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Frank Broadley ASKED THE GUIDE

It's a star guzzler

I AM bemused when people talk about fuel consumption. I have a 1982 Mercedes Benz 380 SEL which I bought used 10 years ago when super was 65 cents a litre. It's the back-up car now and only gets out once a week. I love to drive it, but at 24 litres for 100km around town and 18 litres for 100km on the highway, it costs $5 just to go for milk. It is serviced every six months, but it pokes out of the carport and the front is exposed to the weather. Are there things to watch out for due to the minimal use, and was it a gas guzzler compared with others from that era?

IT CERTAINLY is a gas guzzler and, though I don't have a figure on what it should be doing, I can safely say it is guzzling way too much fuel. Take it to a Mercedes-Benz specialist and have them go over it. Leaving a car unused for long periods isn't good for it. If you have to leave it, make sure you start and drive it regularly to warm up the engine, gearbox and diff. Have it serviced regularly, as you say you are, and keep it out of the weather to protect the paint.