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Premium Member
'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still here - alive and kicking - hope you, family (and cars) are all well !

Today I've just finished a rebuild of another car, inspection, roadworthy certificates etc. and will be road registering it this Thursday. It's kept me busy (and sane) this year during a series of COVID lock downs here in Melbourne.

I still have most of my hobby cars competing for my attention :

  • 1 x 1976 R107 280SL
  • 1 x 2001 W163 ML55 AMG
  • 1 x 2004 W163 ML350
  • 1 x 2005 W163 ML350 SE
  • 1 x 2004 R171 SLK 200 Kompressor
  • 1 x 2005 R171 SLK 350, and now also
  • 1 x 2011 W204 C250 CDI

I'm now looking forward to my next project. I'm probably all done with restorations and rebuilds and I've been thinking seriously, very seriously, about moving it up a notch and scratch building a project car/replica of something special. Something really worth doing. A project like this needs a lot of careful thought - it's not easy to get regulatory approvals here and of course it could take a couple of years to do it. But it would be a hell of a lot of fun !

Cheers, Rob
 

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Premium Member
2000 ML55 sold? 2013 ML500,? 2017 C43 AMG,1929 Victory 6 roadster, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
Joined
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5,846 Posts
I'm still here - alive and kicking - hope you, family (and cars) are all well !

Today I've just finished a rebuild of another car, inspection, roadworthy certificates etc. and will be road registering it this Thursday. It's kept me busy (and sane) this year during a series of COVID lock downs here in Melbourne.

I still have most of my hobby cars competing for my attention :

  • 1 x 1976 R107 280SL
  • 1 x 2001 W163 ML55 AMG
  • 1 x 2004 W163 ML350
  • 1 x 2005 W163 ML350 SE
  • 1 x 2004 R171 SLK 200 Kompressor
  • 1 x 2005 R171 SLK 350, and now also
  • 1 x 2011 W204 C250 CDI

I'm now looking forward to my next project. I'm probably all done with restorations and rebuilds and I've been thinking seriously, very seriously, about moving it up a notch and scratch building a project car/replica of something special. Something really worth doing. A project like this needs a lot of careful thought - it's not easy to get regulatory approvals here and of course it could take a couple of years to do it. But it would be a hell of a lot of fun !

Cheers, Rob
Great to see your back Rob. Thank god for car projects it’s the only thing that can keep us busy and sane at the moment here in Melbourne. I’m now pretty much full time doing vintage car restorations and making wooden spoke wheels for them. So I think a lot of people on the east coast of Australia are doing the same. I’ve not long finished my dodge victory six sports roadster.
I think from memory springy it was Rob that came up with the rule no pictures no believe. Haha.
 

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Premium Member
'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
Joined
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2,165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great to see your back Rob. Thank god for car projects it’s the only thing that can keep us busy and sane at the moment here in Melbourne. I’m now pretty much full time doing vintage car restorations and making wooden spoke wheels for them. So I think a lot of people on the east coast of Australia are doing the same. I’ve not long finished my dodge victory six sports roadster.
I think from memory springy it was Rob that came up with the rule no pictures no believe. Haha.
I would love to visit to see the Victory (and your restoration work generally) when our lockdown lifts.

Yes, the lockdowns make you walk around the garage asking “what else can I fix, or use these bits for?” But you have to be patient and plan ahead as it’s difficult to visit the usual stores - Bunnings, Total Tools etc.

I had ideas to make a coffee table steamer trunk for my daughter, a portable drink set for my eldest son, and a larger cocktail bar for my other son. I finished the first two but the third is WIP because I got side tracked when I bought the W204 as getting some of the third party repairs, parts and inspections done during lockdowns was an extra challenge.

Yes, I think I probably floated the “pictures or it didn’t happen” saying in this W163 forum (but stole it from elsewhere). So on that note - see attached pictures.

It’s an amazing coincidence that you are building wooden spoke wheels as I also made a set of 4 all wooden wagon wheels for the cocktail bar. They are only 35cm diameter but there are still 48 pieces in each - with difficult angles as I decided to offset 6 spokes to each side for a better look. Photo attached is just after gluing and doweling - they look good now after cleaning up and fitting of cast iron and brass hubs.

Musical instrument Musical instrument accessory Wood Folk instrument Electronic instrument
Brown Wood Rectangle Flooring Material property
Brown Rectangle Wood Luggage and bags Bag
Automotive design Drinkware Barware Floor Audio equipment
Motor vehicle Wood Engineering Gas Machine
Material property Triangle Wood Jewellery Art
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread
 

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Premium Member
'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
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2,165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Rob...would love to see some pictures !!
Fair enough, since you asked. Don’t want to go too far “off- topic” but it’s still about cars, and hooks into MB

It started with “wouldn’t it be great to build a replica Gullwing 300SL” (based on a lifelong dream of owning the real thing). Some research quickly revealed there’s a reasonable number of enthusiasts around the world doing the same - either using a scratch built space frame, modified Corvette chassis, or rebodying an R170 or R171 SLK.

Most buy or make a fibreglass body but a few are doing it in aluminium and/or steel. There is lots of tech info sharing and also a lot of original and reproduction parts available. Some have taken to making their own parts and make extras for resale. However, to get a high quality and faithful replica it could take 3 to 5 years and be very expensive. So I can’t rush the decision. The idea still has a lot of appeal as I have two R171 SLKs and having rebuilt both I know how they are put together.

But there are some really tough compliance hurdles to overcome here in Australia and I don’t want to build a car I can’t use. Based on what other Gullwing builders have built and successfully registered overseas I would venture to say that Australia likely has the toughest vehicle design regulations of most big markets. Infinitely tougher than the USA for example - where literally anything goes (by comparison).

Some aspects of the Gullwing are very costly and/or technically challenging - the glass and chrome window trim costs tens of thousands, as does the grill, bumpers and wheels. These are the things that define the car’s look and a shortcut here can devalue the whole project. Getting good functioning doors and a low profile engine to fit under the low hood are also technically very challenging.

One of the common challenges in replicating any older car with a newer donor is the A pillar location, windscreen shape and rake. Older cars have long hoods and upright windscreens whereas over the years windscreen rake has increased progressively, A pillars have moved forwards and doors have got bigger. The underlying structure of cars has changed from chassis to monocoque. Trying to force fit new style glass to an old shape is a definite no no.

So I haven’t given up, but lately I’ve also been exploring other ideas, for example :

  • rebodying a Z3 as a BMW 570
  • rebodying an SLK as a Ferrari 250GTO or 275GTB.

Some random photos attached to test the body to chassis fit between donor car and project build. Interestingly a huge number of old and new sports cars have a wheelbase of close to 2400mm. Fun fact : the 1955 W198 300SL Gullwing and the 1998 R170 SLK 3.2 AMG have the exact same wheelbase.

But for me the front runner project at this stage is scratch building a replica Ferrari Dino 246GT. I’ve also dreamed of having one of these (haven’t we all?) and over the last several weeks have accumulated an enormous amount of technical information on the chassis and running gear. As a mid engine design there are some really good (non Ferrari) engine options available and the chassis/body engineering is uncomplicated.

The original 246GT was 192hp 5 speed pushing a 1,080 kg steel body and chassis with cast iron block. I reckon I can build a project car which is 310hp (turbo) 5 or 6 speed which will be under 1,000kg due to advances in materials, design etc. If I do this I’m actually inspired to set some stretch design objectives - 400hp plus but sub 1,000kg kerb weight. I’m not on a power trip - but if I’m going to put the time and effort into this I don’t want to end up with something that’s underwhelming.

Presently, I’m teaching myself how to use 3D CAD software so that I can assimilate all the tech info I have into a chassis design to discuss with a vehicle engineer. It’s a simple design (the Dino is a simple car) but the biggest challenge after that will be to find a chassis builder to make the chassis - I’ve spoken to a few and they all have 6 to 12 months of existing work queued due to COVID.

One solution is to have all the chassis parts laser cut (they couldn’t do this in 1972) and then tack weld the chassis so that I can at least buy and test fit/tune the drive train, steering, suspension, brakes etc and make a start on the body.

If I do this I want to do it well, really well. The result needs to look, feel and smell just like the original inside and out. Technology has moved on in the 50 years since and so I have no philosophical issues with putting the latest and greatest mechanicals and electronics under the skin. And a big part of any Ferrari is the “sound”. With 310hp and turbo this will sound just fine. 400hp may need supercharging and it’s not yet clear if I will have the headroom or the air flow as the Dino has a very low profile and is mid mount engine.

Gone are the days of anyone building replicas on rewelded VW chassis pans!

So there is plenty of things to do in COVID lockdowns - thanks to the internet.

Some random photos follow.

Tire Wheel Land vehicle Car Vehicle
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Automotive parking light
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Car Land vehicle
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Hood
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Hood
Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Automotive lighting
Plant Wood Road surface Grass Gas
Triangle Automotive exterior Font Rectangle Urban design
Hood Automotive tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design
Line Font Parallel Schematic Engineering
 

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Premium Member
2000 ML55 sold? 2013 ML500,? 2017 C43 AMG,1929 Victory 6 roadster, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
Joined
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5,846 Posts
I would love to visit to see the Victory (and your restoration work generally) when our lockdown lifts.

Yes, the lockdowns make you walk around the garage asking “what else can I fix, or use these bits for?” But you have to be patient and plan ahead as it’s difficult to visit the usual stores - Bunnings, Total Tools etc.

I had ideas to make a coffee table steamer trunk for my daughter, a portable drink set for my eldest son, and a larger cocktail bar for my other son. I finished the first two but the third is WIP because I got side tracked when I bought the W204 as getting some of the third party repairs, parts and inspections done during lockdowns was an extra challenge.

Yes, I think I probably floated the “pictures or it didn’t happen” saying in this W163 forum (but stole it from elsewhere). So on that note - see attached pictures.

It’s an amazing coincidence that you are building wooden spoke wheels as I also made a set of 4 all wooden wagon wheels for the cocktail bar. They are only 35cm diameter but there are still 48 pieces in each - with difficult angles as I decided to offset 6 spokes to each side for a better look. Photo attached is just after gluing and doweling - they look good now after cleaning up and fitting of cast iron and brass hubs.

View attachment 2712160 View attachment 2712161 View attachment 2712162 View attachment 2712163 View attachment 2712164 View attachment 2712165 View attachment 2712166
You have some good woodworking skills going on there Rob. They look excellent.
Definitely pop over when lockdown ends mate it would be great to catch up again.
You can check out the roadster here in the meantime.
Restoration of Victory Six sports roadster.
It is tricky getting the wooden spoke wheels together. I press them in in a 20t press.


 

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2000 ML55 sold? 2013 ML500,? 2017 C43 AMG,1929 Victory 6 roadster, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
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Not sure why it goes to page 24 but you can go to the start pretty easy.
 

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Premium Member
'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not sure why it goes to page 24 but you can go to the start pretty easy.
Absolutely brilliant work Matt. I read all 24 pages of posts as it was a great journey to follow. I’m really impressed by the fact that you tackled every task personally - rust removal, wheel rebuilding, engine rebuilding, brass work, rag top bows, chrome platingetc. And you have a nice group of followers sharing and supporting you all the while.

Clearly you were really enjoying it - the speed at which you did this must mean you were a bit quieter with your work during COVID or that you burned midnight oil (or both). I did spot that Christmas’s were not a time to feast and relax but provided opportunities to accelerate the restoration. I would do the same !

Good that Judy is so understanding but I don’t get why you weren’t allowed to put the radiator in your bedroom ! LOL.

By about page 22 I was seeing the end and wondering “what next”, and then 10 days after installing the trunk box you were rear ended. What a bummer! Good that Shannons allowed you to repair as I’m sure you would not have been happy with someone else repairing it as the “correct way” was so fresh in your mind.

One thing I couldn’t follow - half way through did you sell one of your earlier two cars, or is it the case that you have restored three and kept the last two?

Did you do all this in the new workshop you were building when I visited?

In any event, what’s the next project? If you want to scratch build a Gullwing you clearly have the skills to do it, really! I have all the info and contacts you would need.
 
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Premium Member
2000 ML55 sold? 2013 ML500,? 2017 C43 AMG,1929 Victory 6 roadster, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
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Absolutely brilliant work Matt. I read all 24 pages of posts as it was a great journey to follow. I’m really impressed by the fact that you tackled every task personally - rust removal, wheel rebuilding, engine rebuilding, brass work, rag top bows, chrome platingetc. And you have a nice group of followers sharing and supporting you all the while.

Clearly you were really enjoying it - the speed at which you did this must mean you were a bit quieter with your work during COVID or that you burned midnight oil (or both). I did spot that Christmas’s were not a time to feast and relax but provided opportunities to accelerate the restoration. I would do the same !

Good that Judy is so understanding but I don’t get why you weren’t allowed to put the radiator in your bedroom ! LOL.

By about page 22 I was seeing the end and wondering “what next”, and then 10 days after installing the trunk box you were rear ended. What a bummer! Good that Shannons allowed you to repair as I’m sure you would not have been happy with someone else repairing it as the “correct way” was so fresh in your mind.

One thing I couldn’t follow - half way through did you sell one of your earlier two cars, or is it the case that you have restored three and kept the last two?

Did you do all this in the new workshop you were building when I visited?

In any event, what’s the next project? If you want to scratch build a Gullwing you clearly have the skills to do it, really! I have all the info and contacts you would need.
Thanks Rob. Yer mate I truly loved doing every single bit of it.
The rag top was my biggest challenge out of the whole job. I’d never touched a sewing machine before this restoration.
They are an awesome bunch of guys on the dodge forum and to be honest I probably couldn’t of got it to the stage I did without all their help.
I sold my 27 dodge that I had previously restored to help finance the roadster as it was pretty expensive to complete even though I did everything myself.
I can only dream of a gull wing it would be just amazing to own one. Building it would be definitely a great challenge to tackle. Even 190 would be awesome.
We’ll have to catch up sometime when we are allowed out. You could make some awesome picnic trunks for the back of the vintage cars.
 

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Premium Member
'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks Rob. Yer mate I truly loved doing every single bit of it.
The rag top was my biggest challenge out of the whole job. I’d never touched a sewing machine before this restoration.
They are an awesome bunch of guys on the dodge forum and to be honest I probably couldn’t of got it to the stage I did without all their help.
I sold my 27 dodge that I had previously restored to help finance the roadster as it was pretty expensive to complete even though I did everything myself.
I can only dream of a gull wing it would be just amazing to own one. Building it would be definitely a great challenge to tackle. Even 190 would be awesome.
We’ll have to catch up sometime when we are allowed out. You could make some awesome picnic trunks for the back of the vintage cars.
Funny, I do a bit of sewing myself too. I've owned a yacht since 2008 and in the first year or two I discovered that I was was forever needing to have this re-attached, this bit reinforced, that zipper replaced etc.etc, and it was painful having to remove, take away, pay to have repaired, collect, return to the yacht and refit. So I purchased a Sailrite sewing machine from the USA - they are widely know as the "sailors sewing machine". Link below. It was a wise decision, saved myself a lot of time, inconvenience and cost. It sews incredibly well - I can stitch two pieces of canvas together, or double over 1.5mm thick leather three times (so 12mm thick) and it will still sew through it like a hot knife through butter. I've also used it to make and mend some car covers for the Benzs.

On the picnic trunk idea there's a guy in Sacramento, USA who makes fitted luggage for 300 SL Gullwings and roadsters - been doing it for years as they were offered as options in the 1950s but over the years were damaged or separated from the cars. With these cars now worth $2m or more the current owners think nothing of spending $5k to $10k to get replica fitted luggage made, so he's been doing steady business. A bit of a niche market. I think Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and a few top end brands now offer picnic trunks/hampers as part of their very long options lists. If you google for it you can see some amazing ideas - some are priced at $100k or more (not the car - just the picnic trunk/hamper).

 
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Funny, I do a bit of sewing myself too. I've owned a yacht since 2008 and in the first year or two I discovered that I was was forever needing to have this re-attached, this bit reinforced, that zipper replaced etc.etc, and it was painful having to remove, take away, pay to have repaired, collect, return to the yacht and refit. So I purchased a Sailrite sewing machine from the USA they are widely know as the "sailors sewing machine". Link below/ It was a wise decision, saved myself a lot of time,inconvenience and cost. It sews incredibly well - I can stitch two pieces of canvas together, or double over 2mm thick leather three times (so 8mm thick) and it will still sew through it like a hot knife through butter. I've also used it to make and mend some car covers for the Benzs.

On the picnic trunk idea there's a guy in Sacramento, USA who makes fitted luggage for 300 SL Gullwing and roadster - been doing it for years as they were offered as options in the 1950s but over the years were damaged or separated from the cars. With these cars now worth $2m or more the current owners think nothing of spending $5k to $10k to get replica fitted luggage made, so he's been doing steady business. A bit of a niche market. I think Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and a few top end brans now offer picnic trunks/hampers as part of their very long options lists. If you google for it you can see some amazing ideas - some are priced at $100k or more (not the car - just the picnic trunk/hamper.

The machine I bought was from a sail maker, it is a consew deep throat which was very handy for getting all the leather seats under there. The biggest problem I had was it wants to see so fast.
I saw a gullwing or a roadster I think for sale with the full luggage kit. Looks pretty cool.

My dad was a used car dealer back in the 70’s and a guy wanted to sell him a Gullwing for $8500 but Dad said to him he’d only give him $7500 because the doors look like they would be a problem.
The guy didn’t take dad up on his offer damn it.
I did tell him how much they are worth now and all he said was “shit!!”
 
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