1971 Mercedes 280SL Restoration –
Good but not *Perfection*
Here at Motoring Investments we tend to work on a wide array of classic Mercedes Benz – and like a fingerprint – no two are ever alike. Generally our jobs entail initial appraisals based on imperfections we are able to determine exist, but every now and again we see a car which has nearly all parts in good working order comparative to your average project car. When this car was brought in, our lead mechanic was talking the client out of more work than was actually needed because of state of his prized daily-driver Pagoda. Eventually the jobs were agreed upon and the work began.
If there was a bad shot of this car to begin with, we did have to look for it. Our team is composed of classic cars experts and even a Pagoda concourse judge who can be truly a nitpicky bunch for the customer who prefers perfection. We do not often push customers to do work they are not willing to sign up for, and on this occasion the ask was for a beautiful daily driver and to rid the niggling issues that compounded in the owners eyes over time.
In a daily driver, there is certainly a high level of quality expected but not necessarily that of a true concourse show car. Having a concourse car and a daily driver in one vehicle is admittedly an unrealistic goal because of a myriad of factors. A concourse car will be ridiculously well-maintained and are certainly impressive, but this client was in love with his Pagoda, and still is. The thought of driving it less than 10 times a month was never a consideration, let alone 10 times a year that some show cars see the open road. In terms of daily drivers, this is about a great a rebuild as it gets.
More complex than knocking down the walls of a house. Every single item in the vehicle needs to be preserved and re-used if the client prefers. We are talking down to the nuts and bolts.
The inner face of the car is always a point of emphasis. Every leather item must match. All lines must be clean. each dial perfectly aligned and calibrated. After all, this is the part of the car the owner experiences the most of.
The A/C evaporator was not necessarily working perfectly in this unit, but our expert team is more than capable of making certain the issue is addressed. The A/C unit that could rival a mini fridge’s if the customer desires. Never the less, all vents and interior issues were cleaned and gutted.
To clean them, they require the deft hands of a swiss watchmaker. More than one has been known to simply fall apart in your hands over the years, and the rebuild can be complicated if rushed. Also, a marvelous sight to look at up close.
We can get a sense of what a terrific engine compartment looks like from the top end, but this portion of the rebuild did earn a bit of a ‘Needs Improvement’ grade for a prime specimen to be achieved. The engine compartment was in desperate need of a respray to meet the clients standards, and the engine and exhaust also needed to undergo a bit of work to ensure the motor would continue operating under the daily stresses it would be put through. So, it was stripped, taken out, and disassembled while the engine bay way resprayed with a proper coat of paint to match the rest of the body work.
Always a great sight when a small detail like these items gets a bit of a freshening up.
With the engine bay resprayed with a proper color and the mechanical niggles addressed, the engine block could be reinstalled. This is always one of the largest undertakings as the work is meticulous but certainly well worth the start-to-finish end result when you are driving it 5 days a week.
A beautiful transformation.
This is the portion of the process we love to see in terms of how dramatic it can be. The seats were recovered, the carpet was refinished to the desired spec of the owner, and it is topped off with discrete and custom rear speakers in the behind the seats to make the sound system a bit more modernized. Important to note the carpeting is not original but the owner picked the weave themselves and we were happy to oblige with their wishes.
What It Is All About
The end of the process –
Words do not do it justice.