“Absolute Class”

I’ve noticed 2 themes among our beater submissions. Jeeps and Hand-Me-Downs. Jeeps are cheap, occasionally reliable and perform many, some questionable, functions. Hand-Me-Downs, on the other hand, serve one purpose, to be cheap. Cheap isn’t always a bad thing, however.

A couple of days ago Ty posted up his Benz on the Facebook page and instantly I knew we had to feature it.  Old Diesel Benz’s, like old Volvos, are pretty much bullet-proof.  So, being gifted one by an old hippie or your dad might be the best thing for your high school self to get.  They last for millions of miles and if they break, are cheap and plentiful to get fixed most anywhere in the world.

Check out Ty’s Classy Benz below:


“My dad was looking for another vintage Benz having just sold his 1973 450SE and I happened to find what would become my 1978 240D on Craigslist in Richmond, Virginia.

We went down to look at it and, after about a month of dealing with titling issues, he ended up buying it. It was a 2-owner, original matching numbers car, factory 4speed, and had 285k on the clock.
My dad ended up driving it for a few years as an around town car, occasionally going to D.C. or Richmond for a day.

When my senior prom came around I knew I wanted to take that car, purely because it was the absolute definition of class in my eyes. That was my first experience with it. Never had I driven anything so slow but I loved it.

About a year later I was driving a $900 ’95 325i and when the rear end fell out of it, I needed a car to drive. Dad said, “Take the 240. DO NOT WRECK MY CAR.”
going from a 220hp tuned bimmer to a slower-than-hell Mercedes was quite a game changer but I loved it. Being an 18year old in a Benz, I thought I was cooler than sliced bread.

After about a year of not having a running car, the bimmer left and a 69 Bug came along, but the Benz stayed. still in my dad’s name I drove it to and from work every day and around town with friends. One night a friend and I even found ourselves in Virginia Beach at 2am after going for a cruise in the old Benz.

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Here’s where it gets good.

At this point I’ve been driving the 240D for about a year, I’ve put about 10k on it.
I’m driving home from school one day and I see an older dude driving a w116 450SEL, and me being and old Benz guy  I followed him to the gas station to talk about his car.
After a great conversation, this old hippy dude tells me, “You seem like you know a lot about these old Diesels. I’ve got an 80 300SD sitting in my driveway. fI you want it, you can have it. come get it”. about a month later of conflicting schedules i picked up the w116. you can imagine how excited I was to get a free car but I didn’t want to give up the 240D. I liked it too much. so, I made my dad a deal. I told him I would give him my turbodiesel for the 240.

Now the 240D was mine and I couldn’t be happier. About 6 months later I joined another band and put that old diesel to work. Touring all across the surrounding states playing shows. After awhile I left the band and went back to driving to and from work and around town, but I really missed road tripping that old thing after having made so many memories in that car.

While on vacation in the Outer Banks, my family was talking about having a reunion in Buffalo and I knew what I had to do.

The ultimate road trip.
4 states, 750 miles.
So, I started planning.

The time came for the trip. My friend and I loaded up the Benz at 1am and hit the road. Going through WV, PA and NY we saw some amazing sights and I got my favorite picture of the car at 7am in Harmony, PA. It took 10 hours to get there, and 13 to get back. It was hands down the best trip I’ve ever been on. It wouldn’t have been the same without that old Benz.”

Crank Til It Goes!

It doesn’t run, or does it?  For quite some time I had assumed that just about every car in a junkyard could not, would not start.  It just made sense to my naive self. After taking out a ridiculous student loan and pledging my income for the next 10 years to mechanic’s school I learned that simply wasn’t true.  I also learned how to get those crap-heaps running and how to keep them that way.

Auto museums are old and rare and one of a kind and fast and fun and art and innovation.  Car museums are great places to learn about cars and tech you didn’t know about.  They’re like immersive pop-up books. You normally pay just a bit and you’ve earned you tuition to some of the coolest day-classes you can take on automobilia. Junkyards are better, though.

Junkyards aren’t just a place for cheap parts and a place to take your car long after its dead. Junkyards are full of unique and interesting models that you won’t necessarily find out on the road.  Many of the best and unique cars to come out of the 20th century won’t ever make it into a nice air-conditioned museum.  Many of those cars weren’t built well and aren’t reliable enough to stay running on the roads. Many of the best cars ever made (I’m looking at you Volvo 240) are sitting in some muddy yard somewhere ready to be explored.

I used to head over to the nearest junkyard to practice on a forgotten beater before I would tear into my own at home.  If I had to do a job on my Sentra or Datsun that I hadn’t done before and wasn’t confident about being able to do it in the driveway, I’d just call up LKQ, see if they had a model in their yard and then go to town!

Here’s the first start of a Mercedes-Benz 407D in 12years. It takes some cranking and some innovation  to get the old girl fired up again, but she eventually gets going around the 9min mark.

 

Check it out: