The Impulse Buy (part 2)
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
If you have not read part one of the story, I will give you the quick rundown. While at breakfast during our family vacation a friend of mine posted pics of a vintage Mercedes that needed a new home NOW. I was 1500 miles away and otherwise occupied, but I agreed to purchase it and my friend handled the logistics of getting it out of there before the impound truck came to drag it away (it had a 72 hour notice and the clock was ticking). It was a total blind impulse buy, I really had no clue what I was getting myself into and had only seen a couple of tiny pics on my cell phone...but always being up for an adventure,the deal went down.
Yesterday I went to see the car for the first time and to trailer it back to the Carchaeology Laboratory to start its new life. My brother came along for support and we rolled into Orange County to our mothers house where the car was dropped without her knowledge or permission.(fortunately mom is awesome...thanks mom!) While my initial reaction was a mild disappointment due to a couple rust spots, the more I looked at it, the more I mellowed and realized that trusting my gut was the best way to go. This thing is freakin cool! The car is a 1968 Mercedes 250S sedan. A marginally interesting model in the world of Mercedes, but with a very interesting twist in that it is right hand drive , manual trans with shift on the column and features the cool big European headlights. The car has been sitting for quite a while and the engine was removed for rebuilding, but apparently never made it back in the car. I have not yet seen the engine and I know little of the cars history, but Im scheduled to pick up the engine and meet the last owner to get the paperwork tomorrow...so watch for Part 3 of the story that will hopefully fill in some blanks.
The pick up of the car was a bit of an adventure as when we arrived one of the tires was flat and we had no way to pump it up. The car rolled slowly with many strong hands and backs on it, but progress stopped completely at the ramp for the trailer. Some quick thinking worked into a creative solution and a chain of tie downs was fashioned running up the ramp and through the trailer, exiting the man door on one side. The straps were then hooked to another car pulled just forward of the door and as the driver went forward the Benz slowly crawled up the ramp. After this heroic and slightly stupid task was accomplished our momentary celebration was cut short as we all realized that the car was too long for the trailer. Even with the bumper pressed against the front wall of the trailer, the car was at least 3" too long for the door to close. We tried to figure out how to strap the door partially closed which would make the trailer longer, but the angle was too great and the taillights on the door would not be visible, so we turned our attention to making the car shorter. The front bumper and grille were removed and stashed under the car and we tried the door...it just hit the body at the bumper mounts, bit when forced a bit, the latches just barely closed. We were in...but truly end to end , rubbing on both front and back and the precious European headlights less than a half an inch from touching the wall! We jammed a chunk of carpet in there for just a tiny bit of padding and then said a prayer before hitting the road.
The tow back to the Lab was uneventful and the Benz made it safe with headlights intact. The next morning I wandered out to take a closer look while still lashed in the trailer. Its a super cool old car and I cant wait to dive head first into the clean up and preservation. The revival will be a pretty serious task, but the car is worth the effort. There cant be many right hand drive examples in the US, the rarity factor is strong.
Trust your impulses...when the opportunity pops up, grab it. Don't hesitate or you might just miss out. It also helps to have good friends to lend a hand. Next task...chasing the history and grabbing the engine!