This page is dedicated to Trollup, my 2006 SLK 350 (R171). He was ordered on the July 4th weekend and will be the last 350 delivered to my dealership this year. He was built in the first decade of September 2005 (9/10/2005) and landed at the dealership (Smythe European) on October 14. You can see the details of the order here. The picture to the right is the first picture I took, alas just with my Treo.
Amongst items I was particularly concerned about during the order process were iPod integration and Bluetooth phone compatibility. I also became interested in the possibility of having "clear bra" protective paint film installed, when I learned that others were having good experiences with them after several years. You can read about customizations of Trollup here.
You might be wondering how he came about having the name Trollup. You can read about that here. Say "hi" to Trollup if you see him around. He enjoys the attention!
Although I didn't have many day-one pictures of Trollup, I did want to manage to get a few shots of him to share with folks. "What more SLK photos on the web," you groan? Well, these are of my SLK... so you're damn right there are going to be more pictures! :-) BTW, you can click on any of the images below to get a closer look.
And lest I forget him, Teddy serves as chief co-pilot. He was something of a back-seat driver in my CLK -- his roost was the console between the back seats. Trollup offers him the opportunity to finally get into the front seat and get into the action. It would have been pretty dark in the trunk, after all, so I'm glad to have him up front.
While he usually keeps to his seat, watching the map on the COMAND display and calling out turns, he was feeling a bit left out while I was taking pictures. So, I dusted off a spot between the rollover bars to give him a better view of the action. The ironic part is that I was taking pictures at one of the roads leading to a Vista Point on highway 280... so there might well have been some (cruising) action to see. But I was too involved in taking pictures of Trollup to notice.
Trollup, being a trollop, definitely likes to show off. So, naturally, I just had to oblige him! I took pictures at a few different locations -- a 280 Vista Point, in Marin overlooking the Golden Gate, and a few spots in Livermore along highway 84 -- to try and capture him in different and interesting surroundings. Unfortunately, my trip to Marin also brought with it fog, so I haven't gotten the stereotypical picture of Trollup with the bridge.... yet! If you have any fun suggestions for locales, email me.
I am of course considering other places to capture Trollup's image. In fact, the first full day I had him, I was pleased to take part in the October drive of the Northern California SLK Enthusiast group. I have posted a gallery of photos from that event, and you can see slideshows of additional events at Steve Motzko's SLK page.
One thing that pictures just can't describe, though, is just how much fun this new SLK is to drive! First and foremost, I can absolutely confirm that this is a true "any weather" car. With the aid of AirScarf and heated seats (no A/C help required), I have been able to drive Trollup in temperatures as low (so far) as 40 degrees Fahrenheit without any problem. I haven't yet decided what (or if) I want to do about wind buffeting from behind the headrests. So far, it hasn't been a real challenge... and I think buffering myself too much would just spoil the top-down fun.
I've actually been getting used to driving top down -- or, as one coworker likes to call it: "driving with your top off" *smirk* -- and have been trying out different combinations of windows, roof, and speed. So far, if I'm just driving for the pleasure and forget about the audio system and phone, I find I can drive quite nicely with windows and top down. But a strong crosswind generally brings the side windows up. Oh, and I'll definitely be getting my hair cut more frequently now. It will otherwise turn into quite the mop in the wind!
From the sporty side, the exhaust note is exquisite. I've actually caught myself looking around for the hot rod when I pull away from lights sometimes. "Oops, that's me," I have to remind myself. In the handling department, I am told that this car handles light years ahead from the older R170 chassis -- the "old" or "original" SLK. I don't know myself because I've never driven one -- a long story I might encapsulate here at some point. But in comparison to my CLK, I feel I can both cruise along the highway comfortably as well as toss (no, not my lunch!) through the twisties when the mood strikes. Sure, it's not a 911 or a Modeno... but then I have to live within my means.... right?
"But wait... isn't the SLK's claim to fame supposed to be it's roof?" Oh, no... I'm not forgetting the roof. Well, it's easy to forget when it's stowed in the trunk. But having driven the car plenty top up and down, it's a joy no matter where you leave the roof. The best part of the new model is that the available trunk space with the roof open is much better than before. Now, you only lose one third of the 9.8 cu ft of trunk space with the top down. And while the space doesn't compare with my CLK, I have managed to pack quite a lot in there. I guess the real proof will be during the holidays when I and my sister travel to the family gathering this Thanksgiving. Realistically, though, packing like that is less than 1% of the driving I do, so for me the car's mix of space, fun, and looks is quite ideal.
For those who enjoy watching the top do it's dance, I've captured a pretty crude slideshow of it. I promise to redo this in a more pleasing way later. But this is what I've got for now.
Running out of time just now. So, I'll add more to the narative in a bit. For now, have a peek at other pictures I've taken.