• Graham Eason

Bringing the Magic Back to a Mercedes

Mercedes built its reputation on big, solid cars that went on and on and on. And few were built better and went on for longer than the W123 saloon of the 1970s and 80s and its svelte coupe sibling, the C123.

A regular at our monthly Classics & Coffee mornings recommended the owner of this beautiful Cypress Green 230CE coupe to us. It has been in the same family since new, but as with all long term cars and most classics, had dipped into life as a workhorse a few years ago. Despite rising values of 123 Mercedes saloons and coupes, this isn't uncommon - the cars are so durable (they were a staple of rough African dirt roads for years) that even in their old age they can easily be used as daily drivers. Consequently it was beginning to get a little frilly in the usual weak spots for these cars - the arches and doors.

Our approach with all projects is to see the car up close, rather than work from photos. By undertaking a thorough check of the car we are able to give customers a firm price for the work. It is one of my bugbears from working with classic car specialists for many years that they won't work to agreed prices. So there is always a nasty surprise at the end. I hate that and it's why we spend time up front to avoid surprises later.

Once the scope of work and the price have been agreed we started work. The work was relatively straightforward, but pretty involved - both inner and outer rear arches needed replaced, the door bottoms repaired and the front wings replaced. We do everything in-house - to avoid relying on the quality of other people's work - so we repaired the car from welding in new panels and metalwork to respraying the car.

Painting a car of this age is a tricky process. Classic cars have either received some new paint at some point in their lives or the original paint has faded. An additional problem is that car manufacturers often use the same paint code for cars over a long time, but they change paint supplier during the production run. This can result in changes to the mix - not a problem when the car is new as each car is painted in the new mix, but it is of course a problem when trying to match paint using the correct code many years later.

For all of these reasons, when you're painting part of a car - as here - it is critical to use a good, reputable paint supplier and to take great care with the colour match. Our experience means we know the tricks to achieving this and so to delivering a very, very good finish.

The Mercedes was completed on time to the agreed fixed price. The customer was extremely happy with the finish and pleased to see the car returned to its former glory.

You can watch the full story on this video. To discuss your classic project call 01527 893733 or email info@fixclassiccars.co.uk.

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