A Classic German Car Taking Over The Streets of Bangkok Day by Day!
While I was in Bangkok, Thailand, I had the great opportunity to meet Tamm and his 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220S. Tamm named the 220S “Frank” after a very well known singer: “This W111 has that subtle charm for him, like Mr.Sinatra himself.” Tamm told me. The location we found for this photoshoot was just perfect. After the photoshoot, Tamm kindly invited me for a night cruise around Bangkok. This allowed me to get to know the area of Bangkok from the perspective of a resident: which is of course always the best way to see a city.
This was Tamm’s first car, which he has owned since 2010. Tamm has tried to maintain this Benz in absolute mint condition. To my surprise, this car is his daily driver! After a great photoshoot, I sat down with Tamm for some questions around his beautiful 220S:
Alex: How difficult for you is maintaining this car in Thailand?
Tamm: It isn’t that difficult nowadays. You can find all the information you need on the internet and order parts from all over the world. Plus, we have some good mechanics here in Thailand. If all else fails, well, then I just learn what needs to be done and do it by myself. That’s part of the fun owning this car.
Alex: What was the condition of the car when you bought it?
Tamm: Well, it had a problem with the engine, suspension, and leaking water pump. The interior is all original with some blemishes here and there.
Alex: What do you enjoy most about the car? Did anything surprise you about it after you bought it and started driving it?
Tamm: I truly adore the interior of this car and thus why I love driving it. I’d hate to see it sit in the garage all the time and not get driven, so I drive it very often. It’s actually surprising to me at how well this car performs, especially when driving on curvy mountain roads.
Alex: How does it feel to drive a classic car every day in a city like Bangkok full of traffic and motorbikes?
Tamm: It was a bit scary and very difficult to get used to at first, but like I just mentioned, it’d be a shame to let the car sit in the garage and not be driven. I just find it nice to share my passion with people in Bangkok by driving this car everyday.
Alex: What piece for the car was the most difficult to find?
Tamm: All the rubber seals are extremely difficult to find, chrome trims too. So I tend to buy them when I see any of these pieces for sale.
Alex: Why the blue paint? What was the original colour?
Tamm: The exact original color of this car was “medium grey”. At some point in time one owner switched it to green, then the previous owner before me painted it maroon and that’s how I bought the car. I’m not a big fan of maroon cars, so after I drove it with that color for a while I realized that I had two choices: either it should look completely original, or should it look like a car that I would want to see everyday. Obviously I went with the second choice, and blue paint went on the car.
Alex: How did you come across the car? Did you have a moment of hesitation before buying it?
Tamm: The funny thing is, I went to see five other cars before this one. All of them were the W111 and all of them were in a much better condition. Somehow though, all of those cars simply didn’t feel right to me. When I saw this one, it wasn’t in the greatest condition and there was that problem with the engine, but it came with everything original from the factory. Well, except for the paint job, so I thought it’d be a good car to start working on. To answer the second question: no, I had absolutely no hesitation buying this one. While those other five W111’s took me days to think about, this one only took me a few minutes to say “that’s the one”.
Alex: Do you feel like other drivers act differently towards you because of your car?
Tamm: Yes they do! I’ve received a lot of thumbs up, big smiles, most of the time they give me plenty of space to drive, and even let me go first when turning onto an intersection.
Alex: Do you know the car’s entire history? Where was it first sold and what purpose did it serve? Alternatively, who were the previous owners? and do you have a particular story to go along with the previous owners?
Tamm: I only know that it was purchased by an unknown businessman when it was new. Fast forward a few decades and owners later, and somehow it was rebought by a previous owner. This previous owner already owned another W111, which was originally bought new by his father. The sole intention he had was to disassemble my car, and use it as a donor car. Somehow he realised that this wasn’t the right thing to do: he thought it would be sad to dismantle such a car. So he decided to put the car back up for sale under one condition: the next owner had to be willing to restore it to its full potential and drive it as it should be driven. I contacted him, told him my intentions with the car and the sale was made.
Alex: How did you become interested in cars? and why especially Mercedes?
Tamm: When I was a child my father would point out cars on the street and tell me how to recognise them by the shapes and features. He didn’t have much at the time, but his dreams were big and he worked hard for what he had. One day he eventually saved enough, so he went out and bought himself a W140 S-Class Mercedes. I was so fascinated by the quality of the car because it felt unlike any of the other cars I’ve ever been in. The seats were so big, the ride was so smooth, and when he would floor it, it would take off very fast while remaining very quiet. All of those factors had me fascinated with such a piece of engineering.
Alex: Is there another car you would like to have?
Tamm: Well there is one, but actually I recently just bought it: a R129 500SL Mercedes. I had a toy model of this car when I was very young, in two-tone silver and grey. It has always been a childhood dream of mine and now that I bought it in the same colour and trim, it’s truly a dream come true.
Tamm is a film director at TritonFilm, which
Follow him on Instagram: @Tamm.pasin
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