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  #1  
Old 09-09-2015, 03:50 AM
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1972 220d...Restore it, Race it, or just drive the dang thing?

Hey guys, I just picked up a 1972 220d w115. Short/long story on the car (as it pertains to me).

I went and looked at the car about 3 weeks ago when it popped up on a for sale sight called "offer up". The car was posted for $2500. A price that I was initially willing to pay, but didn't have. I went about posting things of mine for sale,to come up with the funds, but relatively quickly gave up on the idea of actually getting the money, for this classic Benz.

About 5 days ago, he messaged me again, that he would make a deal for me. I get back to him, a day later, asking what the deal is, still not really expecting that I could afford it. He says $1500...I ponder (with excitement). I set up a deal on several of my items, and look at my finances, and discover, that I can make room for $1200 in my budget for this car. He says I can pay him the other $300 at a later time, and it is agreed. As excited as I can be, I show up to get the car, and give it a closer look this time.
I see some more rust, than I had seen the first time I looked at it, but still nothing that makes me want to pack up and head for the hills. Afterall, this is a car that has nearly 20 years on me, and it still runs...and oh yeah, it's diesel!

I did some more digging today, into the car. And found a bit more...well really just found that the area's that I had found, where a little worse than I had anticipated...

As far as drivability goes, I believe all that it needs, is a carrier bearing. I do intend to go over the rest of the car though (i.e. bushings, mounts, fluids, brakes, and the like)

My question is, when looking at the pictures that I will post, is it in your guys opinions, that this car is worth totally restoring?

Or

Is it worth turning into some sort of vintage racer? Where I could get rid of the rust, and just replace with some makeshift panels? This will be my first restoration project, and I am sure that I won't get everything right, on the first try... and by Installing a rollcage, I would be doing very much to reinforce the chassis, and guarantee the car a long life, as long as no catastrophe happens.
I wouldn't be worried about wining any races, just enjoying man and machine.

Part of me feels, that if I am getting rid if the rust, and replacing panels, the car deserves the respect, to be replaced with the best materials that I can source

Or should I just sand blast the rust out of it, stop rust, and duraglass over where the rust was (with the exception of anything that may be structural) and drive it, until it falls apart (and love every moment of my vintage daily commute)

I am leaning towards a commitment on the level that would fall somewhere between option one, and option 3, as to the severity of the work to put into this car.

If either of the second 2 options, are what most think are ideal, then I can be on the hunt for a w108, to bring to beauty. Which is the car that I really want. Not that I don't want a /8 in my life.





























































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  #2  
Old 09-09-2015, 02:51 PM
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My name is Ron by the way everybody, and hello. I am sorry if I missed it, but I did not see a new member introduction page. I will add pictures of the whole car in another post on this thread, and will probably also start a "build thread"

I am extremely excited to start this project, it will be slow going, as I am only setting aside maybe $150 a month to put into the car.

Hopefully if I sell 2 of my other cars, I will have about 4 to 5k to search for a w108!
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2015, 04:33 PM
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Given the amount of rust, I would suggest you do as little as possible and drive it until it dies. Obviously you could use it for practice as well. But any money spent is sunk. If you fix all that rust, you will have a 220d worth about $1500.
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2015, 07:31 PM
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Ouch, that sucks, not really worried about the value, but it is dissapointing to hear, that any and all work, would be pretty much in vein. I see clean examples for much higher than $1500, but I will have to bite that off and chew it.

When I saw the extent of the rust, I was certainly glad that I hadn't spent $2500, bit I figured I was getting an acceptable deal at $1500. One that would hopefully leave me breaking even if I decided it was to much, and sold the car.

Don't think I have buyers remorse yet, but...well let's just see if I can make this car an acceptable runner.

I am going to use my brothers sand blaster, and dig the trash out if this thing, and see what's left.

Do you think that the car is far past the point of structural soundness?

If it is just a pile, I can do some fun things to stiffen it up, and make it "safe" again.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2015, 08:04 PM
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Fix it enough to make the body sound and just drive it, building a race car takes more $ and time than you would expect. And, for what type of racing would you build it for? ( I've put a bunch of race cars together ranging from Autocross , road race and oval track. Builds have been from a $ 500 special to a full on Formula Ford restoration. )

It is much better to start out with a good car when building a racer rather than starting out with something in poor condition.
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2015, 09:01 PM
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At the decided risk of sounding a bit snarky, the advice of Richard Petty from a few years back might apply: "Don't like the looks of your car? -- Shoot it!" He was advertising some sort of slick 'em up spray on stuff.
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2015, 09:46 PM
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Yeah man, I don't get the racing angle of it. Sounds like a lot of money if you're going to put in a roll cage and assumedly an engine that would make it move faster than paint drying.

I kinda feel like you should just learn how to weld on this, if that appeals to you at all. It's not worth restoring as is. If it had a great drivetrain, it looks more like a parts car for a better 115.
108's are big money cars to restore.

That doesn't mean you can't fix what you can and just enjoy driving it everyday.
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2015, 10:00 PM
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Regarding structural soundness, I would focus on two things:
Check the points where all seat belts attach for any rust of significance.
Check where the front seats attach to the body for rust as well.

That rust is bad, but it isn't going to break in half as you drive down the road. You just want to be sure it is safe in an accident. Clearly its safety is a little compromised, but you wouldn't be picking that car if ultimate safety was your only focus. I think if the rust at the seat and belt locations is fixed (or not present to begin with), then the car is at least usable.

Yes, there are a few w115s which go for more than $1500, but your car will have major rust patches all over and be in a terrible need of a paint job. It will be hard to sell a patchy looking 43 year old 220d for much more than $1500. Of course, if you get it painted professionally and totally fixed up, you could have a $5K car there. But you will have spent $8K in the process.

Enjoy the car for what it is. Practice some welding. Practice using POR-15. Etc. But don't spend $1K in body panels or $3K on a paint job expecting to get much or any of that money back. The market for a 220D is not great, sadly. So spend whatever you can on the car if you love the car. But don't try to do it for re-sale value.
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2015, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
Fix it enough to make the body sound and just drive it, building a race car takes more $ and time than you would expect. And, for what type of racing would you build it for? ( I've put a bunch of race cars together ranging from Autocross , road race and oval track. Builds have been from a $ 500 special to a full on Formula Ford restoration.


It is much better to start out with a good car when building a racer rather than starting out with something in poor condition.
Perhaps, a small background on myself would have been helpfull, IF I were to put it together to race, it would be something like chumpcar, or a standard track day, with no intentions of ever wining anything. Simply just enjoying the car. Time...would play a huge roll though...but the time, will be theoretically enjoyable, considering the learning process, and the fruits of labor.
I have quite a few friends with various skills that are 1. Willing to help. and 2. Would love to get there hands on a chassis like this.

Beeing mildly personable and always willing to "pay it forward" has helped me a lot. If my friends helped me, I would expect them to drive the car.
I can have a cage built for $300 (however I need it) plus materials...just because the dude is completely awesome.

That said, I do understand that prepping a chassis, can get expensive, no matter what. What with fire suppression, and the like.

And I know that I am completely wrong, but (given that it is vintage), I would like to start with something, that isn't so nice, that I feel bad, to abuse it. I would rather feel good knowing that I am giving the car, a second life(even if it costs a little extra)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Reiner View Post
At the decided risk of sounding a bit snarky, the advice of Richard Petty from a few years back might apply: "Don't like the looks of your car? -- Shoot it!" He was advertising some sort of slick 'em up spray on stuff.
I am totally taking this wrong. I love the looks of these cars, they are both classy, and classic. I am working with what I have, and the condition, makes me feel not so bad, about whatever I do with it. (I am aware that you are saying ,this was a paint commercial or something of the like. )
I also have a friend, that, is not just willing, but WANTS to paint a few cars for me, for just the cost of materials (time permitted ofcorse, and God willing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Yeah man, I don't get the racing angle of it. Sounds like a lot of money if you're going to put in a roll cage and assumedly an engine that would make it move faster than paint drying.

I kinda feel like you should just learn how to weld on this, if that appeals to you at all. It's not worth restoring as is. If it had a great drivetrain, it looks more like a parts car for a better 115.
108's are big money cars to restore.

That doesn't mean you can't fix what you can and just enjoy driving it everyday.
So much to quote here, and I think that you are most on base with this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
assumedly an engine that would make it move faster than paint drying.
So true. I have an engine...that would make this fast, I mean quite fast....not merc though, which would kill the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
I kinda feel like you should just learn how to weld on this, if that appeals to you at all. It's not worth restoring as is. If it had a great drivetrain, it looks more like a parts car for a better 115.
I really do agree, I am totally capable of general welding, but by no means anything substantial. I do see this as an opportunity to learn...ALOT!! I think passion is an important motivator. Simply welding basic panels together, with no real end result, doesn't pull the best out of someone...at least for me anyways, I need a big picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
108's are big money cars to restore.
When I source a w108 I will be looking for a clean example, 2 or 3 years down the road, once I have settled into my job, and am making, fair income. I intend to spend 7 to 10k on a good example of a 108. And hopefully I will still be able to find one, in that range, that is still a good buy.

Those cars are increasing in value, and thusly, becoming more worth putting back together...I just wish that I had gotten the jump on the gun...in my opinion, all of these cars are grossly undervalued!

::disclaimer:: I don't buy cars, as a material investment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
That doesn't mean you can't fix what you can and just enjoy driving it everyday.
This is what i am leaning towards. I would like to blast the rust off of this thing, and then miracle paint it, and reinforce it, and save some cash in fuel over the next half a decade, or (hopefully) more, and do it all, while driving something outrageously rewarding (did I mention, I am a diesel mechanic) all while learning valuable skills. And hopefully these cars will apreciate enough, and if not, at the very least...this car will serve as a starting point to get my kids into learning skills that will potentially create sustenance in their own lives...
This is all VERY OPTIMISTIC thinking.
I appologize if I have gotten off base here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortsguy1 View Post
Regarding structural soundness, I would focus on two things:
Check the points where all seat belts attach for any rust of significance.
Check where the front seats attach to the body for rust as well.

That rust is bad, but it isn't going to break in half as you drive down the road. You just want to be sure it is safe in an accident. Clearly its safety is a little compromised, but you wouldn't be picking that car if ultimate safety was your only focus. I think if the rust at the seat and belt locations is fixed (or not present to begin with), then the car is at least usable.

Yes, there are a few w115s which go for more than $1500, but your car will have major rust patches all over and be in a terrible need of a paint job. It will be hard to sell a patchy looking 43 year old 220d for much more than $1500. Of course, if you get it painted professionally and totally fixed up, you] could have a $5K car there. But you will have spent $8K in the process.

Enjoy the car for what it is. Practice some welding. Practice using POR-15. Etc. But don't spend $1K in body panels or $3K on a paint job expecting to get much or any of that money back. The market for a 220D is not great, sadly. So spend whatever you can on the car if you love the car. But don't try to do it for re-sale value.
No amount of work would be done for resale value(that would be a falacy, and not even the intent of this purchase at all). I had to try hard not to laugh at the guy when he said "when you recondition the car, these cars are worth money" I already knew that was not the case. I did not think that I was getting a "deal". I just thought that this car, could be an enjoyable learning process, and hoped that i could make something nice out of it. Truely, in my area, these cars don't just pop up for sale...I am sure they don't pop up anywere. I could have probably found a better example, if I waited 6 months, to a year...but, the money wouldn't have been there(nor the experience). If the reliability pays off, I will spend, more time, and money making the car feel nice...money is not the object here, it, for me, is all about FEEL/the experience . We all make decisions, they may not always be the best, but humans are not rational beings (perhaps I am just rationalizing haha) we are emotional. We tend to see what could be, not what really is. Yesterday, I realized that I had stepped into more than I should probably step up to. But as of yet, regret is not present. I wish that maybe I had held off, and not stretched my budget, but my optimism is seeing the best in this.

If I destroy it, in the learning process...ultimately, it was a small investment. If it last the long run, it will give me at the very least, time with my brother, making it cruisable. AND hopefully down the line(optimism), time with my younger kin, preserving something worth preserving.

Ultimately, my desire to get into the Benz family (and I don't mean that new age, frills, and bills garbage) is on some level fullfiled. And I want to become a valuable member to this society.

For whatever I make this car, I want you all to know, that your knowledgeable (and kind) words are weighing on my mind, and I will do my best, to try to make a good decision based on what I have, and what recources, are at my disposal.

Thank you all.
Let's hope much good, comes of this!

That being said, I would like to know, what is considered to be detrimental to the structure of these cars. Also, what is considered to be "less destramental" so that I can start my endeavor on the less important stuff, and hopefully learn from my mistakes along the way!
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2015, 07:30 AM
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A lot of that rust looks to be in the floor-pans, trunk bottom, and rocker and quarter panels. All common spots for these vehicles to rust.

Most of those rust spots (in the floors especially) can just be cut out, painted, and patched with pop rivets and sheet metal. Or welded if you can.

Just as long as the engine's good (doesn't burn too much oil), you could probably get many, many miles out of that car just as long as you do some body work as you go along.

I'd say these vehicles are best for personal use rather than investments. If you're looking for a simple piece of machinery that provides cheap transportation, that 220D should fit the bill well.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortsguy1 View Post
Given the amount of rust, I would suggest you do as little as possible and drive it until it dies.
Sound advice right there. Check critical structural points, particularly where steering and suspension components attach. Go nuts with POR15. Pop-rivet aluminum sheet over the floorboards to prevent Fred-Flintstoning it at an inopportune moment.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Reiner View Post
At the decided risk of sounding a bit snarky, the advice of Richard Petty from a few years back might apply: "Don't like the looks of your car? -- Shoot it!" He was advertising some sort of slick 'em up spray on stuff.
SR: "(I am aware that you are saying ,this was a paint commercial or something of the like. )"

Richard Petty was flogging "Son of a Gun", a product similar to Armor All.

Along side the 115 at the far end of your back lot you could place a Beetle, and a 2CV; sit on your back porch, fire away, and watch the rust fly!
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  #13  
Old 09-10-2015, 05:40 PM
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I have used a product that is brushed on called POR-15 that turned soft and rusty metal hard like steel again. It obviously does not fill in holes. I would not count on it for structurally important weight bearing items. But is does keep sheet metal from further corrosion and it holds up well over time. My trunk looked similar to yours. I am happy with the results I got with POR-15 there.

Welcome to the Forum!
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2015, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Reiner View Post
SR: "(I am aware that you are saying ,this was a paint commercial or something of the like. )"

Richard Petty was flogging "Son of a Gun", a product similar to Armor All.

Along side the 115 at the far end of your back lot you could place a Beetle, and a 2CV; sit on your back porch, fire away, and watch the rust fly!
If only I had a back lot. I am but a lowly apartment dweller.

I will be working in a friend's barn on this car though, or maybe my parents driveway...not 100% on how that will go yet.
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  #15  
Old 11-20-2015, 12:00 AM
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Thank you all for your kind words, I have slowly worked out some of the bugs with the car, still need an all new driveshaft though.
That is holding me back from making repairs to the chassis, once I cam get it out of my apartment t garage, and to a more suitable location to start miracle painting, and riveting and or welding things in place, the real fun can begin.
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