Rally Car To Be: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230S 4-Speed
Don’t get all excited because he’s not for sale. Meet The Colonel. He’s our 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230S Rally Car Tribute to be. We have fond memories of these old S-Klasse sedans. My Uncle Eugene had one when everyone else in the family drove Caddies. Not my parents but everyone else. They make great vintage rally cars because they are relatively inexpensive to buy, pretty expensive to get ready to rumble yet fun, comfortable and reliable. We’re fans of BaT and they have a really nice build. Unlike theirs, ours will remain mechanically unmodified. So what’s with The Colonel you ask? Well, we love cars with stories. The 230S was purchased by a US Army Colonel stationed in Brussels. It is a European specification model with those gorgeous headlamps (5 bulbs in each lamp). He was transferred to Puerto Rico briefly and shipped the Mercedes with him. From there, he went to Seattle. It stayed in the family until 2 years ago when a M-B fan purchased him and promptly left for Europe for 9 months. He sat with fuel putrefying in the gas tank. We found him on eBay and 2 weeks later, he arrived at our first stage shop, Auto Turismo Sport, to get him road worthy again. We are 3 weeks in and we still haven’t had the pleasure of a long drive. The gas tank had to be removed, boiled and re-lined and the entire fuel system cleaned. We added an electronic ignition, all new filters, a complete fluid/lubrication change to benchmark it. The shipper destroyed the rear shocks but that gave us the opportunity to get a set of adjustable Konis. The front end has been totally rebuilt and new subframe mounts installed. We restored the Becker Grand Prix to working condition (added iPod adapter), repaired the clock (it should work) and refinished the wood dashboard. We even found a NOS dome light to replace the broken one. You can’t find decent 13″ tires anymore so we upgraded to 14″. Luckily we found a local M-B dismantler who had a rare set of aluminum rims that weigh less than half of the steelies and look pretty much the same. We’ll be running without wheel covers so they will have to be stripped and painted. Next week, when all this busy stuff is complete and tested, we’ll move to the shop run by well known race car mechanic, John Rogers. John is a story all by himself. Now, proudly retired, he’s offered his expertise and his shop to assist in fabricating brackets for rally lights, a new dash panel for switches and maybe some magic potion to make him go faster. John, BTW, is one of the few mechanics (if there are others, we don’t really know) in the US to restore a Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix car. He worked for well known collector/racer/entrepreneur, Joel Finn, who owned W154 also known as Wagen 7. So The Colonel is in very good hands. More later.