Harko de Vlaming
Harko de Vlaming, owner of Adfino. C.S., a business consultancy for self-employed entrepreneurs, a satisfied customer for more than 12 years, who has put more than 66000 delightful kilometres behind him in his Mercedes 190SL.
According to the documents on hand Harko’s 190SL was delivered directly in the port of Hamburg on April 24th 1957 by the manufacturer for shipment to the United States, at the time the destination of half of the 190SL’s. In 1995, after a 16-year-standstill, the car was returned to the European mainland in its original state. The car was registered in the state of Virginia and had been owned by a Texan lady from Dallas. After the car had been garaged in Belgium for four years it started a new life in the Netherlands just before the end of the millennium. The car got its Dutch registration mid-2000.
Since that time we have covered more than 41000 miles, about 66000 kilometres, in 9 European countries. From the English east coast to the most southern point of the Italian paradise of Sicily. The car is not only used for holidays and weekend trips, but has by now also put to its name a considerable number of rallies; from very competitive ones like the “Coppa d’ Europe” to very relaxed tours like the “Raid dell’Etna”. Only recently the 190SL participated in the jubilee edition of the Leersum flower pageant. A standstill does not do a car any good. Besides meetings of the Dutch Mercedes Clubs, we participate in events organised by German and Italian 190SL clubs, like the 4th International 190SL rally in the surroundings of Portofino. There were about eighty 190 SL’s from all corners of Europe. Why is Italy so attractive? It is not only the prevailing good weather and the food, but more particularly the enthusiastic reactions of the people along the route, who applaud and cheer when they see a beautiful car! And during these events you come to places you did not know they existed.
In daily traffic, on holidays as well as in rallies the car is a good match. Of course, a good preparation is essential. The first contacts with the Van Dijks go as far back as 2000, when we ordered parts by mail in order to prepare the car for its inspection by the RDW. In point of fact the car has been maintained by Van Dijk’s restoration shop since the beginning of 2003. Before and after every event the car is thoroughly inspected and maintained, if necessary. Though the car is practically in its original state, the necessary adaptations and revisions have been carried out by now. No wonder for a car that, despite its 55 years, is not exactly spared when used. Of course we have adapted the car to the demanding circumstances of tours and rallies. Among others, we mounted an oil pan protection. (Original Mercedes Benz), an electronic ignition system and an alternator, in order to feed the heavier lighting. Further we installed a Halda Twinmaster and Speedpilot, a voltameter, a stopwatch, a map reader and an armrest in a demountable central console. Essential attributes when driving rallies. When driving “top down” is not an option, we mount a hard top. Originally the car was a coupé with an additional hard top.
Unfortunately the original was missing. Through an advertisement we found one with a small rear screen, which appeared to have been perfectly restored by the Van Dijks.
This year we have a holiday tour to the south of France to look forward to. Enjoying everything that passes by, for in an open car you do not miss much. Relaxed touring from terrace to terrace, spending the nights in “Chambres d’hotes”. Touring with the 190SL is a way of life. The 190SL is ready to go!