OK, so I decide to give my Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 a new coat of paint.
I had acquired this car almost 10 years ago – from all the available sources – on Ebay. Read more about the 300SEL 6.3 here
After extensive communication with the owner, I won the car for a reasonable price. Unseen and untested. However, the communications with the previous owner indicated that he had already invested a large sum in a very comprehensive mechanical restoration by a reputable brand specialist and had all the receipts. It even included refurbishing of the complete interior with new and correct leather upholstery and wood. I later learned that other bidders were confused with some mismatched interior details and wrote the car off as an unidentified object.
Next, I had the car shipped to Starmotors in Endicott, NY, a shop specializing in Mercedes models powered by the famed M100 engine. Until this point, my intend was to turn it into a tribute car of the Rote Sau (red pig) and use it extensively in Classic Car Rallies. Read more about the Red Pig here
After the car arrived at Starmotors, Neil the owner, called me. He hinted to not convert it after all. Mainly because it was just in too nice of a condition. He also confirmed this car to be #0038 and one of, if not the, first such model in the US. Which makes it quite valuable. The only weak spot was the fading paint but that could be addressed at some point in the future. We concurred te leave the car as is and after a brief tune-up and some minor maintenance of the air suspension it would make a very good driver with almost show quality interior and mechanics.
So this what I did for the past years. Drive it and appreciate the power and comfort that only the 6.3 can provide. For a second opinion, just hop over to Jay Leno’s video report on his 6.3. I also participated in some Classic Car Rallies and enjoyed embarrassing some motorists at stoplights and the 407, who thought that this is just another lazy, old Benz Diesel.
“New paint at some point in the future…”. Well the future is now and here is where this story actually begins. (BTW, this will be a multi part story over the course of this year. Hopefully with a very happy ending).
Part 1 – Finding a right Paint Shop
Finding a good paint shop is like finding a needle in the haystack. Actually, more like finding a golden needle between many needles. Obviously, the key is to find a good balance between cost and quality. However, quality is hard to judge before the paint has dried. Therefore, a lot of trust is involved.
I think I did my due diligence. I visited a number of paint shops, compared their work ethics and prices, spoke to friends who had similar work done in the past and traveled the internet.
My final candidates where the before mentioned M100 specialist Starmotors and our own Section member A2Z Automobiles in Whitby. The recent drop of our $CDN compared to the $US combined with the travel distance (I wanted to see the progress regularly) eventually favored the second. In addition, numerous conversations with Sheik, the owner of A2Z, made me feel at ease. My decision was also assisted by the fact that he was just in the midst of repainting a 220S Fintail, so I saw firsthand the attention to detail that he and his crew put into their work.
I dropped the car off just before Christmas.
One of Sheik’s jobs will be to document the work as it progresses so I can have pictures for my write-up.
Here are the first pictures.