The Mercedes is a 280SE, complete with the whopping 3.5-litre V8 – it’s certainly not for the faint hearted. I originally bought the Benz because I had a particular penchant for a classy big German saloon – or sedan as it’s American spec – let’s keep it authentic, shall we. I’d literally always wanted one, everything about it just floats my boat. You just can’t beat the perfect lines in the body of this 60s/70s Merc. When I got the car, back in September 2014, it’s safe to say that the condition was nowhere near what it is today. Thankfully, the mechanicals were all good, though – the engine and transmission were both spot on – that was my focus, to get a well-running V8. But, the body needed a hella lotta love.
First thing on the list was to sort the body out, I then refurbished the whole interior on my own and completed a big service of the engine and transmission to get that all-important German MOT – as I’m all the way over here in Pulheim, Germany. After that, the Merc got a full custom-built air-ride set up, complete with Airlift bags and an Airlift 3P management system (upgraded to a 3H, this winter).
Are classic cars your forte then? What’re your thoughts on modern cars?
I love the style and charm of classics: the chrome trim, the wood of the interior, all of it. With the Merc, there’s no better feeling than driving it. Driving a 70s ‘luxury’ sedan with no electric stuff at all that is supposed to help you drive safe is refreshing.
I made sure that all of the modifications done on the 280SE were of the period, if not older – just to keep the classic feel. For example, I decided to hide all of the air ride stuff in a 50s suitcase in the boot. I then fitted some ceramic polished 15-inch Barock wheels, together with white walls – what else?! – as well as a few other bits and bobs that kept it classic. Sticking an iPad to the dash just wouldn’t work in something like this – it’d be sacrilege.
I don’t really need a modern car. I know most people need all the mod cons etc. and reliability, but it’s really pretty awesome to get a classic that you can also drive as a daily – in the summer, anyway *he says, laughing*. Long road-trips aren’t a problem, either. Last year we made Players Show, travelling all the way from Cologne to the UK. Naturally, pre-prep included paint protection – Auto Finesse products helped a lot with this.
We love that you use the car and it’s not just a show car, but how do you prep the Merc for shows?
For the perfect show prep, I have a four-step program that I follow religiously: wash, clay, polish and, finally, wax. In addition to this, I clean the interior fully and polish all the chrome trim where necessary.
How do you maintain the car in general? Any tips for our readers and favourite products?
Auto Finesse Lather shampoo is like my go-to product. Due to its neutral pH balance, it’s not too abrasive to the wax protection that I’ve previously spent a while applying. For a quick clean-up, I always take the lather shampoo. Because of its pH-neutral solution, it’s not too abrasive to the wax that is on the top. My all-time favourite product to use, though, has to be the Auto Finesse clay bar. Used together with the Glide lubricant, it removes embedded dirt from the surface of paint. It works especially well on my pearl white Mercedes 280SE, that we’re talking about here – the colour is so unforgiving, especially to tar spots. And in the summer, there are always some small gum or resin specks from trees, but following a quick go-around with the clay bar the paint is clean and smooth again.