[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he sheer size and grace of the Mercedes-Benz four door 300 W186 model will stun visitors to the inaugural Concours South Africa, taking centre stage at Sun City on September 9-11, 2016.
This massive Merc from the mid-1950s will be making the trip to Sun City from Nylstroom, and the Concours will give people the chance to see this veritable monument to the recovery of the automotive industry after the devastation of World War Two.
The car is commonly referred to as the “Adenauer” Mercedes, as it was the favourite mode of transport for the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer. The Chancellor employed no less than six variations of this car as his official transport during his period of office from 1949 to 1964.
Yet, quite apart from its stately bearing and sheer presence, the Mercedes 300 was noted as being a driver’s car of the period, thanks to well-executed double wishbone suspension and sharing many design innovations found on the 300 SL sports car of this same era.
The 300 series was built between 1952 and 1957. This particular car is a so-called 300b model, built in 1955. It was imported to South Africa by Werner Stucky, in the late 1950s. Mr Stucky then established Stucky Motors in the town of Volksrust, bordering on the border of Mpumalanga and KZN. The Stucky family proceeded to become mainstream Mercedes dealers in this area, owning a number of dealerships today.
The current owner, Dries de Jager, was a well-known private car restorer residing in Volksrust. He bought this car from the Stuckys in 2000, and proceeded with a lengthy restoration that took close to 10 years to complete.
The impressive aspect of this car is that it is so authentic in its detail work.
“It is not OVER RESTORED!” says Mr de Jager, with undue emphasis on what is one of his pet hates – where classics have parts buffed to a mirror finish that were never that way when the car was first produced.
The paintwork on this car is a standard Mercedes green executed in Standox paint. The chrome work was carried out by African Electro Plating in Johannesburg. And the amazingly authentic upholstery was done by Farouk of Cape Town. Clearly Mr de Jager had done his research in co-opting the best experts for certain specialized aspects of this restoration!
He had the 3.0-litre overhead camshaft engine rebuilt by Alan Y Brink in Pretoria, and re-built the twin Solex downdraught carburetors himself. A pristine original exhaust is in place, as are original-spec cross-ply tyres.
Some of the detail work on this car is very high tech, including unique self-levelling suspension at the rear via a torsion bar, and a pedal-operated one-shot lubricating system for all grease points.
This Mercedes-Benz, amongst dozens of similar high-end classics and supercars, will be on display at Sun City, at Concours South Africa from September 9-11.