Mercedes 1972 350SL ex World Cup Rally and Safari Challenge
Sale price: £22,000.00 make an offer
Technical specifications, photos and description:
|Drive side:||Right-hand drive|
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Mercedes 1972 350SL ex World Cup Rally and Safari Challenge for sale
VBY 26L was first registered in the UK on the 5th of September 1972 in Astral Silver with blue interior and hood. On the 29th of October 1998 the original number plate 2452 AP was changed to VBY 26L when the car changed ownership. On the 10th of March 2003 the car was sold by Paramount Car Sales to Mr Gavin Thomas who appointed Mercedes specialist Rees Bros at Aldershot to refresh the car to include renewing seals, trims, cables, under-structure repairs, new radio and aerial installation, console, etc. at a cost of £8895. Mr Thomas then decided VBY26L would be his ideal car for historic rallying and embarked on the preparation by sending the car to specialist Mercedes engine remanufacturers Crewe Engines where the original engine number 116 982 22 005454 was remanufactured at a cost of £4125 to their exacting standards when the odometer showed a mileage of 82961.
In February 2004, the car was delivered to Adams Automotive, well known for the rally preparation of historic Mercedes cars. The original invoices are too extensive to list but include chassis strengthening, stiffer springs, new bushes, wishbones, hubs, shock absorbers, etc. The suspension was set up to accommodate two 100kg adults plus 150kg of equipment or luggage. The track was increased by 40mm and the suspension height by 50mm. The fuel system was upgraded to the more reliable Bosch K Jetronic, and steering, subframes, mounting bushes, and all major components were refurbished or replaced. The brakes were fitted with fast road pads and racing fluid. A new open core high performance radiator was fitted together with an insect shield. A sump and subframe guard, strengthened exhaust, bespoke roll bar with integral wind deflector, 5-point harnesses, Sparco racing seats, trip meter, fire extinguishers, CD/FM radio and Moto-Lita steering wheel were all fitted. The total cost was £19403.
A second visit to Mercedes specialist Rees Bros later in 2004 attracted an invoice for £3871, and further invoices until 2008 added another £9256.
Mr Thomas was clearly a wealthy gentleman who enjoyed his rallies. The preparation costs of £45551 indicate he took his rallying very seriously. During his ownership VBY 26L competed successfully in various HRCR rallies as well as Phillip Youngs World Cup Rally and Safari Rally'
Mileage history from MOT certificates show 94533 in 2005, 97304 in 2006, 100757 in 2007, 101910 in 2008.
In 2008 Mr. Thomas sold the car to a gentleman in Ireland who only used it for displaying at local car shows in the summer. The car was re-sprayed by a Dublin Mercedes specialist in 2018, after which the car was unused due to the owner's health. I purchased the car from Ireland in July 2020 with the intent of competing in more rallies. The car was delivered to my local specialist for re-commissioning to include new front springs, 5 new tyres, re-alignment of suspension and steering geometry, new water pump, new flexi brake pipes, oils and filters, various small tasks, and a new MOT on the 15th October 2020 at a total cost of £3454. The current mileage is 108250.
Although an older preparation the car drives extremely well, with the engine delivering strong performance from the V8 and starts on the first turn of the engine. The car handles well, far better than a softy standard SL. The paintwork remains excellent apart from one small bubble (about 5mm) on the top front corner of the nearside wing. The chassis and mechanicals are sound. The carpets and seats are as one finds in rally cars, there for a purpose and not for concours events! The door pocket on the driver's door has been removed to provide easier access for long legs. The blue hood is in good condition with very low haze on the plastic window. A hardtop, also in Astral silver, comes with the car. Various rally stickers proving the cars provenance are attached to the stainless tread sills, roll bar and windscreen.
So why am I selling this magnificent and rare beast? Quite simply I purchased it as a result of ‘Covid boredom' without consideration to the fact that my body no longer bends in the way it used to when I jumped in and out of rally cars 20 years ago and more. It has been a pleasure owning the car for a short period but realize I am never going to drive it in the way it needs to be driven, so it is better to let that enjoyment pass to a new owner to have adventures or have a road car that's a bit different. A file of Mr. Thomas's ownership including invoices and rally photos are included in the sale.
Also published at eBay.co.uk
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