1965 Mercedes Benz 220 SE
I purchased this car in Auckland , while on a visit to my sisters. I saw it advertised in the Trade & Exchange paper and went to have a look at it. It had been used and abused and had rust, a broken drivers window, tatty interior, both the body and the bumpers were dented and the generator wasn’t charging, but I saw some potential in it. I made an offer for it and ended up owning it. (Actually, I swapped an early Audi 80 for it).
Anyway, I took it back to my sisters, where I stayed for the weekend, then decided to head home. One fully charged battery got me to Paeroa by which time the car was getting progressively slower. A stop in Paeroa to get the battery put on a fast charge for about an hour, did the trick, then it was Tauranga, here I come. Believe it or not, I made it all the way home, but as I turned into the drive, the car cut out. The battery was dead flat so I put it on charge again while I fitted a spare generator that I just happened to have in stock. (the beauty of owning quite a few cars of the same make ). I fixed the drivers window at the same time, and drove it for a couple of months then decided it was time to give it a tidy up.
At this time I was still working as a Motor Mechanic and had a friend , Peter Trewartha, who was a panel-beater / painter and had owned Hot Rods & Customs when he was in Australia and still drove a nice 65 Ford Fairlane, as well as owning a 450 Mercedes Coupe. I told him what I wanted done and he got stuck in, after I had completely stripped the car inside & out, along with all the windows.
A few weeks later, it had all the chrome-work re-done, the car had been completely paneled and painted shiney “midnite black”, and at the same time, I had a black vinyl roof fitted by Ian (Hank) Yardley of First Ave Auto trim.
Ian also fitted new brown colour carpets and new boot mat, along with a new headlining, and he also recovered the seats in a light mushroom coloured velour upholstery which was done in a pleated & rolled style. Instead of doing just two or two & a half inch pleats, I got him to do do them with a half inch pleat between each of the two inch pleats. The effect was stunning . To finish off the look of the car, all the paint was removed from the hubcaps and these were all buffed & polished.
Now, I had told another friend, just after I got the car, what I was intending to get done to it and how it should turn out. He had been trying to find a nice car to use for his daughters wedding and time was running out, so I had offered the use of the Mercedes. Talk about taking things to the wire. I picked the car up from Peter on the Friday night and my friend’s daughter was getting married the next morning.
The windows were all back in, but nothing else and I drove the car home sitting on an old nail box.
A quick meal and then I was into putting it all back together, and when it got dark I carried on working in the driveway with a lead-light determined to get it done. I had to !! Anyway, a young girl that I knew at the time, Tracey, came to visit and ended up giving me a hand to re-assemble the car. We finished it in the wee small hours of the Saturday morning, stopped for a break, then it was time to dress it up as a wedding car. Instead of just using ribbon, we used long white tassles, fitted the brides doll, did the rear window ledge up with gold horse-shoes and red & white roses and it looked a treat.
I lived in Tauranga at the time and the bride lived at Papamoa & I was running late to be there at the time I promised. I figured if I hoofed it, I could still make it in time. Coming along the Papamoa straight, I passed about 5 cars at well over the magic fiqure, with all the tassles fluttering like crazy, but nothing came adrift and I pulled into my friends house, to pick his daughter up, bang on time…
The car got a lot of attention at the wedding, and I ended up driving for a lot more.
The car always attracted attention and comments, and was one of the best Mercedes that I have owned.