The Project

 
 

The project is described in an article that appeared in the May-June 2008 issue of the 190SL Group Newsletter. To see it, click here.


The Restoration Team


The re-creation of the 190SL Prototype is truly a team effort, drawing from the knowledge and skills of many people, just as the original car did when  developed in 1953. Here are the main players:



Bruce L. Adams



For those in the 190SL community, Bruce Adams needs no introduction,   A top restorer for many years specializing in North American concours quality 190SL’s, his longtime motto is “do it once and do it right”. Bruce’s restorations can be found among other places at the Mercedes Museum in Irvine, California and the Prince of Monaco’s private collection. His recent restorations include a 300SL roadster.


Bruce has devoted himself tirelessly to the Group, nationally and internationally as restorer, historian, authority on authenticity, author and newsletter editor.


I have had the pleasure of knowing him since 1993.


Bruce and I share a special passion for the 190SL prototype for its place in Mercedes history, its unique beauty and features; and the excitement of  transforming  50 year old factory photographs into an actual  car - the racing version of the 190SL as it was originally conceived.


I am thankful to  Bruce for having taken on this project, grateful that he enjoys  challenges  and truly honored to have him spearhead this re-creation.


Here is his official biography:


Bruce is a long time member of MBCA, currently serving as Secretary of the Triangle Section and also their Newsletter Editor. He is also active in the International 190 SL Group, serving on their Board of Directors and their Newsletter Editor as well. For his lifetime contributions to the 190 SL Club, he was recognized in 2005 with the DaimlerChrysler AG Mercedes-Benz Silver Star Award.


Bruce is owner of 190 SL Restorations  "http://www.bruceadams190sl.com". His restorations are well known for their detail and authenticity, his company having won numerous recognitions, including several 190 SL National Concours. He is currently restoring 190 SLís and 50ís Mercedes out of his workshop in Southern Pines NC.


Bruce is the author of four books (soon to be five) on Mercedes-Benz:


The 190 SL section in the John Olson’s Book; The SL Experience - the Ultimate SL Resource Book, Five Decades of the Mercedes-Benz SL. Available at  www.slmarket.com ).

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 1955-1963 - Restoration and Ownership. Volume 1 and Volume 11  Available at  http://www.190slgroup.com/store/shop/shop/default.asp

Mercedes-Benz Club of America - 50 years of History - 1956 to 2006.



Dan Caron



Dan has been involved with this project from its inception in many different ways. As the premier expert on 190SL’s in Canada, and a good friend since 1991, Dan has helped guide  me, in matters of authenticity, rare part research and acquisition, coordination of metal fabrication, and general advice among other things. He has also rebuilt  an early period distributor (one of his specialties) for the car.


Dan was also instrumental in shaping the concept of the project. My initial plan was to build a dual purpose vehicle, a racer with modern updates for drivability – but with the appearance of the prototype. Dan suggested  a detailed historical recreation instead. Thank you Dan – for ‘steering me in the right direction’!


As owner of the SL Barn in Port Lambton, Ontario he has been involved with 190SL’s since 1977, when at the age of 22– as a hobby - he bought his first Mercedes (a ’56 190SL) and proceeded to restore it.


It took 5 years, at a time when very little was known about the car, and certainly hardly any sources existed for parts or body panels, reproduction or otherwise. And those with knowledge did not necessarily share it..


A hobby gradually developed into a full time business. Dan’s knowledge and skills have grown exponentially from the early days. SL Barn provides mechanical restoration for many models of Mercedes cars from 1950’s to 1980’s, parts sales (new and a vast supply of  used), component rebuilding of all systems including engines and distributors, brokerage, consulting, appraisals and coordination of full restorations.


On a typical day in the barn, you’re likely to see a few 190SL’s, some 113 cars, a ponton or two, and a sprinkling of 107’s and fintails. Heck, even the odd 300SL has made it down to Caron’s, for service or the annual warm summer’s evening BBQ…


Dan’s ancestors came to Canada from France in 1634. He comes by his trade honestly – the name “Caron” is associated with the trade of cartwrights, makers of carts.


Dan was the founding Canadian director of the 190SL Group, a position held for 8 years. He has been a director of the 113 Group for 5 years, and is a past President of the Antique Classic Car Club of Canada.


He can be reached at benzbarn@ebtech.net




Tim Kidder


As owner of K + K Manufacturing in Sparta, Michigan Tim  is well known  to many of us who have restored a 190SL. He has single-handedly altered the landscape by producing high quality reproduction body panels and parts for the car. Before 1982, many of these parts were either very expensive due to scarcity, or simply unavailable, which resulted in many poor quality restorations


Through his typical tenacity and raw determination, Tim has built a 190SL parts fabrication and distribution facility that is unrivalled. His parts are sold throughout the world, including by Mercedes. Tim has also restored about 40 190SL’s.


He fabricates replacement panels for the 113 and 107 Mercedes cars as well, and for Porsche 356’s.


In my visits to K + K, I’ve always felt like a kid in a candy store. The warehouse is packed with everything you could imagine, from grommets to full parts cars, stored outdoors, inside and even up in the rafters. It was there that I spotted the donor car for this restoration. Tim graciously sold me his personal car,  the shell and motor of which he had already restored and which was awaiting assembly.  


Tim and I spent a couple of days collecting most of the parts I’d need for the car, and I witnessed firsthand his generosity and perseverance. I find it hard to imagine doing this project this without his contribution – thanks to Tim, Pat and Cheryl.


http://www.kkmfg.com/



John Legue


John is a master coachbuilder and owner of Restorations Unlimited in Blenheim, Ontario, a  short 15 minute drive from the world renowned auction house and shop of RM Restorations


John has been active in the classic car business for many years, as collector, restorer, judge and teacher of  automotive metal fabrication to high school students.


Using only historical photographs from Mercedes and my direction as a guide, John -  and his colleagues Craig, Bill and Barry - have skillfully rebodied the shell of a 1956 production 190SL into the form of the 1954 Prototype. His facility in shaping metal and overcoming obstacles in the process is astounding – an example being his ability to visualize and engineer the car’s complex double hood hinging system without the benefit of any photographic record to assist him. Only after the fact did photos of a similarly hinged early 300SL emerge, showing an almost identical arrangement. A  heartfelt thanks goes to John  for his amazing contribution.

 


Legue is considered an expert in the restoration of Auburn Boattail Speedsters, and has several of these magnificent cars in his collection. When I was introduced to John by Dan Caron several years ago, he was in the midst of restoring a very rare 1931 Mercedes Mannheim, building missing panels from scratch. In November 2008, as I took delivery of my car, I noticed his next project sitting off to on side of the shop – a 1930’s Duesenberg - good company indeed.






In addition to those above, I am thankful to the following people who have contributed greatly to making the car a reality:


Guenther Bauerle, of Mercedes Classic Center in Fellbach, Germany for graciously sharing his firsthand knowledge of the car and its history, as well as assisting with technical matters;


Hartmut Behrens of North Hollywood Speedometer, for restoring and reproducing of the unique prototype gauges with a high degree of accuracy;


Gary Cox, a 190SL Group member, for sharing his extensive knowledge of 190SL racers;


Tom Hamilton, President of the 190SL for his helpful support, enthusiasm and people connections;


Tom Hanson of the Mercedes Classic Center, Parts division;


Sven Jacob of Niemöller, Germany, an excellent source of parts;


Fred Kruse, 300SL reproduction part manufacturer, for reproducing the 190SL license plates shown on the prototype;


Gregg Merksamer, author of “History of the New York International Auto Show”, for generously supplying background information and rare photographs about the 1954 debut of the car;


Art Thumwood of Star Classics, for his vast knowledge of rare parts and their supply;


Roger Wychgram, of ATVM, for supplying rare parts




Here is a photo of the three amigos-Bruce Adams, Dan Caron and Tom Hamilton- at the RM museum, November, 2007.

 

The prototype as it appeared on August 28th, 2007

Newsletter Article

The Restoration Team

Miscellaneous


Newsletter Article