Cars with character
For Andreas Mey, Specialist Events & Sponsoring Aftermarket EMEA NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE GmbH, cars and particularly Mercedes Benzes have been an ever-present part of his life. “I grew up around lots of different models of Mercedes. My father was a sales representative and travelled a lot by car, so choosing a high-quality car was always important to him. I have fond memories of being allowed to steer his white Mercedes 250TD while sitting on his lap,” he says. His father, however, wasn’t the only one who played an important role in fostering his passion for automobiles. “When I was only six, my brother who was 16 years older than me explained the 4-stroke engine of a VW Beetle to me in detail,” he adds.
The cars of the 80s and 90s left a profound imprint on him. “These cars still had faces with rough edges and quite simple technology. I always liked that so it was no surprise really that when I was a bit older, I decided that I would like to own a classic car myself,” he tells.
After a considerable amount of research, he narrowed his options down to three very different types of German classics. While the Porsche 944 was too small and the BMW 635 CSI above his budget, he ended up settling on a model that was very familiar to him: a white 1989 Mercedes 260E. “I bought the car in 2016 with 148,000 km. It came with an in-line six-cylinder engine with 160 hp,” he reveals.
Maintaining a classic car
Like all of the other NGK SPARK PLUG employees featured in this blog series, Andreas is keen to emphasise the importance of knowing what one is getting oneself into before buying a classic car. “You should study the vehicle long before you buy it,” he tells. “Be aware that keeping the car in good condition is work and can get very expensive if you don’t have the technical expertise to carry out repairs yourself,” he warns.
The maintenance of his Mercedes, though, is as much a hobby as driving it is. “Carrying out repairs is a good way to compensate for having an office job and if I’m being really honest, I have performed a lot of the repairs for fun and not because they urgently needed to be done!” he says. “I do everything myself and it takes up between five to ten hours a month. From ignition cables, engine seals, brakes, shock absorbers, new exhaust systems to springs and timing belts, I do it all. What’s more, I know a good repair shop, so if I ever get a little stuck with something, the mechanics there are always able to help.”
The Aftermarket reference BP6EFS from NGK SPARK PLUG sparks his Mercedes to life. “When I bought the car, competitor’s spark plugs were installed but they caused frequent misfires. Ever since I installed the BP6EFS references, I have had optimum ignition. You can’t beat NGK SPARK PLUG!” he proclaims.
Fun for all the family!
Luckily for Andreas, his hobby has the full support of his wife and family and the car sees lots of road action and is often used for family holidays. “When my wife and I started having children, we realised that we needed a second car, which is what allowed me to buy the Mercedes. My sons really like it! It has also impacted some of my friends, who are also considering buying a classic car now,” he informs.
Having recently started to work for NGK SPARK PLUG, his hobby has automatically given him something in common with his new colleagues. “There certainly is a connection between my job and my love of classic cars. Cars are always a topic of conversation when you work in the automotive industry,” he says.
Although he hasn’t yet been able to participate in the company’s ‘Fuel Friday’, where employees bring their favourite vehicles to work, he will certainly be taking part at the next one. “With the role of Specialist Events & Sponsoring, it will be my responsibility to organise it. I am looking forward to that and my Mercedes 260E will naturally be present too."