Despite having been in service for the past 35 years, this W115 Mercedes came to us with a scant 74,000 original miles on the clock. This 300 series diesel boasted a very clean interior and a fairly straight exterior, with the exception of an old collision repair to the right side of the vehicle. Every once in a great while we are given the opportunity to restore a vehicle that has been truly cared for.
First, the vehicle was partially stripped, revealing decades old body work and other corrosive holes in the sheet metal. The holes in the body were repaired, along with a myriad of dings and dents. The dried and cracked rubber gaskets were replaced, a new headliner was installed and a new carpet set was fitted to the floor. The hub caps were painted using a hand fabricated masking tool, which is no longer available through Mercedes, allowing us to properly apply just the right amount of overspray. Both the front and rear bumpers were dismantled, media blasted and re-finished. Finally, the car was re-assembled with new stainless upper and lower moldings.
An ambassador from the past, this car spoke to us of a time when many vehicles were being produced with a surprising level of quality, craftsmanship and integrity. Restoring this daily driver was much like building a time machine. We were entrusted with the task of resurrecting a beloved object from an era that has long since passed. Restoration reminds us that good things, beautiful things and things with integrity are not only worth saving but need to be saved.
On the other side of a good restoration lies the promise land of graceful old age, mechanical appreciation, sculptural immortality and historic relevance.