This life sure throws some fun things at you every now and then. I was 6 months into looking for a Norton, Ducatti or Guzzi restoration project and jaded from the lost auctions and things being just too damn expensive. My wife suddenly announced one night, "you know, you get all the fun stuff, I want to get an old beater Mercedes sometime, can we do that?"
Somehow I said "hell yeah, let’s do it, start searching". By "somehow", what I actually mean is we were one bottle of 2006 Retzlaff Cabernet Sauvignon down the hatch and feeling good... After Meg checked out 7 horrific Merc’s (seriously, who ever thought beige with brown interior was cool?) and a 300SL that she neglected to notice the 125k price tag on, she suddenly bounced over to me and showed me this car on Ebay ...
...NOT a Mercedes and I ADORED it. I also had NO idea what it was!!! We all have our knowledge bases and mine is pretty good with cars, but it does not extend to air-cooled VWs . Anyway, it was a good price, good description, killer feedback and reminded me of an old Aston. I was in love with it and after a small bidding war, it was ours.
So, oh boy... better start learning. My normal style is fast – nothing is ever fast enough, stops quick enough or handles tight enough from the factory and I like to sink into the black hole of trying to fix that. However, this car is going to be a little different, for starters it has a grand total of 42hp. As with any old car, it has been “creatively” worked on by the previous owner, but the key things are still there. It’s not had any weird Porsche or Type 1 axle conversions, still has a stock rebuilt motor and most importantly, retains the factory fuel injection. On these cars that is really cool as most owners get tired of working on it, can’t find parts, or want more power, so they move to carbs.
The front right caliper was as good as seized. A call to a work buddy at StopTech was my solution. Their parent company is Centric Parts and they have a disturbingly large back catalogue of OEM parts back to the beginning of time. A day later I had new front loaded calipers, discs and hoses and he had the StopTech gang make some slotted discs for fun.
For me, this car is now going to be an exciting project of returning mostly to stock and staying true to the way the car was designed. I’m excited about the challenge and hope I don't set our neighborhood on fire.
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