*notcot in tech , 12:55

Mercedes-Benz Classic Center Workshop- 10.24.12

mercgarage0.jpg Since my first visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, i’ve been hearing about the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center that is nearby in Irvine… we finally made it over there yesterday, getting a peek not only at the pristinely restored cars both on display and for sale in the lobby, as well as a look at what’s waiting in line in the garage and what is currently being worked on in the workshop… and WOW. It is beyond breathtaking. The curves. The colors. The multiple generations of history all in the same room… and to see the wealth of knowledge and incredible attention to detail, as the technicians and engineers inspect not only every part of the car, but also the vehicle’s legitimacy - from verifying its history, and tracking down exact paint colors down to the original chemical mixtures used, to spending years reviving barn finds into “authentic, as-new” conditions. With a small team of around 21 men, it was great to hear that the Irvine Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is a mix of seasoned Mercedes-Benz technicians as well as a few newer apprentices, coming from McPherson College’s Auto Restoration Degree (which is the first degree program in the world available in auto restoration founded in the 70s, and Mercedes-Benz has been a big supporter of it over the years.)

On the next page, take a walk through the garage as well as the incredible Classic Center Workshop and get a peek at what is currently being worked on or in line to be next!

First lets take a peek in the restoration garage… client cars and other Mercedes-Benzs waiting to be worked on…

mercgarage1.jpg Stepping into the garage space you pass newer SLR (not yet a classic, but the owner has other cars being worked on at the center), find a silver 300SL Gullwing with a prototype wooden carriage car above it that was built for the Paris Autoshow nearly 100 years ago, some never before seen customs, and more…

mercgarage2.jpg Many of these cars are being stored until they have finished other restorations. The current wait list (assuming your vintage car qualifies) is over a year to start the project. Some restorations can even take up to 4 years.

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mercgarage6.jpg The suitcase and straps are an amazing addition and adds tremendous value when it is still in good condition with the matching 300SL it came with.

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mercgarage10.jpg This green 300SL body goes on the rolling chassis you can see in the lobby. They are in the midst of restoring it fully, with fabric and vinyl swatches picked out, but a long way to go till it is back to “like new”.

mercgarage11.jpg This is the chassis of a 300SL Roadster. The framing by the door is significantly lower allowing for regular doors, eliminating the need for the Gullwing door. The Gullwing Coupe had the higher frame (at the sills) which made the upswinging doors a necessity.

mercgarage12.jpg Don’t put your family under the lift!

Then you head into the actual restoration workshop…

merclassic2.jpg Recognize that license plate? It really is the car of the owner of LA Gear.

merclassic3.jpg The small body work station is where they tear down the cars and inspect the panels and body for rust and damage. The 300SL in the foreground had to have around 40lbs of lead removed that was used to repair a previous wreck. When you do a full factory restoration even this stuff has to go!

merclassic4.jpg The spray booth was full of hanging suspension and under carriage parts that were being prepped for paint.

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merclassic6.jpg Here they place the car on a lift in order to inspect the underside for rust and the integrity of the suspension.

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merclassic10.jpg This 300d Cabriolet D has taken 4 years to complete the full restoration, and is nearly done! Often, parts take long periods of time to find or fabricate. It was recently taken to a car show and won 1st place for paint finish, which is a tough feat for a grey car. Honestly, the picture barely does it justice, it is even more stunning in person.

merclassic11.jpg This 300SL has been brought in for a restoration so that it can have its factory looks again. It may look like it has always been red, but when the Classic Center researchers started looking at the records, they found that this particular SL started white with a black top and had been painted a couple of times since. They will completely disassemble the car and paint each piece and rebuild everything.

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merclassic13.jpg This 300SL Gullwing was brought in by a 93 year old man and has decided to give it a full restoration, amazingly, he’s the original owner, but has let it sit in the garage for over two decades! They are expecting it to take at least a couple of years and they are currently in the process of carefully taking it apart.

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merclassic17.jpg This mallet is used to turn the single lug of the wheel to loosen it. The head of the mallet is made from a soft lead based metal so that when you strike the lug it will not damage. (It’s heavier than it looks!)

merclassic18.jpg Even body panels and chrome parts for the car a very expensive and can often take very long periods of time to track down around the world.

merclassic19.jpg Damaged and rusted parts taken off cars are used to help track down the right replacement. Sometimes they find them on cars that used the same parts, and were not even built by Mercedes. But, they have a classic parts catalog of over 50,000 OEM parts for MB Classics that are 20 years out of production or older. Just for one-off models or rare prototypes, especially prewar (such as the red mid-engine car in the showroom) sometimes require more thorough research outside of the parts catalog. But the standard case is that they either have a part available through factory reproduction or are able to rebuild a worn out / damaged part.

merclassic20.jpg This black car is the 4 door version of the 300d and is waiting for an engine rebuild and many exterior panels. The interior will also be completely redone by hand.

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merclassic22.jpg This customer simply wants to add in a modern seat belt system, but given the age, model, and value of the car they wanted to bring it to the Classics Center for the work. Since it is a convertible, they will need to weld in some structural pieces for the belt system.

There are so many details and stunning cars in progress at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, this is only a taste of all that we saw, and the endless stories we heard. The amazing thing beyond all of the eye-candy, was definitely the fascinating stories and details of EACH and EVERY vehicle in the space… there is so much history, and so many adventures that they have all been through, it’s quite the inspiration!

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9 Notes

Nice to hear about the Classic Mercedes Benz workshop. I will love to hear from you people about Classic Mercedes Benz Parts at

http://www.mbzparts.com/registry.html

----- Amanda Michelle 25.12.12 05:55

To every one past and present who have made the car what it is today I thank you! My youngest turned 17 last year and was allowed to make the choice of what to drive. He got the Mercedes Benz and my friends and relatives thought wow what a spoiled child. Yep, he got the best and it saved his life. Last week as he was in Atlanta Ga. on the interstate stopped in traffic from the Thanksgiving holiday , he was hit from behind at 65 mph!!!Any car would have left my son in bad shape for certain , but he has a busted mouth and a black eye and walked away. I am so pleased with the preformance of your car THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being a leader in the industry. He will be replacing his ride with one more just like it(may be a bright color this time). Living happily ever after…..Sandra and Preston

----- Sandra Schexnayder 02.12.12 13:11

I am a HUGE MB fan and have four currently. I’d love to come visit since I live in California.

----- MP Crosson 01.12.12 22:24

any for sale

----- George Kesablak 01.12.12 11:24

Very impressive!

I lived in Stuttgart, Germany in the mid-70’s, The MB Museum there is fantastic and I lived in the suburb (town) where the MB factory was located !

----- J. E. Meris 01.12.12 10:13

Hey folks, this is Nirvana of the stars!!!
Congratulations!!!
René

----- Celis René 23.11.12 01:26

My wife and I both drive Mercedes!
A little pricey but great cars!

----- victor falvo 26.10.12 11:14

Hi there,

Wow, that is all I can say! I am the proud owner two Pontons, a 1958 (W180) 220S & A 1960 (W121) 190b and to me they are the loveliest cars ever, however I must admit they dont come close to any of these beautiful speciments by a very long shot, but hey, if you are a fan of the three pointed star, any car that sports the emblem is great. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us and taking us along on this journey.

Regards,
Pat Jansen, from Cape Town, South Africa

----- Pat Jansen 26.10.12 04:51

Thanks for the brief look at the Classic Centre. I’ve had a number of Mercedes and at present I’ve a nice 1958 190a Sedan which has a complete service history from day one. I use it regularly and admire its simplicity, its built in quality and strength. Of course, it does take some time and attention to keep it as nice as it is, but that’s the part I like most.

Regards, Richard Horbatt, from Victoria in Australia

----- rich horbatt 25.10.12 21:38

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