Restoration or Conversion? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Restoration or Conversion?

Dear Benz Friends

I have a 65’ 250se Cabriolet with a 5-speed manual transmission that I plan to do a total restoration on and have a question regarding how far one can go in using cannibalized items from a parts car and still maintain the integrity of the model and serial number identity of the car your restoring.

As an example, my 250se has 100% of its original parts and other than the body itself which is full of rust, the doors, the hood, trunk lid and fenders are all in decent shape. My thought has been to buy a stripped coupe body, remove the top and transplant the windshield and top bows to it.

I’d need to add the underbody stiffeners and transplant the folded roof storage area in the trunk, along with some other original sheet metal into the coupe body, but I think over 50% of the finished car would be items from the cabriolet and I don’t think anybody would ever know the difference.

So at what point would this no longer be considered a restoration, but a convertible conversion? Is there a percentage of parts transplanted from one vehicle to another that determine which is the original car? Or, is it determined by the serial number stamped into the chassis or the body?

I’ve built cars from scratch using many different components compiled from multiple cars and in some cases took a title that came with a pile of parts with no body and applied the serial plate and number associated with that title to a usable body with no title and ended up with a registered car.

Can someone please enlighten me where you draw the line?

Thanks,

MB300se65

Last edited by MB300se65; 08-17-2007 at 06:36 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MB300se65
Dear Benz Friends

I have a 65’ 250se Cabriolet with a 5-speed manual transmission that I plan to do a total restoration on and have a question regarding how far one can go in using cannibalized items from a parts car and still maintain the integrity of the model and serial number identity of the car your restoring.

As an example, my 250se has 100% of its original parts and other than the body itself which is full of rust, the doors, the hood, trunk lid and fenders are all in decent shape. My thought has been to buy a stripped coupe body, remove the top and transplant the windshield and top bows to it.

I’d need to add the underbody stiffeners and transplant the folded roof storage area in the trunk, along with some other original sheet metal into the coupe body, but I think over 50% of the finished car would be items from the cabriolet and I don’t think anybody would ever know the difference.

So at what point would this no longer be considered a restoration, but a convertible conversion? Is there a percentage of parts transplanted from one vehicle to another that determine which is the original car? Or, is it determined by the serial number stamped into the chassis or the body?

I’ve built cars from scratch using many different components compiled from multiple cars and in some cases took a title that came with a pile of parts with no body and applied the serial plate and number associated with that title to a usable body with no title and ended up with a registered car.

Can someone please enlighten me where you draw the line?

Thanks,

MB300se65
I don't believe you could pass the car off as a true Cabriolet at the end point as it is really not one any longer if you use the coupe body. To answer your question: "So at what point would this no longer be considered a restoration, but a convertible conversion?" It would have to be when you chopped up the Coupe. Why not either ook further and find a Cab body to build up from or buy the panels [which are still available [I just bought new floor pans for my 68 280SE Coupe for only $300] and the rear fenders [from the doors back are also available at about $1500 each side].

With skilled restoration artists, and the metal that is still available from Benz at decent prices, you should be able to restore your current car and actually have a car that ends up with high value when completed. If you hobble together cars, the value will not ever be where you want it and folks are starting to be very inquisitive as to the history of these cars when they start dropping big dollars on a "restored" example.

McBear,
Kentucky

Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 08:56 PM
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Interesting. In here, body shell restoration doesn't mean butchering spares cars or ordering high-price stuff from MB to make it "original", it means taking some sheet metal, a hammer, an anvil, lots of time and - ultimately - a MIG welding machine and creating & installing the required parts. Surprisingly large pieces are feasible with little practice - HINT: make larger parts from several neatly pre-forged welded-together pieces! Just get lots of scrap sheet metal to get your welds look right if you haven't done MIG welding before.

EDIT: oh, the opinion considering the actual question -> whatever makes you happy, stick with that! IMO it's a good quality restoration if you can't tell it from original.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 10:58 PM
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Interesting. In here, body shell restoration doesn't mean butchering spares cars or ordering high-price stuff from MB to make it "original", it means taking some sheet metal, a hammer, an anvil, lots of time and -
I agree on the welding but there is a cost/time analysis that you have to consider. What is the cost of time to weld up, fit, finish vs getting a prestamped factory replacement part from the factory. If a person is doing all their own work, and time is not a factor, and welding skills are up to par then pulling out the rust and working for metal is a good answer. But some of the cars that I have seen don't have enough good metal to start the welding process from so you need some panels any way.

An example, the rear quarter on a W111 Coupe [the same fender as our poster] would take 40-60 hours to take out the rusted panel, and BEGIN to form up new panels based on the old panel [pretty compound curves on the tail]. He can bring in a fender in 12 hours. At $50 per hour, that is a $2500 difference on just that one fender for the primary worker alone.

McBear,
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-18-2007, 05:04 PM
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Oh yes, it is all different from the $$$ viewpoint if one hasn't got the equipment/skills/whatever to do the work himself. Personally I do all the stuff myself with the exception of stuff like motor block machining, for which I don't have equipment, and I consider this a hobby a.k.a. senseless waste of time and money. Or, to be exact, I'm trading time and money for the feeling of actually achieving something. There are as many flavours of car enthusiasm as there are enthusiasts.

Lack of healthy metal in original bodyshell can truly be a problem, too. Once we towed a Heckflosse 190D (would that be W108?) that had been abandoned in forest with everything intact - the bodyshell looked surprisingly good but you couldn't look at the chassis as it had sunk so that it contacted ground. Friend was driving the tractor and I was behind the wheel - car started moving nicely, but after couple of inches of pull I understood that most of the floor is going to stay in the forest. Surprisingly tough bodyshells, those! Even without just about any floor left the doors operated smoothly and had a reassuring "clunk" when closed.

Sorry for off-topicness.
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