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Me & My Automotive: The Pagoda and the Phantom of a classic automobile fan, Motoring Information & High Tales

Me & My Automotive: The Pagoda and the Phantom of a classic automobile fan, Motoring Information & High Tales

SINGAPORE – A twist of a key within the ignition barrel breathes life into the engine of a darkish blue, 1967 Mercedes-Benz SL250. The two.5-litre, straight-six motor clears its throat with a big expulsion and settles right into a baritone burble.

At his manufacturing unit in Tuas the place he shops his automobiles – there may be not sufficient house at house – proprietor Tan Ah Ee, 66, positions the practically 54-year-old automobile for this photoshoot with a practised air. The SL250 is often referred to as the Pagoda due to the form of its roof.

Closing the door of theMerc, Mr Tan strikes on toget his different automobile – an enigmatic, silver-and-red 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom II – in place.

If urgent the “Engine Begin” button in a contemporary automobile is akin to the simplicity of utilizing an iPhone, then beginning the 93-year-old Phantom II is like watching inventor Alexander Graham Bell make the primary phone name.

Levers and knobs on the steering wheel and dashboard for throttle place, carburettor combination and ignition timing should be pulled on the proper time and in the fitting place. If not, the automobile will stall.

Mr Tan’s fingers dance coolly over them, and the leviathan shudders to life with an exhaust sound harking back to a steam practice.

Mr Tan, chairman and managing director of a producing agency specialising in foam-packaging manufacturing, drives the SL250 extra typically. Because the automobile is on a traditional plate (the unique set matching the automobile’s mannequin quantity), it may be pushed as and when he likes.

The vintage-car aficionado inherited the SL250 from his brother in Might 2007 because it was giving the latter issues. Along with his intensive connections to workshops that specialize in restoring previous automobiles, Mr Tan quickly acquired it operating correctly.

He has since forked out about $30,000 on repairs, most recentlyspending $3,000 on changing the previous, cracked canvas roof.

And that cash has been spent correctly. The SL250 appears as contemporary as an almost six-decade-old automobile might be. Itscertificate of entitlement has been renewed for an additional 10 years until March 2030, and Mr Tan intends to drive it until then.

The Merc has attracted a lot consideration from members at a golf membership he frequents, and his common mechanic revealed that the automobile has attracted just a few affords from different prospects. Mr Tan reckons the automobile is valued “round $200,000 to $300,000”.

Turning his consideration to the Rolls-Royce, his eyes mild up. The storied Phantom II started life as a prototype codenamed 18EX in 1928. It underwent heavy testing in France and England, was withdrawn from growth work in 1931, and eventually overhauled earlier than being placed on sale.

It’s powered by a mammoth 7.7-litre, straight-six engine, mated to a four-speed handbook transmission, and produces about 120hp.

Mr Tan paid $250,000 for the automobile in August 1992, shopping for it in Perth, Australia from the property of Sir Michael Robert Hamilton Holmes a Courtroom, an Australian billionaire who died of a coronary heart assault two years earlier.

He shipped the automobile to Singapore shortly after and registered it beneath the Classic (Restricted) Car Scheme. It’s unmodified save for repairs to maintain it operating.

He has pushed it for his daughter’s marriage ceremony, however admits it’s onerous to drive – “virtually like a lorry” due to the necessity to double-declutch the transmission. He has pushed the automobile at Chingay parades too.

He has taken it to many vintage-car rallies – themost memorable one being the 1998 Louis Vuitton Traditional China Run, the place 50 automobiles went on a 1,300km drive from Dalian to the Forbidden Metropolis in Beijing.

“I nonetheless have two sleeping luggage made by Louis Vuitton,” Mr Tan says.

Alongside the best way, the drum brakes on the Phantom II jammed. A mechanic who went on the journey managed to launch them, however had no spare components available, so Mr Tan needed to cease on steep descents utilizing simply the handbrake. He acknowledges the Phantom II wants some restoration work.

Mr Tan can also be a revered stamp collector in Singapore, proudly owning a number of extremely uncommon stamps value hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

However today, he loves golf extra. “I used to play with automobiles, however now that I am getting older, I favor to play golf,” he laughs.

What’s within the boot of the SL250?


The boot of the SL250 accommodates a spare tyre, a automobile cowl, and lots of different objects. PHOTO: WONG KAI YI

– Spare tyre

– Automotive cowl

– Previous headlamps which had been lately changed

– Previous headlamp chrome trim items

– Unique Mercedes-Benz automobile jack

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