FEA­TURE CAR Mercedes-benz 300SL Pro­duc­tion Fig­ures

1954–’57 1957–’63 300SL coupé 300SL road­ster 1400 (incl. 29 al­loy-body cars) 1858

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car -

Thus, nappa leather from fal­low-deer hides was dyed to match a small sam­ple of the orig­i­nal vinyl found tucked be­hind a panel. The red-tar­tan–wool gabar­dine–up­hol­stered seats are to orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and the new, cream wool head­lin­ing was matched ex­actly to the orig­i­nal.

While all this work was be­ing at­tended to, the car’s alu­minium body was be­ing ham­mered and filed to a paint fin­ish; no body fillers were used on the 300SL’S body. At the time Garry sent the car to the paint shop, he reck­ons it looked so good in bare metal that it seemed a shame to paint it. De­spite that, the body was etch-primed, paint-primed, and blocked with a paint sys­tem from Gla­surit. The fi­nal colour coats were flow-coated to give added lus­tre and depth of colour, with the orig­i­nal shade of DB 608 Elfen­bein (Ele­phant Ivory) be­ing metic­u­lously matched.

Ex­am­i­na­tion

Dur­ing the fi­nal stages of restora­tion, be­fore the body went to the paint shop, the car was given a due-dili­gence in­spec­tion by Herr Michael Plag and Herr Gerd Langer from the Mercedes-benz Clas­sic Cen­tre and the Mercedes-benz Clas­sic Ar­chive, re­spec­tively. The car was sub­se­quently is­sued with the ‘Ex­per­tize’ that cer­ti­fies its au­then­tic­ity.

Dis­carded parts of the alu­minium body and space-frame chas­sis were taken back to Stuttgart for spec­trum analy­ses of the met­als, which con­firmed they were man­u­fac­tured in the 1950s.

The Ex­per­tize con­sists of two bound books ap­prox­i­mately 25-mil­lime­tres thick, printed in both English and Ger­man. Garry was de­lighted to read the fol­low­ing state­ment con­tained within the Ex­per­tize: “We could not have re­stored the car bet­ter in Ger­many.”

Fur­ther, it was not un­til this in­spec­tion that Garry was made aware that all the alu­minium-body cars were hand­made in the rac­ing depart­ment at Un­tertürkheim and not at the body works at Sin­delfin­gen. This ex­plains the small di­men­sional dif­fer­ences on the al­loy-bod­ied cars.

Ex­hi­bi­tion

The restora­tion of this car has taken four years, be­ing worked on along­side Garry’s other 300SL road­ster — a project that is now near­ing com­ple­tion.

Com­plete with match­ing-num­bers driv­e­train and all com­po­nents match­ing the fac­tory build sheet (with the ex­cep­tion of its be­ing trimmed in nappa leather rather than vinyl Tex Leder), this breath­tak­ing ex­am­ple is the only one of the alu­minium-body 300SLS to have been built in this com­bi­na­tion of DB 608 Elfen­bein (Ele­phant Ivory) paint, red-tar­tan–wool gabar­dine–up­hol­stered seats, and cream L2– spec­i­fi­ca­tion trim.

So, what’s next? Af­ter the stress of hav­ing two body re­con­struc­tions go­ing on at once with re­storer Lloyd Marx work­ing on two en­gines, two gear­boxes, and the run­ning gear for two cars at the same time, Garry reck­ons there’s an old say­ing in life that goes some­thing like ‘the harder you work, the luck­ier you get!’ Garry truly de­serves the luck that has come his way.

Can you imag­ine a match­ing pair of 300SL Road­sters lined up to com­pete in next year’s Eller­slie Intermarque Con­cours d’el­e­gance? That’s Garry’s plan for 2016 — and it’s some­thing we can’t wait to see. As for the rare and valu­able Gull­wing, it looks as if Garry has de­cided to sell this in­cred­i­ble ve­hi­cle; alas, more than likely the new owner will not be res­i­dent in New Zealand. And, of course, Garry’s al­ready on the look­out for his next project — watch this space!

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