Date registered: Oct 2012
Vehicle: 1968 250S, 1991 300se, 1998 SL500, 1977 450SEL 6.9. Past MB's; 300SD, 300E, 300TE, 190E, ML420
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Quoted: 463 Post(s)
I was thinking about my 6.9, there were only 7380 made over ~6 years, which is only 23 per week. It was built on it's own assembly line. No doubt cranes were used for heavy parts. I would consider this car "hand built", as they would not have spent huge amount for special assembly equipment. They no doubt had dedicated tools (air wrenches set to correct torque values for each bolt put in at a station) at each work station along the assy line.
I'm not sure that the use of an assembly line is the qualifier for hand built. Model A's were built on an assembly line, but I bet every bolt and part was put on by hand and tightened with hand wrenches. Some seem to equate hand built with well built. I think that is opposite. Modern tooling makes cars built to a certain spec that doesnt vary much, especially compared to something put together with hand wrenches.
As I said in an earlier post, today's cars are about half hand built and half robotics. The quality level is very high.