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Do you want to see a build thread


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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Good morning folks. I’m Stan and a new member to this forum. I am 60 years old and have loved Mercedes style all my life, as has my wife. She fell in love with a 1962 190 Fin tail years ago that she drove by daily on her way to and from work. So we went to look at it one day to see if we might be able to buy it, it was gone, sold. She wanted me to build her a RestoMod, a sleeper. “I want to pull up next to some Ricer at a light and smoke their azz”.

I build custom Land Cruisers for a living, specializing in putting LS based motors in them and RestoModing the rest of the truck. I want to do something different but not a typical American Muscle type build, Camaro Mustang and Tri Fives type. I’ve always loved SLs and for some reason my mind focused on the 380SL.
The plan is an 85 380SL, LS3/ 6 speed auto, Mustang II front suspension/steering, Art Morrison Compact Multi link IRS out back, Speed Hut gauges, full interior and paint. There will be quite a bit of fabrication including joining the sub frames, also adding European type bumpers. We drove from our small town, Chesnee SC to Georgia yesterday and picked up a beautiful 85 in Anthracite Gray that is sitting outside the window in front of my desk. Goal is an 85 canyon carver that is a sleeper and a reacher. Only wheel and tire combo and gauge cluster will hint at what lies underneath to the casual observer.

I am slammed in the shop so the reality is I will not be starting on this build until the beginning of 2021. Question is, are you guys and girls interested in a build thread or not interested? Let me know your thoughts.

Prettiest vehicle ever to arrive here on a trailer
106663497_3436906119673588_5327877712768279943_o.jpg




Add one of these
LS3.jpg



Something like this



And this

 

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1991 300SE W126, 1985 300SL R107, 1991 190E 2.3 (caretaker)
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Can’t see the pictures of the car (just the rear assembly) but all for seeing the build!
 

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1991 300SE W126, 1985 300SL R107, 1991 190E 2.3 (caretaker)
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118 Posts
i now also see the front assembly, but not the top two images.
 

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1998 ML320, 1975 280C
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154 Posts
I'd like to follow the build as well! Pics of the car look nice, and I think you will need to connect both sub frames to get it to handle as you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the positive responses guys! I did not know if you were all purists or not, so testing the water. I looked at several 380s before I bought the one shown. I told the prospective sellers my plans and a few of them were not supportive, to say the least. The guy I bought this one from was all for it and wants to see it when done.
 

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'71 350SL, '76 450SLC (Euro both)
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I'll say this, I'm a purist, or at least was for a long time. Now having seen what the SL Shop did to a 300SL, and called it the "Sportline", it's clear there's room for improvement. It'll be interesting and informative to see what you put out there. Looking forward to it!

Even though I consider his cars the epitome of bloated excess, Singer Vehicle Design has shown modern modifications to an old design can be creative. As such I've relaxed a bit on the "purist" mind set. I think if it looks good and drives well, so be it.
 

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1991 300SE W126, 1985 300SL R107, 1991 190E 2.3 (caretaker)
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The ultimate air cooled 911 - just need to free up half a million dollars
Our SLs seem like a bargain at GBP 100k for a Sportline! :) Mind you it seems beside the engine, a lot of bits can be put together relatively reasonably from Dkubus and others.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Here in the States the RestoMod has taken over as King of the Hill. True factory restorations will most often not even return the full investment in the build where the same car with modern appointments tastefully executed will bring a fair profit on the investment. People now want to drive these cars, not place them in their garage only to see the light of day perhaps 2-3 times annually.

My wife and I are avid classic car fans and attend quite a few actions annually. We see it all the time where a perfectly restored vehicle, say a 67 Camaro rolls across the block and gets mild interest and is lucky to break the six figure mark. At the same auction a perfectly RestoModed 67 Camaro will have multiple bidders and go well over the $100K mark. Reachers are what people want today and they want them with grand amounts of power and the ability to handle.

They also want reliability, something that before the advent of multi port computer controlled fuel injection was not easy to find in combination with high power numbers. The LS3 with 430HP and 425 ft/lbs of torque has become "common", even blase to some. The up side is that with that commonality comes rock solid reliability. It also comes with parts support both factory and aftermarket that is second to none along with a wrench in every town that knows how to work on them.

I've been building Land Cruisers using Connect & Cruise packages from GM for 8 years, building the rest of the truck around this package. They just keep on going with just regular oil and filter changes. There are some issues with these motors but most show up only when pushing the motors past daily driver duty. The truck version of this line of motors, the Vortecs commonly report 300K plus miles in fleet service with only oil changes, filters and plugs.

I look forward to this build personally for several reasons. First and foremost is something new :) You can only build so many of the same or similar vehicle before the itch to do something else needs attention. The reason for a 380SL, it's not a Camaro, Mustang, Tri Five or mid 50s pick up! It's a beautiful car that deserves to move farther into the future.
 

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'71 350SL, '76 450SLC (Euro both)
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Very interesting...

Take a look at the SL Shop: Sportline

That's their 'resto-mod'. The red car has a video on its particular page. Some ideas maybe. I think you'll enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you. I've seen the video and anything else that I could find on the car. Beautiful car indeed. I am shooting for a similar final product, just from a more American muscle point of view. The LS3 will not fit with the current front suspension components making Mustang II suspension geometry a logical choice. The wide array of available springs, shocks, sway bars and steering racks makes hitting just the right set up an off the shelf proposition rather than having custom components designed and built.

I'll also be joining the front and rear sub frames to gain a more rigid frame structure. I believe it to be imperative given the flexible nature of a roadster. I jokingly mentioned a 7 point roll bar to my wife, the glare was enough to kill. I am planning on keeping as much of the exterior and interior as close to OEM feel as possible, upgrading materials and components. Speed Hut Custom gauges are planned and an entire new aftermarket wiring harness is also in the plans.

I much prefer the European bumper package than the big rubber side pieces we have here in the States. Fortunately a full bumper and valance kit is available. Subtle exterior changes will also be made, similar to the Sportline. We are also planning on retaining the original color of both exterior and interior. Currently the carpet is a couple different shades. My wife also found a beautiful Nardi flat bottom steering wheel to help with the tight to the thighs position of the original. Not sure I am sold on a flat bottom just yet. But a vintage looking wood wheel appeals to me.

The list will go on most certainly.
 

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'71 350SL, '76 450SLC (Euro both)
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I have a question. How do you get the engine, transmission, and the front suspension to line up? Line up in a way that the suspension is in the correct spot, the transmission selector is in the right spot, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Not a smart azz answer, but very carefully. I'll mark the center line of the current front suspension on the frame and take some measurements to reference points. Then install the new suspension in the same place. A lot of time, measuring and mocking up before it is all welded in to make sure location for and aft as well as final ride height is correct. Same applies to the drive line, rear suspension and shifter. I am using a 6 speed automatic trans so the shifter is easy to mount any where you like.

Experience. like in most things like this, is the key. I have built many cars, trucks, scoots, boats and even designed and built custom RC helicopters for a living over the years. I've been building Land Cruisers, most all with LS swaps for 8 years. Did my first motor swap when I was 18. Being raised by a gear head father that did all this work and took me to every speed shop and private garage with a hot rod in a three county area from the time I was 3-4 probably had a lot to do with it as well.
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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Definitely interested in your work. I'm not an original purists and like to see improvements.

BTW, I have a Land Cruiser my son drives and a Lexus LX470 that I drive.
Have never heard of LS engine transplants. Sounds interesting, can you post some details?

On the Mercedes implementation, have you considered a Manual Transmission?
There are manual 280SLs and ultra rare 500SLs with manual transmissions.
I think a manual implementation in your 380SL would make hugely interesting story.
 
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