On 16 February 2007 the red Mercedes Benz 190 SL was collected in Riga. The first personal inspection led to the conclusion that the effect of the online pictures had been deceptive and in reality the car’s condition was much worse than anticipated. At least the bodywork definitely was. At the same time, the set of equipment exceeded expectations.
Although the engine compartment seemed to have a complete set of equipment, one could see at a glance that the carburettors were not original, the intake manifold had been rebuilt and some other modifications which differed from the original had been made. Ignition timer cap looked new and the battery was in its place. However it turned out that the motor would not start. Probably, the long downtime period had caused the pistons to corrode. A more accurate damage diagnosis would be possible only after disassembly
The personal inspection of the interior not only revealed the damages to the parts caused by wear and by time but also several careless modifications distancing the car from its original state. For instance, the radio was from a different Mercedes Benz 190 SL model.
We have begun the disassembly of the red Mercedes Benz 190 SL. The car will have to be completely disassembled to check each part, find the defects, define the scope of restoration works and list the irreparable and missing parts.
We started the disassembly by removing the door trimmings.
Having removed the door trimming we found that the door internal mechanisms – the window lifters, door lock, and other parts – were a complete set and in quite good condition. They needed treatment and painting. The aluminium doors themselves were in a relatively good condition. Only the paint and lacquer were damaged. It was possible that removing the paint would reveal scratches and minor deformations, but the defects would most likely be small.
In contrast, the boot compartment was a disastrous sight. The boot floor had almost completely corroded and actually disintegrated. It was difficult to notice in the picture, however the coat of light paint was not covering any metal but several layers of filler and pieces of metal rust.
We have removed the boot lid. Like the door it was made of aluminium, and its condition was quite good in contrast to that of the luggage compartment, which was very poor. Chrome tri-point Mercedes star emblem and the letters of the writing underneath have suffered from corrosion. These parts must be treated and galvanized anew.
We have removed the folding roof frame. All the parts are present and are generally in good condition. However, the frame must be disassembled anyway for all the components must be treated and polished.
Given that red Mercedes bodywork was very rusty but equipped with almost all components and the black Mercedes had almost no components but its bodywork had relatively little damage, it was decided that the black car bodywork and the red car components would be used in the restoration.
However, the red Mercedes engine does not fit the original 1956 bodywork, as it is a newer version. This means that the Dutch engine, which is not the original black Mercedes engine but corresponds to the production year, must be rebuilt.
The ignition timer cap was almost new but it did not compensate for the rusted pistons. The car still would not start. On the side there had to be the window washing fluid tank, which in this 190 SL model original version had to be a rubber bag similar to a hot-water bottle. Here it is not so.
Looks like the intake manifold is a do-it-yourself job, and it does not correspond to the MB 190 SL model. Both carburettors did not correspond to this year MB 190 SL, but had been sourced from other cars. Neither were the carburettors nor the intake manifold present in the engine given together with the black MB 190 SL. This means that these parts must be ordered and bought.
The radiator visually was in working condition, however its dismantling and pressure-testing showed that it still had leaks. Yet the damage was not major and the radiator is repairable. The picture shows that the carburettor springs are not original as well. So they must be ordered and bought.
The picture shows the general view of the right-hand heating unit. Heater, air intake pipes, fasteners are shown and are usable, but require restoration. Some heating system control wire cables are rusted and must be replaced.
The contact plate lower part is less damaged and wire sockets are in good condition. Contact screws need treatment and galvanizing but the wire sockets are made of copper, which is much more resistant to corrosion and other adverse effects. The wire ends in the steering wheel middle part are in relatively good condition as well.
The front panel top part had to have decorative inserts, however they are rotten and only some severely damaged fragments are visible. They were removed from the panel. The glove box lid is missing in the panel. The floor has corroded in the footwell.
The heating system regulating cables have been removed. In their attachment points there are traces of corrosion. The fasteners have also been removed and together with the screws have been sent for processing and painting.
On the engine compartment right side at the windscreen the electrical fuse block can be seen. It is much damaged, but can be restored. We have removed it. In the top right corner of the picture the cracked windscreen can be seen.
Next to the engine oil level gauge the steering gear and the steering shaft going to the passenger compartment are visible. The steering shaft has been detached from the steering gear. The steering mechanism has been disassembled.
The engine compartment right side is freed of assemblies and components leaving the heating system cables and wiring. The battery box has rusted through and the battery acid has leaked into the passenger compartment. Now it is becoming clear why the floor under the front passenger’s feet has rusted so badly. The acid from the battery box has been leaking there.
Wiring contact point in the engine compartment at the left wing. There is corrosion in the contact point. To the right above the contact point there is the bonnet support attachment. There is corrosion on it and the welding place.
Also the black MB 190 SL aluminium doors with all the glass lifters and door locking and opening mechanisms are a complete set (except for handles) and in good condition. There are small traces of rust on the mechanisms, but everything is reparable. It should be noted that the structure of the black car door internal components is different from that of the red MB 190 SL.
In its turn, the brake master cylinder has rusted beyond repair. The components have been removed and transferred for further dismantling and restoration. The master cylinder attachment place is repairable.
A view of the engine, front axle, clutch and gearbox from the bottom. The steering equipment central part components are also visible. They are original and will be restored, except for the bushes and other worn elements, which will be replaced.
It can be seen that the clutch is not connected to the engine. And the clutch with the gearbox is virtually suspended in midair because it is not fastened to the body by any means. The clutch switching lever can be seen as well. In the picture upper right corner the rusted-through floor can be seen.
The front axle has been disconnected from the body and together with the engine and gearbox has been removed from the car. All components will be disassembled and the parts will be repaired, polished and restored. In this model the cardan to the driving rear axle is hidden in the closed tunnel. The cardan can be accessed and taken out only through removing the engine and the gearbox.
The spiral springs are usable as well, however the shock absorbers need replacement because the ability of the current ones to withstand loads and serve a long term is questionable. The brake hoses must be replaced.
The rear axle main bearing parts – longitudinal bearers, gear casing, longitudinal ties – are in satisfactory condition. The spiral springs are neither broken nor too much distorted. The shock absorbers must be replaced, as must be the bushes and rubber parts. The condition of the axle gear will be clear after its disassembling.
The black MB 190 SL has been disassembled. Bodywork and other required parts have been sand blasted to free the metal of any paint, varnish and other remnants. Small parts have been handled in a small special machine and for the bodywork a special chamber is used.
All mechanisms and components removed from the black MB 190 SL have also been stripped and checked and restored. Afterwards all units will be put back together to be later mounted back on the car.
In order to study all the parts necessary for the restoration we proceed with disassembling of the red MB 190 SL.