Well we finally did it. I had been looking at (and dreaming about) a
Mercedes-Benz SLK320s for almost 10 years and when I saw this one for
sale on EBay in the beginning of December 2007 I decided I had to have
it. With encouragement from Heather and some creative short term
financing we were able to buy it. It is a 2001 SLK320 that had only
25,800 miles on it when we picked it up in Pampano Beach, Florida. It
is not in perfect condition but almost.
These cars are convertible hardtops. They have a built in
mechanism that removes the hardtop and stores it in the
trunk at the touch of a button. When you want the
back on you press the button again and the top is removed from the
trunk and placed back onto the car. The last picture shows this in
This is the nicest car we have ever owned and/or driven. It is only a
two seater with no possibility of carrying more people. The trunk is
large enough to carry a couple of duffel bags when the top is stored
there which is plenty for short trips. Heather has named this car Gold Member
in tribute to Austin Powers. To me the car feels like I am driving a
James Bond car because of the European appointments
and performance. Saying this car is fun to drive is an
understatement. It is amazingly fun. It has enough acceleration to push
you back in the seat which allows you to pass anyone very quickly.
Also, you don't really have to brake for corners as this car is very
Getting the car was fun as well. On the day the EBay
auction was going to end, I decided I didn't want to loose this car to
someone else so I called the dealer in Florida and ask him how much he
was asking for the car locally. The figure he told me was less than I
thought I would pay in the auction so I told him I wanted to buy it
then. He was OK with that and stopped the EBay auction will me as the
This started a whole chain of events in motion. Heather and I would
have to get to Florida to pick up the car so we decided to make a
vacation of it. The dealer needed his money in no more than
days so we had to act fast. After sending him a deposit to hold the
car, we got on the Internet and booked our whole vacation in about an
hour. We decided we wanted to see the Florida Keys and the Everglades
and, if possible, to see the space shuttle take off which was scheduled
for December 6th. So the following Monday we flew to Fort Lauderdale,
Florida and the next day went to the dealer. After inspecting the car
seemed to be in very good condition we finished the paper work and it
was ours. We put a new set of tires on
the car while in Florida because the existing tires didn't
have much tread
remaining. We would be driving the car back to Colorado
in the winter and didn't want to take any chances.
So after picking up the car our mini vacation began and it was
fun. We first drove from Fort Lauderdale to
Miami and stopped at a Gorden Biersch Restaurant (my favorite brewing
establishment) and had lunch. Miami has an incredible skyline just like
we see in the movies. Then we were off to the Florida Keys for
nice long drive to check out the car. The evening finished with a
very nice dinner in a restaurant on the beach followed by a night drive
with the top down
back to our hotel on the main land. We now see why people flock to
Florida in the winter time.
The next day we got up and drove into Everglades National Park
had a very nice day. We started with a ranger walk through the swamps
and we saw an incredible number of birds, fish, turtiles and
gaters. The daytime
temperature was a perfect 80 degrees; quite a bit different from
Colorado the day we left. We even had a chance to paddle a canoe in the
park but we didn't see many animals there. Here again we put the top
down for the drive in the park.
The next day we drove up the east coast of Florida to Titusville and
checked into the hotel we had booked. Upon arrival we were told the
shuttle was scrubbed that day due to problems with fuel sensors but
that they were going to try again the next day. We had some Thai food
that evening and some of the bubbly in our room. We ended up in the hot
tub with a some other people who were there to see the shuttle lift off
as well. We found a liquor store in Titusville that had an incredible
assortment of Belgium beers including Rodenback; we were in
The next day we went to the Kennedy
and took the whole day tour. We were hoping to see the shuttle take off
from there but the problems with the fuel sensors had not been fixed so
they scrubbed that day as well.
We were surprised how expensive it was to get into the Kennedy
Space Center. It costs us about $120 to get in. Good thing the
tickets were good for multiple days. There is a lot to see
space buffs like Heather and I and it took us two days to see it all.
Highlights include a full size fully restored Saturn 5 rocket they have
on display. This is the rocket that took the astronauts to the moon.
You have no idea of the scale of this thing until you are standing next
to it. It was huge. We also got to see the VAB or Vehicle Assembly
Building which is the biggest building in the world. It tall enough to
have the Saturn 5 or the Shuttle upright inside. We didn't get to go
anywhere near the Shuttle launch pad as it was poised to fly. We could
see it pretty well though. We also got to ride the space shuttle
simulator and see two IMAX movies which was fun.
With the launch scrubbed twice we decided to stick around another
couple of days just in case. When launch was scrubbed on the
day we decided it was time for us to leave since we had a 1600
mile drive to do and the weather in the mid west was getting nasty. It
also seemed NASA was no closer to finding the problem on the fourth day
as it had been on the first day so we were pretty sure the
would be postponed. We were correct and NASA is now saying a launch of
STS-122 won't happen sooner than the beginning of January
had made a good decision
We drove almost directly home but stopped off in a few places to enjoy
the sites. We visited a club we had read about called the Flora-Bama
the border between Florida and Alabama. It's a place whose sole
purpose is for adults to misbehave. The rafters of the main room are
covered with womens bras. We saw a really good female singer
and guitar player while we were there. They only serve beer in cans so
we didn't stay too long.
We also took a ferry ride (Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island) around
Mobile, Alabama and had some incredible boiled shrimp fresh out of the
pot in Slidell, Louisiana on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
We stayed as far south as we could and only turned directly north at
Texas. We wanted to stay out of the snow for as long as possible. As it
turned out we didn't hit snow on the road until we pulled into Colorado
Springs. The Mercedes did surprisingly well in the snow for a rear
wheel drive car due to its traction control system.
The vacation was excellent as is the car. Both Heather and I had a good
time despite the long drive home. The Mercedes is safely parked in the
and probably won't get driven a lot until next Spring. Ask us and we
will take you for a ride.
beautiful car ever!