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I'm taking a couple of nights with friends in Mendocino so today drove die Gelbe Gefahr 230 miles up here, 140 of that on the winding crests of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Whew, I'm exhausted.

The SLK is an effortless long distance, big road flier. But this first generation with the five speed manual gearbox is not at its best in the windy, tight up and down switchbacks of the coast road.. The gear spacing between 1,2 and 3 is just too wide, it pulls very high Gs cornering very flat but that really throws you around, and the steering, shifting, brake and clutch effort is pretty high.

It needed that six speed box they fitted in 2002, IMO. My MR2 and Alfa Spider did these kinds of roads better, so did the Prius. But with that said, this little sled does what I need better than they did most of the time, and is more comfortable in most circumstances.

Nothing's perfect, there are always trade-offs. Despite the effort, it was a great ride. :)
 

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Improved the rendering in the photo above... :)

Coming home, I took a different route. What I'd learned from the ride up the PCH was to hold the car in third gear and take advantage of the torque monster powerband, steer and corner on the brakes—the 33 miles of twisties heading from Fort Bragg into Willits went much more smoothly and with less effort than the Coast Highway run. Different driving techniques ...

Then the run down 101 to the South Bay area ... mostly clear traffic, the autobahn setup of Die Gelbe Gefahr made it again effortless to crack along smartly.

A four hour drive that seemed to take no time at all. I really dig this little yellow machine.

Now if only MBZ would deliver the damn cat-con I ordered in April! It's sounding more and more like a rusted out '57 Chevy when I start it up. LOL!
 
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