Each and every classic Mercedes Benz restoration we have completed has been for a specific purpose. The motive is always deeply personal, whether that be the desire to invest in the preservation of a piece of history or to challenge the best in the industry to completely revive a car that will stimulate the senses and stand out from others. Some simply want to drive their SL regularly – to the local cars and coffee meets or to pick the grandchildren up from school. Whatever the motive, our craftsmen are adept at understanding each customer’s goals and work with the same meticulous mindset to achieve the right outcome. They understand how a Pagoda’s suspension should sit, how the engine should start on a cold morning and how the trim should be finished. This knowledge is what makes each SLSHOP certified car special.
Where SLSHOP is deeply passionate about and recognised for its full ‘nut and bolt’ Mercedes classic car restorations, we’re also committed to supporting those who want to enjoy the driving characteristics of their classic Mercedes. Owners across the world come to us for full SportLine commissions, while others merely select a few SportLine features to improve their car.
Across both the Heritage and Specialist workshops, each team Is working on a trio of classic Mercedes Benz restorations that are centred around improving the driving nature of the customer’s car. The connecting thread between each restoration is that each customer has opted for a 6-speed manual gearbox conversion – a common SportLine upgrade to offer more of an intimate driving experience.
280SL W113 Pagoda Classic Mercedes Restoration
This car came to SLSHOP following an enquiry from a Dubai-based customer, who wanted to improve the car for his father and enable regular use on the weekends in the city. Dubai suits the W113 Pagoda, particularly as the emirate is laden with supercars – a W113 Pagoda is a welcomed sight to both locals and ex-patriots. A slice of class and history in a monolithic modern city.
The car arrived having had work carried out elsewhere; with the initial plan to improve the mechanicals, door cards, brightwork and interior trim. Starting with the engine, Dan discovered a cracked cylinder head, which required attention immediately before any further work could be carried out. As the mechanical work was undertaken, the customer became more invested and wanted to take the cosmetics and driving experience to the next level. Dan has installed a new sub-frame and replaced the suspension. An original Becker radio has been fitted, while the dash has been recovered in Palesander (Rosewood) wooden trim. A new carpet has also been fitted to accommodate the 6-speed manual shifter – the 6-speed manual Ge-Trag gearbox conversion wasn’t part of the original plan…
Why choose a 6-speed manual gearbox for your Pagoda?
A W113 Pagoda is a capable continent cruiser, with adequate power, comfort and space to take you miles. The original gear ratios of both the manual and automatic gearbox meant that the car would rev at 3500-4000 rpm when cruising at 60/70mph. For some, this can be overbearing on longer drives. Whereas, a 6-speed Ge-Trag gearbox will mean that the car will only rev at 2500rpm at 65mph, offering a more pleasant driving experience over long distances.
An additional advantage to choosing a 6-speed manual conversion is that lower engine revolutions will increase the MPG when cruising on longer drives. Where a standard 4-speed automatic will achieve 19-22mpg, an uprated manual 6-speed conversion will achieve much higher figures at 65-70mph.
Dan also reports that the more modern 6-speed gearbox is lighter, making the car livelier in the corners; also achieving a different stance for the car. Since the first set of road tests, Dan has reported that a new fuel pump is needed to complete the job. With all classic Mercedes Benz restorations, there are likely to be surprises along the way and SLSHOP’s Workshops team will always communicate such occurances. These are rare cars now, requiring delicacy, patience and the most caring of craftsmen.
Signal Red 300SL SportLine Classic Mercedes Benz Restoration
Those of you who are familiar with SLSHOP’s craftsmanship will have come across SportLine. We’ve built upon the significant impact the R107 made on the performance rally landscape, as well as the already established SportLine concept of the 1990s, to offer owners more from their SL. Our work focuses on improving the performance and handling of the SL while retaining the distinctive styling and character of the original. With this particular commission, the customer has opted for a partial SportLine build.
The Signal Red 300SL you see on the ramp below arrived at SLSHOP with SportLine suspension fitted by the customer at home, but down on power and lacking the grunt expected from the 6 cylinder engine. A quick assessment discovered that the engine was in a bad way, with a broken timing chain guide and other issues. The customer felt that the gearbox may have been the issue, but after they drove another SportLine 300SL, they quickly realised that the car was indeed underpowered.
Dan: ‘’It’s down to me to make him realise what a different car it is now to drive.’’
A new engine was sourced for this classic Mercedes Benz restoration, with the team electing the W124 3.0 6-cylinder 103 engine from the 300TE model as the replacement. The engine has been updated with new valve stem seals, new crank seals and gaskets, as well as a new water pump. Dan has confirmed much better compression from the engine. With the new engine operating featuring a larger camshaft, more aggressive fuel delivery and a higher combustion rate deliver much more power.
Eliott has now adjusted the suspension, ensuring the car sits exactly as it should do on the SportLine suspension. The car is now at a stage ready for road tests, with sign off expected by the customer. This is a car that came to SLSHOP with expert attention required – the customer had achieved a lot himself, but a performance-orientated R107 really needs expert attention.
Nautic Blue 300SL Classic Mercedes Reconditioning
The ‘drivers’ theme continues with another 300SL classic Mercedes Benz restoration, except this one is blue. The focus again is on the mechanicals. This car has come to us with a similar vision as its Signal Red cousin – to create a wolf in sheep’s clothing. An R107 with a composed and sophisticated exterior, masking a powerful force beneath.
SLSHOP craftsman and long-standing employee, Simon, has been working on this car for several months now. His passion for SportLine runs deep – he worked to develop the concept with SLSHOP directors several years ago and is instrumental in finalising each SportLine’s setup. The car features an uprated Omex ECU, Electronic Fuel Injectors and of course, the 6-Speed Ge-Trag manual gearbox. The customer has also taken on Simon’s suggestion for a bigger throttle body, increasing airflow and horsepower. A custom exhaust has been produced and fitted to also improve power, reduce weight, and give the car a more distinctive voice.
If you’re looking for a classic Mercedes Benz restoration specialist, look no further. SLSHOP’s craftsmen are skilled at working with Mercedes-Benz models dating from the 1950s through to the early 2000s. We work closely with our customer to understand their individual desires, creating a tailored build and maintenance schedule to ensure work is carried out in accordance with each customer’s plans.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to carry out the work yourself or using a more local garage, we can supply you with all the essential parts to achieve your improvement goals.
Book your classic Mercedes Benz restoration today: [email protected]