other                    is a happy man.                       grounds,writes David Sutherland.In our main photographs
maintenance, but for the price, and its                                          you see it against the green doors of the World War One
background with an enthusiast owner,                                             hangar,and in the picture above a Hurricane frames the
there was no reason to back away. Plus,                                          Mason 560SEC and also his E280 Estate‘daily driver’.
its grey leather interior could be
replaced with the cream one.                                                        Mercedes cars are no strangers to the Museum,as the
                                                                                 Mercedes-Benz Club has held a number of London Region
Ipicked up the car on the day of the                                             events here,and for those interested in military aircraft it is an
    Mercedes-Benz Club’s National                                                extraordinary facility.Probably every model aircraft every
    Concours at Mercedes’ Milton                                                 British schoolboy built from an Airfix kit is present,with access
Keynes headquarters, and drove it                                                to the interior of some exhibits,such as the Short Sunderland
straight there. It seemed the best way                                           flying boat with its walk-through tour.
to celebrate my purchase.
                                                                                    Although on a former RAF site,and officially still part of the
    It was now time to enter the brave                                           RAF,the collection of more than 100 aircraft over five large
new world of car restoration, and the                                            halls is truly international.Besides British WW2 staples such as
                                                                                 Spitfire and Hurricane fighters,and Lancaster and Mosquito
                                                                                 bombers,you’ll find a Boeing
                                                                                 B-17 Flying Fortress and a North
                                                                                 American P-51 Mustang,plus
                                                                                 plenty of other hardware from
                                                                                 the United States.German
                                                                                 aircraft are well represented,too,
                                                                                 with a Messerschmitt Me 109
                                                                                 and Me 262,the latter the first

                                                                                 “THE COLLECTION OF
                                                                                 MORE THAN 100
                                                                                 AIRCRAFT OVER FIVE
                                                                                 LARGE HALLS IS TRULY

“I PICKED THE CAR UP ON THE DAY OF                                               operational jet fighter,in 1944.
THE MERCEDES-BENZ CLUB’S NATIONAL                                                   There are countless other
KEYNES HEADQUARTERS,AND DROVE IT                                                 exhibits detailing equipment
STRAIGHT THERE”                                                                  and uniforms,and even a
                                                                                 section on life in prisoner of war
car was driven to MercedesMark for         It’s definitely been worth it,        camps for airmen who survived
what was meant to be a two-month               though. The 560SEC now drives     being shot down.It is
stay, but ended up being seven. An             almost as it must have done when  undoubtedly one of the best
SEC is, I feel, like a stately home: once  new, effortlessly wafting along on a  days out in London,and with its
you start a drains-up restoration, all     cushion of ample, smoothly            National Lottery funding is
sorts of nasties are likely to surface     delivered power. When it appeared     constantly renewing its exhibits.
(see ‘The Work Sheet’ on page 66).         at Silverstone Classic in summer      And how much will all this cost
                                                                                 you to see? Apart from £3 for
                                                                                 parking,nothing – entry is free.

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