The Reaper’s W123

I adore old Mercs and have owned two W124s and a 190e. One model I have yet to own (and will do one day) is the classic W123. It’s everything a car should be – reliable, pretty, vintage looks with modern functions. With its signature grille, it looks like a car should look. Its dimensions are perfect – not too big and not too small. As a coupe it has a sporty kind of quality to it, yet its boxy appearance suggests tank-like robustness.

So back in the day the W123 was a good looking luxury car, a car that has transcended virtually all other cars of its era in managing to remain every bit as good looking as it was back in the 80s. Because of its tank-like robustness, there are a fair few still around to choose from, and from my experience with old Mercs, all of their electrics will still be working and the ride will be silent and smooth.

Here at Gargling Gas we also like cars with personality because, “Cars have feelings too”. Don’t get me wrong, this car has a big personality, but I’m talking about the human touch. Slammed cars are cool, and the rat look is also a great way of transforming the right car into something with real presence… like the W123 230ce pictured above.

Not a particularly fast car, the 230ce produces enough grunt from its 2.3-L engine to cruise along with ease. The owner of this one has simply dropped it, given it the matte black finish, and painted its steel rims black. It’s a cheap way of completely transforming a car’s look, but it’s very affective.

If I wasn’t committed with another upcoming drift project, I’d snap this up, happy in the knowledge I was cruising around town in hitman/serial killer style.

Oh yeah, she’s up for sale too: Mercedes W123 230 ce Death Proof Duck


The Dead Travel Fast

I don’t know why I haven’t touched upon this subject before, as it’s not only about cars, but the subject has had friends, family and anyone in earshot laughing and intrigued to hear more. It’s a morbid subject, but a subject we all must experience at some point throughout our lives.

Dracula author, Bram Stoker once wrote, “The dead travel fast”, and after working as a Funeral Director, I wholeheartedly agree.

Ever since I watched the 1933 King Kong as a four-year-old, I have been fascinated with the weird and morbid. When I was 22 I got a job working for a funeral home, a job I fancied would satiate my curiosity about death. When I wasn’t making up coffins, I was dressing and brushing the hair of corpses. When I wasn’t carrying the coffins, I was sneaking into the back of the crematorium to watch them burst into flames through the little glass window in the ovens. When I wasn’t washing the hearse or private ambulance car, I was driving them…

I don’t believe in ghosts or anything paranormal, however, I do wonder if something was having a little fun with me when I decided on this profession. During my whole year before giving it up, too many silly events took place, a few of them car related. If you image Norman Wisdom or Harold Lloyd within the workplace, you have a pretty good idea of how ‘smoothly’ my day would go.

The first incident took place in a Volvo 745 estate and involved a granite headstone nearly cutting me in half. I had loaded a fresh piece of black granite into the car and was transporting it to an engraver. I was young, the summer sun was beaming down, the country roads stretched ahead… I was going a little too fast, and rounding a tight left bend, happened upon a car that had stopped due to ducks crossing the road. I hit the brakes and the headstone launched itself into and smashed the central console. If I were on a straight or traversing a right corner, I believe I wouldn’t of had much of spine left in tact. Thankfully the boss was on holiday and I managed to piece together and glue the console.

It wasn’t long before the Volvo got me in trouble… or was it something else?

Having picked up a body from a hospital 20 miles away, I was returning on the M23 (for any non-UK, a highway road). It was Friday, dark, wet, and I was looking forward to an evening out with my mates. With me hauling in the fast lane, the stereo pumping, everything suddenly died with only a few miles to go. No lights, power-steering or engine. It was as if the body in the back disagreed with the music and reached out from the land of the dead and pulled a plug in the ECU.

It was rush hour, and I somehow wrestled the Volvo across three lanes of traffic, dumping it on he shoulder at an angle. After ringing the AA, I sat there with my silent friend, the rain hammering the windscreen. I noticed my friend’s permed hair sticking out of the bag, as if reaching for the handbrake, so I tucked it back in. A further 15 minutes passed and I also noticed no traffic, despite the rush hour.

The reason the lack of traffic was due to the Volvo’s rear end protruding into the slow lane. The police had blocked off all lanes with traffic cars, their lights flashing as the cars trailed for miles behind them. One car approached and there was a knock on my window.

“Evening officer.”

“We need to get you off the road. Anyone else involved?”

“Um, only me and… her.”

The officer peered in. “Oh right… I see.”

The final Volvo incident had me believe it was definitely cursed. I’d just picked up a corpse from a hospital in Watford, London. I’d literally turned out of the hospital when the front passenger side tyre popped. Because I was on a steep main road with no where to turn off, I had to curb it and attempt a wheel change on an uneven surface. To get to the spare and tools, I had to wrestle with the gentleman in the back, tipping him, holding, and then dragging everything out.

Whilst it wasn’t raining as hard as the previous episode, it was drizzling. I was wearing my suit and waistcoat and cursing the weather, oily tools and stubborn wheel nuts. The real problem became apparent when I realised it was school home time. Thanks to a combination of fury, despair and embarrassment at the line of traffic now queueing to get past, I’d left the boot door open. Kids were staring into the car, pointing and laughing at the gentleman (now half wrapped)  in the back. Wide-eyed parents gasped their disgust at me, giving me evil looks because of my foul tongue.

All in all it was a terrible afternoon and it wasn’t too long after that I quit.

The only driving positives involved the hearse. Because it was designed to carry four men, a heavy coffin and its occupant smoothly, the hearse had a fair kick when it was empty. Obviously, I didn’t race around with a coffin in the back, but if I was sent out to refuel, I did like to give it some.

One day, I’ll be taken away in one of these, and if I have it my way, I’ll be playing a few games with the driver…



Dorothy’s Datsun 120Y

The following video is taken from, a site that loves sleepers just as much as Gargling Gas… which it A LOT!

Dorothy’s Datsun 120Y is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, an unassuming grocery getter from which you’d expect to see the curls of a blue rinse perm sticking up over the seat. The license plate reads an apt: NAN747. What people don’t know is there’s a 30-year old unopened Nissan VG30 3.0L V6 engine inside. Not happy with the power, this old girl boosts the engine with a Holset turbocharger, and fuel comes from a Tunnel Vision straight LPG system and a Haltech ECU.

Check fullBOOST out and watch the funny video below. The music is perfect, setting the tone for what is ultimately a drag monster.


Tom Cruise To Take On Brad Pitt At Le Mans


If you love cars you’ll love road movies or racing movies; it goes with the territory. When I heard the news about Cruise and Pitt appearing in a movie adaption of the Le Mans battle between Ferrari and Ford, Go Like Hell, I had to write a piece on it. Two of my favourite actors appearing in a battle I have always found extremely interesting and exciting.

If you like the sounds of it, I suggest you read my thoughts on Go Like Hell 


Hipster Appeal, Petrolhead Heaven

If you’re unsure as to what a Hipster is, just think ‘Hippy’ with a little extra cash and a better haircut. The Hipster subculture takes elements of 1940s fashion and is derived from a movement from the same era. Hipsters are usually aged between 18-34, including the middle-class adult. You’ll never see a Hipster wearing mainstream clothing; they prefer thrift/vintage stores for that authentic look. Indie bands and labels are their choice of music. Sustenance would come from an independent sandwich shop or cafe and most definitely not a McDonalds or Burger King.  In one sentence, a Hipster is an independent thinker, possess progressive political opinions, appreciates art and creativity, intelligence and witty banter.

Most Hipsters prefer bicycles (especially fixed wheel) for transport, however, those selecting an automobile go for 80s, boxy and usually European. Mercedes are a good choice, but the king of the Hipstermobile is the Volvo. Take an 80s Swedish car (preferably a wagon/estate), remove the hub caps, add ironic bumper stickers and voila. Those willing to spill a drop or two of oil onto their vintage tweed or chequered shirts may even slam it.

Now this is where the second part of the title comes in. I agree the 80s boxy cars are fantastic looking and becoming fashionable again – think BMW E30 – and whilst I like the Hipster fashion and some of their attitudes and perceptions on the world, one of my biggest Hipster downfalls  is my lack of sympathy for the environment – the closest I’ve come to the whole wagon revival is owning a tuned 235-bhp Subaru WRX wagon.

Hipsters are P.C. in every way; they are open-minded and carefree. They wear sensible trousers, and horn-rimmed specs are a prerequisite to join the club.

So how would I fit in with my need to hoon whilst maintaining that Hipster vibe?

Okay, that’ll do nicely…


Breaking Bad: Casting The Cars

If you don’t know Gargling Gas’ motto by now, this article highlights part of what it’s all about it: “Cars have feeling too…”

When I’m not blogging about, reading about or watching videos about cars, I scribble for a few automotive sites. Motor Ward is one of them where I get to offer up my views and post an occasional editorial.

Over the Xmas holiday I noticed how many people said they’d received the Breaking Bad Box set on Facebook. Astounded there were people left on the planet who hadn’t watched it, I was also a little jealous of the fact they’d get to watch it fresh.

In this piece I offer up some insight as to why Breaking Bad is one of the most successful shows ever made, and whilst its characters are key, the vehicles also had to go through the casting process.

Check it out, and if you haven’t watched it yet but are planning to do so, I hate you.

Your Guide And Analysis To The Breaking Bad Rides


Knoxville Knows A Cool Ride When He Sees One

When it comes to cars I don’t fall into a category or genre. Some may assume I’m a WRX/EVO yob, yet I spend a lot of time drooling over muscle cars. Drifting YouTube videos take up the majority of my recreational viewing, yet I read about British classics and restorations. One minute I might be watching a review of the latest SRT Viper, and the next, an instalment of Street Outlaws and the 1000+bhp drag monsters. You may spot me dragging my jaw across a field at a classic car show, but there are occasions you won’t see me at all when I’m surreptitiously rubbing up against the rear end of a 60s Alfa Spyder.

I get the impression Johnny Knoxville possesses the same attitude towards cars, as apart from his love for Ferraris, he is always seen in beaten up 70s classics such as the Cadillac and Lincoln. His first car was a red 65 Mustang, and although he thought that was a great car, it’s his current 70 Cadillac Eldorado (pictured HERE) he loves the most. Johnny also owns a brand new Caddy, but when Top Gear asked what modelhe didn’t have a clue.

The Gumball 3000 rally has also seen the American Daredevil in different cars. Pictured above are part of MTV’s Jackass crew chilling on a battered Jaguar XJ6, a car Knoxville nabbed from a chop shop at the last minute. In 2005 Knoxville appeared in a movie adaption of the 80s TV series, The Dukes Of Hazzard, and in the same year, he took on the Gumball 3000 in his ‘General Lee’ Ferrari 575.

Another recent movie, Bad Grandpa, saw Johnny drive around in a 1970 mint green Lincoln Continental – after some time trying to find the perfect car for the movie and character, Knoxville’s love for the 70s boxy bodies eventually selected the boat pictured below.

So you see, this guy does have a natural eye for cool rides – he has the ability to spot that X Factor, something that doesn’t necessarily need millions of dollars to obtain.

I’ll leave you with this 30 minute documentary entitled Detroit Lives, a film focussing on the once thriving ‘Motor City’. It’s a little depressing but it does feature Knoxville cruising in a cool Caddy convertible.