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    Time to take W110/111 #Fintail saloons more seriously

    / #Mercedes-Benz-280SE-W111 / #Mercedes-Benz-280SE / #Mercedes-Benz-W111 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-W110 / #Mercedes-Benz-Fintail / #1963 / #1964

    Sixties Mercedes saloons just look better and better. Long eclipsed by the more dashing W108s, the Fintail cars still have wood trim, vertical speedos and mostly white steering wheels. Yet despite their period Stuttgart charm prices have stayed resolutely lat.

    Last January SWVA sold a blue ’1963 220S with 52,000 warranted and four owners for only £6250, followed in August by Anglia dispatching a beautifully restored ’1964 220S in dark red for £15,960. In March 2016 CCA sold a cracking factory black ’1966 230S with red trim for £10,120. These feel very cheap cars now.

    As all Mercs from the Sixties and Seventies continue climbing, the ’1959 to ’1968 110s and 111s have been left in the slipstream of Pagodas and 190SLs.

    But their familiar silhouette and dinky tailins mark them out as the definitive Benz of the period and we should be taking them more seriously.

    However, there are signs of movement in the trade. Cheltenham Motor Works is offering a green ’1963 300SE with 53k and full history just out of long-term storage and needing recommissioning for £50k while Auto Cave in Belgium is selling a mint ’1964 restored ex-Peruvian ambassador 220Sb in metallic grey for £17,350. But the odd cheap one still pops up, like the ’1963 220S with PS Autos in Surrey. A straight example needing underside welding, it’s up at just £5000.

    As the lowest-priced classic Sixties Benz, the Fintail has to be worth a look. Fine examples are currently available at a fraction of what you’d pay to restore one.

    VALUE 2012 £9500
    VALUE NOW £16k
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    CAR: #Ferrari-250-Testa-Rossa-Replica / #Ferrari-250-Testa-Rossa / #Ferrari-250 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12 / #Colombo-V12 / #Ferrari-250TR / #1982 / #1963
    Year of manufacture: 1982, using ’1963 parts
    Asking price: £395,000
    Vendor: The Old Racing Car Company, north Norfolk; tel: 01692 538007;


    Price n/a
    Max power 300bhp / DIN
    Max torque 220lb ft / DIN
    Standing ¼ -mile 4.5 secs
    Top speed 168mph
    Mpg n/a

    This bespoke Ferrari was built in 1982 by Garnier and Billot (P3 Automobiles) for former Le Mans racer Régis Fraissinet, using a 1963 #Ferrari-250GTE as a donor – the identity of which it retains. Incorporating Fraissinet’s favourite Ferrari characteristics, it most resembles the 250TR raced by Phil Hill in 1960, and came to the UK in about 2004.

    After 35 years, it’s just taking on a sheen of patina; the paint is even and undamaged and the well-crafted aluminium body is straight, with no stars, pings or chips. There’s evidence on the rear deck that it’s had a roll-bar, where holes have been filled, neatly ringed in socket-head screws. The alloy-rim wheels are in good shape, shod in 2015-dated Michelin Pilotes, with plenty of tread. Inside, the leather is taking on creases and the crackle dash finish is perfect. Like the original, there’s no speedo or odometer.

    The motor, a correctly presented outside-plug Colombo-V12 , is a 4-litre from a 330, said to make 380bhp. It’s clean and dry, wearing an alternator plus a remote oil filter, and there’s an electric fan. Its carbs are 40DFIs. This car has evidently been loved, and on our visit was being chaperoned by GTB Restorations, so the fluids will be clean and to the correct levels. Push in the key, press the button and it fires with a deep, thunderous rumble from the four-megaphone exhaust system. Though the clutch is sharp, the car’s light weight makes it easy to conduct – but steering lock is limited. The engine feels well set up, too – tractable from 2000rpm and with minimal spitting and popping through the carburettors.

    Going harder, the agile chassis flows beautifully through bends with a delightful feel to the steering – the motor simply providing as much power as you ask for the more you prod it, with a linear delivery, revving eagerly to 6500rpm and probably beyond. The all-disc brakes pull up straight, plus it’s easy to heel and toe. The gearchange is heavy, with hard-sprung detents, and you have to be precise where you aim the stick. It shows 5bar oil pressure, right in the middle of the gauge in typical Ferrari fashion, water at about 70ºC and oil temperature well under control, having just cracked off the stop. Gorgeous and, with that sublime #V12 howl, a bit addictive.


    EXTERIOR Straight aluminium; nice paint
    INTERIOR Not much, though it’s all good
    MECHANICALS Well sorted; drives beautifully
    VALUE ★★★★★★★★★★

    For Like the real thing, but for a 30th of the asking price

    Against Wouldn’t get HTP papers, so it can’t run in FIA events


    If you want the proper ’50s Ferrari sports-racer experience delivered using the right bits, this is fantastic value and is lovely in its own right.
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    This pull-handle MGB, previously 572 VOW, was restored just before the turn of the millennium using a Heritage shell, with some bills from Classic MG Services of Fareham. There’s an invoice for a new fuel tank in 2003 and some sundries in 2007. Old MoTs go back to 1995, with the mileage at 23,935, so it’s hardly been used over the past 20 years.

    Confusingly, there’s an ‘in-progress’ picture in the file showing the doors and front wings off, though this perhaps was before the decision was made to reshell the car. It’s solid and rot-free as you’d expect, with spot-weld dimples still well defined in the rear arch lips. There are a couple of dings and ripples in the back end of the left-hand sill, the door that side is slightly proud at the bottom, plus the bonnet and bootlid fits are a little variable, all consistent with Heritage output. The chrome is mostly good, with some plate flaking or wearing off the front bumper. The exhaust is fairly recent, the wheels are in good shape and the tyres almost unused 2013 Barums in the correct 165 section, with an unused Nankang on the spare and the tools still next to it. The hood is in decent condition and the tonneau is new.

    Inside, the leather upholstery is just settling in with a few creases and wear points, plus the carpets still look clean and fresh, with new overmats. The crackle finish to the dash is good except for a small scraped area where the keys have been swinging.

    The three-bearing crank engine is of attractively standard appearance, down to the Coopers stickers on the air-filter casings, plus it’s still running a dynamo and mechanical fan. The radiator is full of fresh green coolant and the oil is clean and nearly at the maximum mark.

    It starts after a churn, having been standing for a while, and the motor is mechanically quiet showing 60psi-plus from the off, which doesn’t drop when warm, suggesting that the unit is fairly fresh. It drives really nicely with a supple ride, tracking and pulling up straight and everything working as it should. Overdrive clicks in and out promptly, the brakes feel right and coolant temperature steadies at 170ºF. The MoT runs until 6 May.

    Car #MGB / #MG / #1963-MGB / #MG / #MG-MGB
    Year of manufacture #1963
    Recorded mileage 30,134
    Asking price £22,500
    Vendor Oselli, near Buckingham, tel: 01993 849610;

    Price £834
    Max power 95bhp
    Max torque 107lb ft
    0-60mph 11 secs
    Top speed 100mph
    Mpg 26


    ● Heritage shell; excellent paint
    ● Almost like new; hide trim just settling in; dash almost mint
    ● Feels sorted; drives sweetly
    VALUE ★★★★★★✩✩✩✩
    For Nicely standard; almost as if it has just left Abingdon
    Against Uneven left sill

    If you want what is, in effect, a nearly new example of the B in its purest form, yes. Younger models and GTs will be a little cheaper

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    CAR #Rover-P4-95 / #Rover-P4 / #Rover / #1963 / #1963-Rover-P4-95 /

    Name Richard Bryant
    Age 63
    Occupation retired solicitor
    Location St Leonards-on-Sea
    First classic Bond Minicar
    Dream classic Wolseley 1500
    Daily driver Land Rover Freelander 2
    Best trip any drive around the Yorkshire Dales


    I became interested in cars as a young boy growing up in Nottingham. My dad’s company Morris Minor was good, but the Rover belonging to my great aunt and uncle was infinitely superior. A black 1955 P4 60, it enabled Aunty Helen and Uncle Percy to give my mother, grandmother, brother and I some memorable rides around the Derbyshire countryside.

    In May 1963 , Helen and Percy visited the showroom of Nottingham Rover dealer Trumans, where they bought a new P4 95. They were attracted by the duotone Marine Grey and Light Navy paintwork and the individual front seats. Because they were both quite short, they found that the bench seat of the 60 meant that both driver and passenger had to sit close to the dashboard. The more powerful six-cylinder engine and disc brakes of the 95 were a bonus.

    We had moved to Birmingham the previous year and saw less of Percy and Helen, but there were various mutual visits so we were soon introduced to the new car and duly impressed by it. Sadly, Percy died in 1966 but Helen continued to use the Rover, keeping it in the garage at her house in Nottingham, which they had owned since 1927.

    Meanwhile, in 1968, my mother purchased her own car: a 1965 Mini Minor Traveller. Then, in late ’69, in readiness for my 16th birthday early the following year, I bought my first car: a ’63 Bond Minicar. I managed to pass my three-wheeler driving test a couple of months after my birthday and repeated the feat in a four-wheeler in 1971. I was getting increasingly involved in car maintenance and was allowed to carry out some work on the Rover and then drive it occasionally.

    In 1972 a tradition began that continued until 1987, whereby each year I took Helen and my grandmother on holiday in the 95.

    On one of the early trips, staying at the same hotel in the Lake District, was another P4 owner. He asked me what I would do when the 95 wore out, to which I replied that I was not going to let that happen, a promise that, so far, I have kept.

    In the early days, I’d trot into Trumans’ parts department and buy any bits I needed in the familiar yellow and red boxes. From about 1973, though, some spares became difficult to obtain.

    I wrote to a car magazine about forming a club for P4s, as a result of which I learnt of the existence of the Rover Sports Register, the club that had been formed in 1953 for all models of Rover. I joined and encouraged others to do so, and so found out a lot more about the marque. This led to my acquiring a couple of cars of my own: a 3-Litre and then a 1946 16 Sports Saloon.

    Today I’m secretary of the Register. In 1980 a job move took me to the Sussex coast, where I met my future wife Anne. We were married in 1982 and Helen let us use the 95 for our honeymoon in the Lake District. She then gave us the car two years later, when, at the age of 87, she stopped driving.

    Anne still has the Vauxhall Viva that she bought new in 1978 and we also have my mother’s old Mini Traveller, for which I swapped my Mini automatic when I moved. We added a ’70 Morris Minor in 1989 and in 1991 got our Rover 9/20, followed by a 1932 Morris Minor van in ’1993 and an ’1988 Range Rover Vogue four years later.

    From 1987 we had a succession of modern Rovers, partly for business but also to take the strain of visiting elderly relatives in the Midlands and the north. Of those, two remain: the 1996 Sterling and the 2012 Land Rover Freelander 2.

    We do seem to have held on to most of the cars that we’ve owned over the years. Keeping a fleet of 11 vehicles going involves considerable commitment and expense, but the hobby provides a lot of enjoyment, not to mention transport.

    Clockwise, from main: in the Lake District during the ’70s; Rover 9/20; the 16 ready for wedding duty; 1932 Minor van; Viva has been owned since ’1978 and Morris since 1989; posing with a family heirloom.

    ‘He asked me what I would do when the P4 wore out, to which I replied that I would not be letting that happen’
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    Golden opportunity / Classic choice Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster W198

    With its still exceptional touring capabilities, this apparently unique, low mile 300SL Roadster was born for the Californian sunshine. Words & Images Richard Truesdell.

    The year is 1963 and Beatlemania is sweeping across Great Britain. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, an American president is felled by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas. And in Germany, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster ends its illustrious, almost six-year production run.

    It was with these events as a backdrop, that Arthur Dring walked into Budd and Dyer Mercedes-Benz on Catherine Street in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1964. Intending to buy a 190SL, instead he purchased this #1963 300SL Roadster, apparently the only one produced in this unusual but prepossessing shade of DB462 Tunis Beige metallic, that had been specially ordered for another client of the dealership who, in the end, took delivery of a different car. Its VIN indicates the chassis was built in late 1962, titled by Canadian authorities as a 1963 car and delivered to Arthur Dring, its first registered owner, in 1964.


    The story of the 300SL Gullwing and #Roadster has been well documented many times. The duo of road going 300SLs built upon the success of the legendary W194 300SL racing car, and both coupe and roadster were supercars of their era. They were informally marketed as race cars for the road, owing to their relationship to the #Mercedes W194 racers, especially true in the case of the gullwinged coupe. In roadster form, the 300SL could be said to be brutally elegant, and its classic exterior styling has stood the test of time exceptionally well and is reflected by the prices that well maintained and documented examples command when they change hands, especially at auction. This particular 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster is virtually 100 per cent original, with just 42,000 documented miles showing on its odometer at the time of its recent sale, which came about through an interesting set of circumstances.

    The tale starts with Tony Shooshani, a real estate investor and car nut living in Beverly Hills, California, and Craig Calder who operates FastCars Ltd in nearby Redondo Beach. For more than six months, starting in June 2010, the pair searched the world for an alloy block, disc brake 300SL. Their search located several cars, including a white/black car in Germany offered by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre. But in December 2010 a very interesting car popped up in an online search performed by Calder, a car that would become known as Goldie.


    This car was being presented by Robert Dening of Spirited Automobiles in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a dealer that works with the legendary restoration firm, Rudi & Company.

    Rudi is Rudi Koniczek, whose shop is located near Victoria, British Columbia. Known as one of the world’s foremost restorers of the 300SL, he was sought out by representatives of Mr Dring, now in his 80s, who was no longer able to handle his own financial affairs. Calder, knowing that the car would not stay unsold for long, contacted Shooshani, who told him to put down a deposit right away, based only on the online description and Koniczek’s reputation. This was in December 2010. The next month, they flew to Victoria to inspect the car and the deal was finalised. “We knew we had to act quickly,” said Shooshani. “We flew up on a Friday evening and looked over the car on Saturday. I had to immediately return to California, so Craig stayed an extra day, completing the inspection.

    “As soon as I saw the car I knew I would buy it,” Shooshani recalls. “I feel that a car has to talk to me before I buy it, and this car did. It was love at first sight. Looking at the car in Victoria I thought about how much I would enjoy having it in my garage, among my other cars, and sitting in it each night. The car exceeded my expectations in every way.”

    Once the roadster arrived in California, FastCars worked hard to bring it back to its factory fresh condition, maintaining originality the primary goal. It was not the intention to restore the SL to better-than-new condition. “We serviced and detailed the car,” explained Calder. “One of the things we did was fabricate a unique frame and crate system to keep the original soft and hardtops safe.”


    Shooshani, being an enthusiast collector, someone who feels that he is a custodian of history, has not kept Goldie locked away. He has enjoyed several long drives in this 300SL Roadster, including two from his home in Beverly Hills, up the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara, a round trip of 200 miles. “I’ve done it with the top up and with the top down,” he tells us.

    “The car is rock solid, a great touring car, perfect for the open road. In the summer of 2011, I did the Tour d’Elegance at Pebble Beach. The car is very smooth, even upwards of 90mph. While in Monterey, I did the famous 17-mile drive, drove it south to Big Sur and back to Monterey. In my mind the car is a work of art because it is unique, it’s priceless.” So now, the SL has 43,350 miles on the clock, more than 1,000 of which were added in the first nine months of 2011 alone!

    It is this roadster’s superb condition and the fact that everything is in perfect working order, that makes it such a dream drive for Shooshani. “Every time I take the car out, I turn on the radio,” he says. “The original power antenna raises every time, and the music comes on when the antenna is extended fully. I listen to the station that gives me the clearest signal. With the right music, it’s easy to imagine what it must have been like to drive Goldie when the car was brand new.” It is wonderful to know that a classic Mercedes of such stunning beauty and in such fabulous condition has been enjoyed – and is still being enjoyed. One of its most striking elements is the beguiling lustre of its rare paint. On this topic, Koniczek was able to share some interesting details.


    “The cars were originally painted with a nitrocellulose lacquer with no clear coat. This kind of paint, especially the metallics, dulled over time. We spoke with Art’s [Arthur Dring] neighbours who said he took the car back to Mercedes-Benz in North Vancouver at some point in the 1980s to have the paint restored.”

    I can’t help but wonder if Art and Mary Dring drove the car when they relocated from Montreal to Vancouver, British Columbia. If they did, they probably travelled the Trans-Canada Highway that spans Canada over two routes from St John’s in the east to Vancouver and Victoria on the Pacific coast. While many of us fantasise about driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster top down through the Alps, the Canadian Rockies, especially the Lake Louise region, would provide equally spectacular roads and scenery for a drive in a million.

    But then, in a classic Mercedes-Benz of this calibre, every drive is special, every journey a grand tour, the gently purring straight-six the perfect companion.

    Thank you to Rudi Koniczek at Rudi & Company Tel 00 11 1 250 727 6020 Web, Robert Dening at Spirited Automobiles Tel 00 11 1 250 532 6547 Web and Craig Calder of FastCars Ltd Tel 00 1 310 937 6700 Web for their help

    Secrets within

    A surprising discovery offers a glimpse into the past The paperwork trail of this 300SL Roadster was extensive. Quite possibly the most interesting document was found in the car’s glove box – a nearly new owner’s manual.
    We had noted there was no mention of firm Studebaker-Packard in any of the 300SL Roadster’s documentation. From 1958 to 1964, Mercedes-Benz automobiles were distributed in the United States by Studebaker-Packard. The lack of mention of Studebaker-Packard in any of the printed materials indicates that Mercedes-Benz vehicles from this era were imported to Canada through a separate sales and marketing organisation. Interesting!

    When we opened the owner’s manual, on its back page we found a fold-out map showing all the authorised Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets, including service only outlets. The map shows that many were in faraway and remote locations, demonstrating that even back then, #Mercedes-Benz went to great lengths to support owners of its cars, wherever they lived or travelled.

    One of its most striking elements is the beguiling lustre of its rare paint.
    The car is rock solid, a great touring car, perfect for the open road.
    As soon as I saw the car I knew I would buy it – it was love at first sight.
    This 300SL Roadster is virtually 100 per cent original, with just 42,000 miles on its odometer.

    JUST THE FACTS #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-M198 /

    Engine #M198 2,996cc 6-cyl
    Power 212bhp @ 5,800rpm
    Torque 203lb ft @ 4,600rpm
    Transmission 4-speed manual, RWD
    Weight 1,330kg
    0-62mph 10.0sec
    Top speed 155mph
    Fuel consumption 22.6mpg
    Years produced 1957-1963


    Presented three years after the coupe, the 300SL Roadster became an even greater sales success than its iconic, gullwing doored sibling Figures for car as pictured; fuel consumption determined at ¾ of top speed (not more than 110km/h, 68mph) plus 10 per cent; top speed depends on rear axle ratio.

    This now evocative, trademark design is seen on later SLs.
    The two-seat, red leather cabin has been used but not abused.
    The roadster’s rear suspension differs from that of the coupe.
    The Becker Mexico radio works well.
    The glove box lid with “300SL” script.
    The SL has recirculating ball steering.
    The M198 was Mercedes’ first fuel injected engine in a series produced car.
    All the 300SL ’s original tools are present and correct.
    The full size spare wheel is in ready to use condition.
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    COACHBUILT CLASSIC Mercedes-Benz 230SL #1963-Pininfarina-Coupe


    Five decades have been required to write this story. It involves one of the most iconic and best loved Mercedes-Benz models of the post-war era, a famous Italian design house, and one of the best known and most prolific automotive designers of our time.

    The car, the 1964 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pininfarina Coupe, has lived a chequered life, first as an attempt by Pininfarina to present a car to Mercedes-Benz for possible series production, then as a daily driver for West Germany’s answer to Rupert Murdoch, Axel Springer, through a succession of owners – and paint schemes and configurations – and finally to its current keepers, the Hook family, who have owned it since 1997.

    Weston Hook worked with one of the world’s foremost Mercedes-Benz restoration experts, Hjeltness Restoration in Southern California, to return it to its original splendour. For this story to make sense, one needs to travel back in time to 1963, when at that year’s Geneva motor show Mercedes-Benz introduced the #Mercedes-Benz-SL-Pagoda-W113 230SL, a replacement for both the 190SL and 300SL. It was an immediate hit and over the course of two increases in engine capacity, for the 250SL and 280SL, 48,912 W113s were produced, of which 19,440 were sold in North America.

    The new car caught the attention of the Italian Pininfarina design house, which with an eye on a possible production contract set about improving on what many saw as the perfection of the original Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi shape. Pininfarina assigned the design to a young American, Tom Tjaarda. The son of John Tjaarda, responsible for the design of the aerodynamic 1936 Lincoln Zephyr, he had worked for Ghia before moving to #Pininfarina in 1962, where his first project was a coupe version of the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair.

    Looking back more than 50 years, here’s what Tjaarda remembers about the development of the fixed-roof version of the 230SL. “The exact date of the Mercedes project I cannot recall, but I think it would be some time in 1963. I remember that it was going to be an attempt by Pininfarina to work together on an important project with Mercedes. The scope was to design a special version of the 230SL in such a way that it could be put into production at the Pininfarina factory. For that reason there were many carry-over components such as the interior fittings, the front end, the headlights and some other elements.

    “When working on this design it never crossed my mind that I was putting my stamp on a breakthrough design – we were working on a special version of the 230SL, and so it had to be recognisable as such. I remember starting out from the headlight design and integrating the crease of the fender line so that it looked different but at the same time nothing radical. The side view, and especially the rear, were the parts that set the design off from the production version. It was just enough to make the car look different, and perhaps more ‘Italian’ and more elegant.”

    When asked who made the decision to have a fixed-roof coupe configuration, a departure from the removable hardtop of the production version, Tjaarda said those decisions were always made by Sergio Pininfarina and the company’s CEO, Renzo Carli. He said that the prototype was built in-house and constructed over a cut-up 230 SL.

    “The basic car was taken apart and the bodywork cut away where we would be doing the modifications,” Tjaarda recalls. “Once I had done the drawings of the modifications, I was no longer involved with the project, and everything just went ahead in the workshop. I was put on another task, and really saw the car only a few times during its construction phase.”

    One thing he does remember very clearly was that Pininfarina was keen to approach Mercedes-Benz regarding the possibility of production. “He worked hard to convince the Mercedes-Benz directors to establish a cooperation and set up a production programme in the Pininfarina factory,” Tjaarda reveals. “After numerous attempts, it became clear that this was not going to happen, so the car remained a one off.”

    After the car was completed and it was obvious that there was no production potential, it was sold to West German publishing magnate Axel Springer. Over the years the car had a succession of owners, mostly in America, and during the 1980s it became known to Jerry Hjeltness of Hjeltness Restoration at an event in Palm Springs, California. At the time the car was painted black and had a red interior, and wore modern Mercedes- Benz cast aluminum wheels. It was subsequently painted red by its next owner, and the interior was refinished in tan leather, the original colour.

    Then in the mid-1990s it caught the attention of Weston Hook, a noted American collector. In the years before buying it in 1997, Weston talked with Jerry several times about acquiring the car for his collection. Jerry had said to Weston, “In red it doesn’t do anything for me.”

    A few weeks later Weston called again, telling Jerry he’d bought the car and that it was already accepted for Pebble Beach that year (12 weeks away), as there was a Tom Tjaarda Class, and could Jerry polish it and get it ready for this high-profile classic event? The red paint job was one you would find on a used car, and the Mercedes was, charitably, in less than concours condition, Jerry thought.

    When the car arrived at Hjeltness Restoration, Jerry gave Weston an honest appraisal of the situation. “We could try to polish this out, but the paint was bubbling,” he told him. “The underside is painted black, and if the judges lean down and look at the underside they will laugh.”

    Initially Weston wanted the car repainted red, but after locating photos of it as exhibited in Paris in 1964, in silver, he decided to have it returned it to its original 1964 configuration. And Jerry thought the car’s lines worked exceptionally well in silver. So with Pebble Beach closing in, all other work at Hjeltness Restoration halted as the crew concentrated on the Pininfarina coupe. Jerry’s son Eric, who works side by side with his father, recalls that the car was completed and ready in just 11 weeks.

    Eric explained that the car was not taken back to the original sheet metal, but was sanded down to almost that point. While preparing the car, Eric discovered that when it first came to Pininfarina from the factory, it was finished in white. “There were several levels of paint, black and red, where we prepped the car,” he says. “We also found filler in many places. Don’t forget Michelangelo was a sculptor, also Italian, right? Pininfarina used filler, I am sure.”

    Eric also observed that when the car was exhibited in Paris in 1964 it had side marker lights from a Ferrari from that period. “The holes were filled, but it was easy to see the original locations when the body was ‘taken down’ for its new silver paint.”

    One of the first things Jerry noticed was that the Mercedes had a Plexiglas windshield, that had been installed before its previous Pebble Beach display. “The restorer at the time, who painted the car red, apparently had broken the windshield during the restoration,” he speculates.

    Jerry had a unique solution to the windshield problem. At the time, Chrysler had an advanced design centre in nearby Carlsbad, and Jerry had a friend there. “I had him come over and we pulled a plaster of Paris mould off of the existing Plexiglas windshield – then I had a shop up in Long Beach make a glass windshield.”

    Thankfully the interior was mostly correct but the aluminum kick panels, with their fine etchings, were in less than perfect shape. To recreate the kick panels Jerry made a tool to properly duplicate the originals. When looking at the 1964 Paris photos Weston noted a unique licence-plate frame, and insisted Jerry duplicate it, even though it was missing from the car. Jerry told Weston there wasn’t enough time, but as the restoration had gone without major complications, he attempted to replicate the frame, using the 1964 pictures, Weston had. With these photos Jerry was able to get very accurate measurements.

    One particular memory from the car’s 1997 Pebble Beach appearance is worth airing. Jerry recalls that someone with a German accent walked up to it and said, “Here’s the car. We thought it was lost.” The German apparently worked for Axel Springer. A week later, he called Hjeltness Restoration and arranged to have the car photographed, and it appeared in 1998 in Auto Bild magazine in Germany.

    In the time since its 1997 appearance at Pebble Beach the car has been displayed at a number of events, and is a hit whenever it goes. It remains an enduring legacy to the preservation efforts of Weston Hook, who sadly died eight years ago, leaving his wife, Elona, and son, Russell its custodians. It’s one of the cornerstones of a sizeable collection of cars, and stands at an intersection of Mercedes-Benz, Pininfarina, and a young American designer, Tom Tjaarda, who would leave his mark on more than 80 additional vehicles.


    TOP Square tailed #W113 has a good sized boot though the spare reduces space.
    ABOVE Fuel filler, normally behind the number place, was moved to inside the boot.
    ABOVE LEFT In 1997, at Pebble Beach, Tom Tjaarda was reunited with the car and signed it.
    ABOVE The #Mercedes-Benz-230SL Coupe as seen in Pininfarina’s publicity photos when it was built.
    ABOVE RIGHT A slightly later shot – the interior shade is probably distorted in this old print.
    ABOVE FAR LEFT Pagoda fascia one of the best looking Mercedes has made.
    ABOVE LEFT The classic, original Becker Mexico radio is still in place.
    ABOVE This SL was delivered with the optional four-speed automatic.
    ABOVE LEFT From this view you can see how slim Pininfarina’s rear pillars are on the #Pagoda .
    ABOVE FAR LEFT No changes were made to the engine, the 2.3-litre #M127 six producing 148bhp.
    TOP LEFT Tan is the original colour, but in the car’s past life the seats have been red.
    ABOVE Tom Tjaarda, the American stylist who worked on the Coupe project back in ’1963.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1963 / #Mercedes-Benz-230SL-Pininfarina-Coupe-W113 / #Mercedes-Benz-230SL-Pininfarina-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-230SL-Pininfarina-W113 / #Mercedes-Benz-230SL-W113 / #Mercedes-Benz-W113 / #Pininfarina-Coupe-W113 / #Mercedes-Benz-Pininfarina / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-Pininfarina-Coupe / #Pininfarina / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-M127 /

    Engine #M127 2,306cc, 6-cyl in-line
    Power 148bhp @ 5,500rpm
    Torque 145lb ft @ 4,200rpm
    Transmission 4-speed automatic
    Weight 1,295kg
    0-62mph 10.7sec
    Top speed 122mph
    Fuel consumption 27.7mpg
    Built #1963
    Number built 1
    All figures from #Mercedes - Benz , for a standard production 230SL
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    The original #Aston-Martin-DB4-GT was built between #1959 and #1963 / with eight of the original 75 in special lightweight form. Aston Martin has now announced it will build a further 25 lightweight cars, to original specification, each with 340bhp from their twin-spark straight-six engines. Production will commence in late 2017. It’s clearly the latest fashion: Jaguar, Lister and Shelby have all created continuation cars in recent years. McLaren F1 continuation model, anyone? #Aston-Martin-DB4 / #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-DB4-GT-Lightweight /
    • No spurious 'lost' chassis numbers or factory fire mythology then. Just a pure profit motive. Ferrari must be looking at the auction prices of their bNo spurious 'lost' chassis numbers or factory fire mythology then. Just a pure profit motive. Ferrari must be looking at the auction prices of their back catalogue and considering the same thing. 250 'continuation' 250 GTOs anyone? And sod the authenticity.  More ...
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    It’s not often you see a #Jaguar with a supercharged #V8 sticking out of the bonnet. Well here’s two of them!

    Shotgun Wedding

    In the average wedding car, you’d be lounging in the back in the swells of loved-up marital bliss. But these big cats would definitely have you calling shotgun… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Ben Hosking.

    “What is a wedding? Well, Webster’s Dictionary describes a wedding as: the process of removing weeds from one’s garden.” So said Homer Simpson in the iconic 1994 episode ‘Secrets of a Successful Marriage’. Inspiring stuff.

    Weddings, it goes without saying, are hard. Months of preparation, agonising over seating plans and the family politics of who you can and can’t invite without causing awkward tension and a cessation of future Christmas cards, grappling with suppliers who double the cost of everything simply because you’ve prefixed each item with ‘wedding’ (seriously, ‘wedding napkins’ are just napkins that happen to be at a wedding)… it’s enough to age you ten years in one. The honeymoon comes as a blessed relief simply because it’s a chance not to spend every evening doing bloody wedmin.

    For people like us, of course, there’s an extra level of stress and jeopardy: what do you go for in terms of wedding transportation? For the average couple it’s easy enough to just get on the blower to Rent-a-Roller and rock up in a Silver Shadow, job done – but if you spend every day with engine oil under your fingernails and squinting through arc-eye, you need something a bit more eye-catching.

    Something with a story. And that’s where Fat Cat Classics come in – at least, for residents of New South Wales, Australia. This is your one-stop shop for a badass wedding convoy; they’ve got a fleet of three matching Jaguars jam-packed full of shock-and-awe mischief and rumbling horsepower. You see them here bunched together in the workshop of Sydney’s Forza Performance, but this is an aggressive trio that loves nothing more than a blast on the open road, vying for tarmac-troubling supremacy as they each deploy sodding great gobs of torque. Sure, they’ll get the blushing bride to the church on time, but they’ll frighten the life out of her on the way there. Which, naturally, should set a precedent for the rest of the marriage.

    You’ll spot that there are three cars in the package, each resplendent in shimmering silver paint and lipstick red interiors. There’s a 1963 Mark X, a 1971 XJ12, and a more modern S-Type – we’ll swerve the latter for the sake of keeping this spotlight squarely focused on the Retro Cars heartland, and take you on a journey in the former pair, each one eager to ruck up your suit and do unseemly things to your cummerbund.

    …but before we do, let’s take a little look at their respective personas. You see, these cars have names, and names always carry weight; the Mark X is named Elizabeth, and you may call the XJ12 Marilyn. As you’ve no doubt deduced, this refers to the classic celebrity rivalry of the late 1950s and early ’60s, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. While history ultimately seems to have handed Monroe the trophy, it was Taylor who was winning the race for column inches, and her bank balance was pretty healthy too – she was earning $1m a movie while Marilyn was taking home $100k. It’s the classic tale of the eager up-and- comer in the shadow of established royalty, with both parties actually being enormously jealous of one another’s assets. And so the rivalry rages in the Fat Cat garage.

    Elizabeth is imposing enough to immediately position herself as top cat here. The perky billet 8/71 supercharger poking through the savaged bonnet acts as a psiren song, an irresistible lure toward the danger within.

    “The engine swap was easily the hardest part of the build,” says Fat Cat’s Sean Carolan. “We had to re-engineer the whole front end.” Indeed, with the Jag’s original motor swapped out for a meaty small block Chevy V8 – 6.3-litres, no less – you can imagine just what sort of upheaval was required. The floorpans were reconfigured, transmission tunnel reworked, and firewall modified to make room for the vast new powertrain. An XJ12 independent rear end sits out back to help deploy the growling fury of it all, ensuring that the engineering project wasn’t just confined to the car’s leading edge, and there’s a feel of solidity and dependability throughout the chassis. And that’s just as well really, as the last thing you want is your wedding car breaking down. “We made the decision to keep the power at a moderate level, to ensure that there were no annoying breakdowns or overheating when getting the bridal party to the chapel,” Sean explains. “As such, Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we changed our minds!”

    The natural balance to be reached here is that, no matter how powerful or extreme a wedding car may be, it must always be luxuriously appointed. No bride wants her five-grand dress being creased by a set of aggressive Takata harnesses or snagged on an exposed door innard. So Elizabeth’s interior has been artfully trimmed in fi nest scarlet leather – a hide plucked from the Aston Martin menu, no less. The carpets and headlining wear a similarly bright shade, with the overall vista being one of classic, timeless elegance. Well, until you peer over the chauffeur’s shoulder and spot that gargantuan blower poking out of the front, that is.

    What of Marilyn, then? Is she a shrinking violet, in the thrall of the ruler of the roost? No, not a bit of it. Let’s not forget that Marilyn Monroe was a bit of a firecracker, and seldom happy to stand in another’s shadow. The logic of the respective names does falter somewhat when we look at linear chronology (Taylor was some years younger than Monroe, whereas the Marilyn Jaguar is the younger car here), but their positions make sense. The Mark X is the bigger, brasher, more imposing car, but the XJ12 snaps at its heels like a snarling puppy. The 1971 Series 1 was in fact born of a ten-day whirlwind of workshop activity in the run-up to Sean’s own marriage to his partner-in- crime Leigh. “We built Marilyn on a very tight timeline,” he says. “It was created from a rolling shell in just ten days, it was very intense – we were still working on it at 2am on the day of the ceremony. I was one tired groom!” Hey, it’s all about priorities, isn’t it? And if your wedding car is your business, you can’t show up in a half-finished motor. Particularly when your other car is so flawless.

    You can see that the aesthetic is neatly carried over to the ’71; both cars wear the same 20in Vertini wheels and the same shade of silver paint, along with that shockingly red interior treatment with its old-school wood accents. They also share an absolute disregard for any semblance of subtlety when it comes to poking shiny slabs of mechanical equipment through the bonnet, and the XJ12 is also no slouch. Sean’s looking at the thick end of 420hp at the rear wheels, which should ensure that the bride’s mother arrives at the church sideways, screaming in terror and choking on acrid tyresmoke. In deference to her big sister, Marilyn wears just the one carb instead of two and a smaller blower, but the numbers still aren’t to be sniffed at. It’s more about hierarchy than compromise.

    “If I had my time over again, I think I would have put a bigger supercharger on Marilyn,” says Sean thoughtfully, scratching his chin as he considers the implications. “In fact, I think I would have built both with injected setups instead of the carbs…” You can see the way his mind’s working, can’t you? These cars aren’t just built as static showpieces; they’re workhorses of course, but evolving ones. Work also happens to be pleasure here, and you can’t stop a man like this from playing with his toys. There are always treasons, stratagems, and spoils afoot. You can be pretty sure that if and when you were to see these cars again, they’d be subtly different – or perhaps, as befits their nature, not so subtle…

    The act of planning a wedding is never going to run smoothly, but if you’re aiming to get married in the vicinity of this fleet of raucous Jags, that can at least be one major box ticked off the list. And if you need help with the rest of the planning, just remember the wisdomous advice that Homer Simpson had to offer on the subject: “That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!”

    Oh wait, no, not that. Er… “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” There you go. The Simpsons always offer a solution.

    SPECIFICATION #1971 / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1 (MARILYN) / #Jaguar-XJ12 / #Jaguar-XJ-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1-Marilyn /

    ENGINE: 400ci (6.6-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 #V8 , 4-bolt mains, 4in stroke Scat crank, Scat H-beam rods, Probe forged 8.9:1 pistons, Clevite bearings, ARP head and mains studs, ported alloy heads, Isky springs and retainers, Cam Tech custom solid cam, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster doublerow timing chain, Melling oil pump, 750cfm Barry Grant carb, 4/71 #GM supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley fuel pump, custom 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in mild steel exhaust, X-pipe, 420rwhp

    TRANSMISSION: T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, Jaguar XJ12 LSD, custom tailshaft

    SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
    BRAKES: Series 3 front brakes, stock rears
    WHEELS & TYRES: 8.5x20in Vertini wheels
    INTERIOR: Momo steering wheel, Recaro front seats, red leather trim, Hurst shifter, red carpets, red headlining, satnav, Pioneer stereo, Autometer gauges
    EXTERIOR: Stock restored XJ12, bonnet cutout

    SPECIFICATION #1963 / #Jaguar-Mark-X (ELIZABETH) / JAGUAR MARK X / #Jaguar-MkX / #Jaguar-Mk10 / #Jaguar-MkX-Elizabeth /

    ENGINE: 383ci (6.3-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 / #GM-V8 / #GM , Scat 3.750” crank, 4-bolt mains, #Scat H-beam rods, Probe blower 8.8:1 pistons, moly rings, #Clevite bearings, #ARP head and mains studs, ported cast heads, #Cam-Tech hydraulic roller cam, Crower lifters, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster double row timing chain, Melling oil pump, HE sump, #B&M oil cooler, Edelbrock water pump, XR6 thermo fan and radiator, 120A alternator, custom billet pulleys, 2x 750cfm #Demon carbs, TBS 8/71 supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley Black fuel pump, block hugger pipes, twin 3” exhaust, custom X-pipe, 450rwhp
    TRANSMISSION: #GM-T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, #Jaguar XJ12 diff , LSD, custom 2-piece tailshaft
    SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
    BRAKES: Factory #Jaguar twin-piston calipers
    WHEELS: 8.5x20in (front) and 10x20in (rear) Vertini wheels
    INTERIOR: Custom Aston Martin red leather trim, Hurst shifter, Autometer gauges, red carpets, red headlining, Pioneer head unit, power amp and speakers
    EXTERIOR: Stock restored Mark X, bonnet cutout

    “Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we ever decided to change our minds”
    How many wedding cars do you know of where the engine sticks through the bonnet! Christ, it’s enough to make you want to get married!
    At the time of its launch the XJ12 was claimed to be “the fastest full four-seater in the world”. With a #Chevy-V8 it’s now even faster! #Jaguar-S-Type isn’t really retro Cars fodder, but it completes the Jag trio nicely.
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