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My 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL


But years later she has never quite got around to listening to it.

"I only bought the album because unfortunately somebody had installed a 10-disc CD-stacker in the 190SL," Bateman says. "But I haven’t played it yet, even though I’ve had the car for six years." She says the CD player is only the sour note of the few changes to the car's original state.

"It was originally left-hand drive, but has been converted. Apart from that it’s mainly that the twin Solex carburettors have been replaced by Webers – which makes tuning a breeze – and it has modern tyres rather than cross-ply ones.

Bateman says she had been a fan of the Mercedes-Benz 190SL convertibles all her life, but the right one never seemed to appear.

"I have always considered the 190SL the most beautiful car ever built.  The lines of the car are perfect, with the long bonnet and the elegantly tapered rear," she says.  "I had looked at a few over the years, but the price or colour were never quite right. Then a friend showed me the ad for this one. It was the right colour – red – and a reasonable price."

Bateman says the Mercedes-Benz was in reasonably good condition when she bought it, and hasn’t been any trouble.

"The dealer had work done on the engine at my request and I had experts check it out.  In the six years I have had the car, it has only needed work on the starter motor," she says. "It’s in great condition mechanically but has some cosmetic issues.  It would probably never win a concours, but it has been runner up."

She says some of her best times with the car have been showing it off in the company of other Mercedes-Benzes from the same era.

"The car and I entered the Classic Adelaide in 2004. The focus of the event that year was the 50th anniversary of the 300 SL Gullwing, 300SL Roadster and of course the 190SL," Bateman says. There were cars from Germany, Switzerland, the US and the UK. We had 16 190SLs, 16 300SL roadsters and seven Gullwings. The four-day event was run through the beautiful Adelaide Hills and commenced with a parade through the city streets. It was a fabulous experience to be surrounded by so many examples of my favourite car."

"I consider myself the caretaker of this beautiful car. I love it when people enjoy seeing it. To add to Oscar Wilde’s statement that 'one should either be a work of art or wear a work of art', I’ve chosen to drive a work of art."