Bodywork restoration

A special assembly frame or conductor was prepared for transportation and treatment of the body, to which the renewable body was subsequently fastened.

Given that during the course of restoration, corroded fragments will be cut out of the body, including the parts fastening the body constructions such as threshold beams and rear longeron fragments, this assembly frame will help to preserve the body's original geometric parameters throughout the course of repairs .

Mercedes 300 d cleaned original frameAfter the body had been completely taken apart, all its parts were cleaned of rust using a sand blaster. Likewise, rust was removed from the car's frame, in regard to which no new defects were detected after this process. In turn, in cleaning the car's body and its assembly parts with a sand blaster, significant new corrosion damage was discovered, as well as places on the body which had been subjected to inferior quality repairs which it was not possible to spot during the initial cycle of visual defect detection. 

Mercedes 300 d detail Metal strips had been welded onto the rear door columns above the corroded wheel arcs. In combination with a layer of putty, these strips were the reason why the rear doors would become wedged after they had been closed. After cleaning the doors themselves, it became clear that the underside flaps of all four doors were corroded and they would have to be replaced by new ones. The inner panels of the left side front door would also need to be replaced, because their mid-section was completely corroded. The frontal wings were in very poor condition - upon cleaning a layer of epoxy resin, it became clear that the frontal wing section around the places where the headlamps were fastened was completely corroded and that it was held together by variously sized metal strips which had been welded on. Moreover, the left wing was deformed and needed to be straightened and levelled using tin plating.

Mercedes 300 d wing frame fastening Mercedes 300 d wing lamp before restorationIn places the flaps fastening the wings were so powerfully corroded that whole new sectors would need to be welded. The upper front wing headlamp fastenings were also corroded which would need to be replaced by new ones that we would weld on in place of the completely corroded fragments. 

Mercedes 300 d front right wing fastening before resorationThe bottom of the right hand side front wing fastening part was cracked and a poorly executed repair job was visible along with an untreated section of welding which fell apart whilst being treated for rust, revealing the true scale of the defect. 

Mercedes Benz 300 d restoration process body Mercedes Benz 300 d body detail restoration processIndividual sections of threshold covering plates would also have to be replaced with new metal. At this point, we had completed our defect detection in regard to the body and had drawn up a restoration job plan. The front part of the body, not counting the wings, had been preserved in quite good condition, but many internal body parts were corroded in the rear - inner wing parts (particularly on the left hand side), rear longerons (lower section), baggage compartment frontal wall and, of course, also the spare wheel pocket. 

 Mercedes Benz 300 d door aperture before restoration On both corroded sides of the body, carelessly repaired rear door columns were also evident which stylistically overlapped with the wheel arc section. 

To access the body's original base metal, it was necessary to carefully and gently remove all the "plasters" which had been carelessly welded on to cover corroded spots. 

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to order all the original body parts for MERCEDES-BENZ models of this vintage. Therefore, restoration would have to be carried out by producing the missing elements on site in the workshop. The only part that we succeeded in ordering was the profile for the spare wheel pocket in the baggage compartment. 

Body repairs commenced with replacement of the left hand side threshold part, starting from the central section of the threshold.
"Opening" or cutting open the threshold, it became evident that the inner surface of the threshold's case type profile had not been protected in any way against corrosion during the original production process - "naked" metal without any conservation material was visible in the best preserved section of the upper part of the profile. 

Even though it looked better from the outside, the rear part of the threshold which connected with the wheel arc was so badly corroded in areas where several steel plates had been welded together that totally corroded sections of parts would need to be replaced. 

Thus it was discovered that in spite of original visual impression which suggested the contrary, the actual condition of the body was quite poor. A decision was made that instead of producing individual brand new threshold fragments, the entire underside profile of the left hand side threshold would need to be replaced with a new one. 

Mercedes 300 d frameIn removing the thresholds, traces of corrosion were also visible on the inner surface of cross beam. Moreover, the cross beams were partly filled in with various debris. After they had been cleaned, the inner surfaces were prepared and, prior to the performance of further work, covered with a special protective coating. 

The rigid rods in the thresholds are produced from denser metal and were in satisfactory condition - they were preserved in their original condition. To preserve the body's geometric dimensions, additional fastening modules would also need to be produced which would consolidate the body treatment conductor produced beforehand. 

After renovation of the threshold beam had been completed, the rear doors were put in place and the accuracy of welding work was tested. The corroded front part of the rear wing which can be seen in the interior was also renovated.    

The bottom section of the rear door column was renewed. The restored threshold side panel was put into place and the alignment of all the door apertures and their conformity to the original parameters was checked.  

  Restoration of the front wings was begun. Corroded and poorly repaired segments of the headlamp fastenings were cut out and replaced by new components produced to match the originals. After welding on the renovated fragments, the surfaces were tin-plated, ensuring the precise conformity of surface forms. Other wing areas damaged by corrosion were also restored. 

To check the quality of the restoration work on the left hand side, it was necessary to install all mutually connected components - wings, threshold covering plates and doors. To do this, it was necessary to place the renovated body on a frame. When the correspondence of the completed restoration works to the original equivalent had been checked, replacement and repairs to the damaged door parts could begin. 

The underside surface of virtually all the door casements, as well as the dense rubber fastening profiles of the doors were corroded. These sections were newly produced and welded on in place of the cut out fragments. Afterwards, the renovated surfaces were tin-plated. A new fragment was also produced and welded onto a corroded section of inner rear door panel. 

When the renovation of the doors was complete, they were once again fastened onto the body in order to check the door alignment and accuracy of the restoration. To obtain as accurate test results as possible, all the corresponding decorative elements were also put into place which to a large degree determines the overall appearance of the ready car. Corrections were made in the necessary places, refining or tin-plating the surfaces until the perfect correspondence of components had been achieved. 

When the restoration of the left hand side of the body was complete, work began on the restoration of the right hand side of the car. It transpired that the threshold casement and related elements on this side were in even worse condition than those of the left hand side. All irreparably damaged elements were cut off and production of their replacements was begun.  

Renovation of the right hand side front wing was completed. To carry out a check of the alignment of the restored win, the wing was inserted into its place on the body. 

New threshold casement profiles were produced corresponding to the original construction. Original or renewable threshold elements were used in the work as much as possible. Before welding, the inner surfaces of the threshold profile were prepared and covered with a protective coating. 

All traces of corrosion were cleaned from the open cross beams and the inner surfaces of these components also underwent anti-corrosion treatment. The bottom part of the threshold casement was fastened onto the corresponding place on the frame. 

Repairs to the cross beam were complete by welding the prepared upper section into place and welding it to the renewed cross profiles. 

The load bearing body structure which connects the cross beam to the door column, interior floor and rear wing was renovated. Produced parts were welded into the corresponding places. Surfaces that would not be accessible after parts had been welded on were treated in advance and covered with a protective coating. 

After components had been welded, all seams were smoothed and, where necessary, tin-plated, thus ensuring that the renewed element matched the original . 

A corresponding fragment was prepared for insertion during repairs to the corroded area of the rear seat base. The seams were refined after welding. 

Missing wheel arc elements were produced to match the original structure, and were subsequently welded into the corresponding places. Surfaces which would not be accessible after welding were prepared and primed with a special protective coating. 

Renovation of the rear wing inner sections was completed. Renovation of the door column form was completed on the other side of the welded unit. After welding, the seams were refined and, where necessary, tin-plated. To check their alignment, the doors were put into place and the necessary corrections to renovated components were made.

Restoration of the frontal section of the threshold casement was completed at which point renovation of the threshold covering plate began. The covering plate was straightened and tin-plated in places less affected by corrosion. 

  It turned out that the central section of the threshold covering plate was badly damaged and would need to be renovated, welding on a new segment. After welding, seams were refined and tin-plated. 

After tin-plating drill holes were created to fasten the decorative fittings. The covering plate was affixed in the specified place and the correspondence of the components was checked at the same time. As is often the case, minor corrections to the forms of renovated components had to be made in order to adapt brand new components precisely. 

When the restoration and alignment of the other body components had been completed, repairs to the doors began. We discovered that due to the inadequate treatment of the repaired areas, these carelessly executed repairs to the "Adenauer" had only compounded the corrosion process. Just as was the case with the left side doors, the undersides of the doors on the right hand side, as well as the dense rubber fastening profiles were also corroded. The external surface of the doors was also damaged and would need to be replaced in individual places. 

Damaged areas were cut out and new corresponding door components were prepared to replace them. After welding and alignment checks, the seams were refined and tin-plated. 

  The restoration process on the other right side door was similar. After renovating the bottom edge of the door, the dense rubber fastening profile which had been prepared to match the original form was welded on. The doors were put in place and the apertures were checked and adjusted to ensure the consistency of their dimensions. 

After the removal of the old paint, it immediately became clear that the rear doors had been damaged in an accident and that the ensuing repairs had been carried out carelessly. After repeated welding of the bottom edge of the doors, mechanical repairs were carried out to the areas damaged in the aforementioned crash, and were completed with the performance of tin-plating. 

As usual after tin-plating, surface refinement was conducted until the door panel regained its original form. The formerly corroded, but now renovated area of the door column was also tin-plated and refined. The alignment of the doors and the column, as well as the consistency of the aperture dimensions were monitored during the course of this work. 

Renovation of corroded body areas in the rear wing fastenings was commenced during the subsequent restoration process. This area is made up of several metal layers welded onto one another. Therefore each layer was individually renewed in line with the original, and ultimately welded together. Thus, a structure completely matching the original was obtained. The only difference now from the original is that before welding, debris was removed from the hidden cavities which were then covered with a protective coating to protect them against corrosion. 

It was now the turn of the baggage compartment to undergo restoration. Since the floor of the baggage compartment had been deformed during transportation and the spare wheel pocket and instrument pocket were corroded, these components were removed. This made access to the replaceable baggage compartment front wall and the rust damaged side walls easier, particularly on the left hand side. The baggage compartment floor was straightened and renovated, but it was necessary to order new pockets for the spare wheel and instruments. 

Renovation of the left side baggage compartment panel which concurrently serves as an inner wing was commenced. The panel itself was completely corroded along with the fastening profiles welded to it on both sides. Firstly, new fastening profiles were prepared which corresponded to the originals. These profiles were adapted to the corresponding places and prepared for welding. 

The rear section of the baggage compartment contained several hidden cavities which had never undergone anti-corrosion treatment. To prevent further corrosion, prior to welding on new components, these cavities were cut open and their inner surfaces were subjected to anti-corrosion treatment. 

The front wall of the baggage compartment was produced to match the original which was then inserted in the specified place. Thereafter, it was possible to carry out work on the renovation of the side walls. 

Original Mercedes-Benz 300d tool boxThe original spare body parts which had been ordered now arrived in the form of the spare wheel pocket and the instrument storage pocket. However, upon receiving the parts from the German supplier, it turned out that the geometric dimensions were not as accurate as was desirable. This meant that RMW had to perform additional alignment of these components to the body undergoing restoration.

Renovation work began on adapting the new body parts received from Germany to the parts renovated in Riga - the new side plate, baggage compartment floor and rear cross beam. Before welding, residual paint from transportation was removed from the parts which had been received. 

A new side outlet was prepared in line with the original and welded into the corresponding place. After welding, the seams underwent refinement and tin-plating. 

The corroded ends of the front bumper covering plates were renovated. The rear bumper covering plate was straightened and put in place ready to undergo a geometry and alignment test. The prepared baggage compartment and engine covers were installed in readiness for the subsequent alignment check. 

Decorative external fittings were fastened into the designated places, along with the door regulators and subjected to a compatibility test, regulating the condition of the doors and other elements, and, if necessary, correcting their form. The equal and consistent width of the engine and baggage compartments, as well as the door column apertures was adjusted as required. 

The form of previously damaged components was corrected, attaining surface lines and their transitions matching the original. Thus, the flattened surfaces of both front wings above the wheel arcs were also corrected, along with dents to the surfaces of the left side doors and rear wing. 

Preparation of the body to be dispatched for painting continued. The form of all damaged external surfaces was repaired, so that they correspond to the original design. The front wings were repaired and aligned, while the original arc form was renovated. After the completion of work, in the opinion of RMW's restorers the results of this work were exemplary. 

The condition of external surfaces around the existing drill holes and other places typically affected by corrosion were checked. Everywhere, where this was required, the surfaces were levelled out using tin-plating. 

A corroded fastening rod on the interior floor next to the driver's seat was replaced. Likewise, a new cable fastening channel was produced to replace the existing corroded component. 

1958 Mercedes Benz 300d front wing restored Mercedes Benz 300d rear bumper restoration Mercedes Benz 300d rear restoredAll exterior decorative elements were fixed on the body and their compliance with the restored bodywork structure was checked. Necessary corrections were made.

Mercedes Benz 300d body restoration process Mercedes Benz 300d left rear wing restoration processBefore sending to the paint workshop, the body was completely disassembled and all restoring components underwent treatment in the sand blast chamber in order to receive even surface structure and better adhesion of the base coating.

Mercedes Benz 300d rear restoration process Mercedes Benz 300d front left wing resoration process Mercedes Benz 300d hood restoration processBody and the components taken off it after the treatment have been immediately coated with the base coating. Thereafter a layer of filling-up was applied during the further processing and finished to achieve the necessary quality of the surface.

Mercedes-Benz 300d 1958 body paintwork Mercedes-Benz 300d 1958 body freshly paintedPainted body was delivered from paintshop. All other removed from the body components - doors, front and rear wings, hood - were also painted and returned to RMW workshop.  

Mercedes-Benz 300d 1958 painted floorOuter surfaces of the body were painted and lacquered, but internal areas and bottom were painted black. Frame of the chassis was also painted.

Mercedes-Benz 300d 1958 painted chassis Mercedes-Benz 300d 1958 body and chassis paintedWe were going to take part at annual world fair Techno Classica Essen and present to the visitors, classic car enthusiasts quality of our work. We produced special basement frame for this purpose and installed our restored frame onto it. Restored body and all painted body components were assembled onto the frame.

Painted and varnished body shell and other body components were installed onto painted frame and attached to the dedicated transport rig and put to the storage till further instructions on restoration course from the owner.

We straightened damaged rear panel of the body.

Cracks of the rear panel were soldered before it was painted.

We tested compatibility of luggage compartment hatches.

Removable rear end components were attached to the body.

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