Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A new interest to keep me occupied!

We haven't visited the boat for the last two weeks, the first was due to me being right in the middle of my hay fever season, and the second was that our daughter, who is currently working in India, had been called back to her company HQ in London for a month, so she took the opportunity to visit us at home for the weekend. I have been on an economy drive though. Part of that, I am sure will be of interest to some who have similar interests in narrowboats, and that is of quality engineering, the kind that you simply don't get any more, in the form of a 20 year old Mercedes Benz 190e...........

My first saving came by dropping our current internet service provider at home, and then taking on another company using one of their "new customers only" offers. I am absolutely fed up of these companies putting their prices up year on year to existing customers, while advertising ever cheaper offers for the same package to new ones, so I try and play their game. I will do the same with my mobile phone contract at the end of the year, as that is the same, and my current phone, one of the so called "smart" 3G variety, is about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. I intend to get back to a phone that simply makes phone calls!

My biggest saving (I hope) has come in the form of changing my car. Now I am retired, we no longer need to run two vehicles. Mine was a newish 4X4 utility truck, and the insurance was "going through the roof" year on year. So I called it a day, got rid of it, and bought a quality, but elderly, Mercedes Benz 190e, which will serve to get me here and there when Margaret isn't around. She will keep her "modern" car for our joint use, with its reliability. I have been looking at this model in the market place for months now, and had narrowed my choice down to two. It is reputed to be one of the last "proper" Mercedes Benz models, and was reputed to have been massively over engineered. This is the most likely reason that this model has been the mainstay of the world wide taxi industry for years, at the same time as being the car of envy of the British motorist. The one I eventually bought has come straight from its elderly long term owner, via an independent Mercedes Benz dealer with whom he had been a long term client, and they were selling it on his behalf. In buying this one I have managed to secure the car before it reached the hands of an uncaring owner, who might buy such a car, with its very low purchase price (less than the insurance renewal for the truck) and 12 months MOT, to use and "run into the ground" and then dispose of to a now unsuspecting new owner. It has superb history, and has wanted for nothing during its easy life, the owner has now been forced to give up driving. Here it is:

The interior is cream, and is in "as new" condition. How this has been achieved with this particular colour I have no idea.
It is unusual to find all the original bits and bobs still there in cars like this. This is the original Mercedes Benz first aid kit, situated in its own compartment in the rear parcel shelf.
The Mercedes Benz dealer kindly fitted a set of brand new genuine floor mats, although the cream carpets beneath are unworn and unmarked.

This Blaupunkt radio cassette player is new and unused right back from the 1990's. The car's owner had replaced it with a "better" Pioneer model. I promptly returned it to original condition. The owner also had air conditioning fitted, which was not a factory option on this model, so it was fitted by the MB dealer at an additional cost of £1600! It still works perfectly, as does the sunroof, and electric windows.
The car came to me with 84000 miles, serviced annually, the last one being January this year - 500 miles ago! It has covered 18000 miles since year 2000!

One of the original items to survive is a complete MB owners wallet, containing owners handbook, dealer guide, dealer map, and service book. Even the sales representative's business card is tucked up in the inside cover.
The warning triangles are often used and then forgotten and left at the scene of the roadside stop. This one is in mint condition.
The spare tyre is new, as are the two rears, which have recently been replaced. All tool wraps are present and complete with MB tools. All tyres are of good brand quality, the two fronts are Firestone, the rears Continental.

It came complete with all its "bits" such as Mercedes Benz first aid kit, warning triangle, Blaupunkt radio cassette, and full owner's handbook car pack in original MB wallet. It also has the benefit of a wad of previous invoices, and a full and detailed printout of all previous work done by the Mercedes Benz dealer. The paperwork includes the original bill of sale! It will continue to have a pampered and easy life!

We will be back to the boat this weekend.


  1. Peter
    It looks very smart.... Well done on achieving a bargain!
    Tom & Jan

  2. Hi Tom, it remains to be seen whether it is a bargain, and depends on whether I did my homework correctly when I chose it, and my future restraint in spending cash to achieve perfection on a 20 year old car. The bottom line is I can hopefully run it for 12 months for less than the cost of annual insurance on the truck, which has spent most of the last 12 months just sat on the driveway.


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