Project Retro Rally: Behind the Build (E4) | Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Restoration with Car Throttle

Project Retro Rally: Behind the Build (E4) | Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Restoration with Car Throttle

Previously on Project Retro Rally: I will be driving this car in the AvD-Histo-Monte. We are going to be turning this into a classic rally car. And you can see how much work there is left to do! Those one thousand layers of non-standard rust-proofing have also been removed. And now it’s time to start Heinrich up. Unfortunately, Heinrich is refusing to start at the moment… Welcome back to another episode of Behind the Build, featuring Heinrich, the magnificent Mercedes-Benz 280 S. This week we’re going to be doing a number of things, including electrics, new wheels and tyres. I’m gonna show you the rust repair because that’s awesome, but before any of that, we need to get the engine sorted, because if you remember – things didn’t go according to plan… Well, this is a… I was gonna say this is actually a lot better than it was, but yeah – still having starting issues. So we had three problems; one with the distributor, the condensator here was broken, the wire here wasn’t working. Then we had another issue with a wire over here that wasn’t seating properly, or it wasn’t doing its job effectively. And then we had another wire that wasn’t, I think, properly screwed in or so, there was an issue with the bolt there, So yeah – quite minor things but as you saw, they actually made Heinrich not run very well at all. So everything’s been sorted, everything has been changed. Next thing for us to do is to adjust the timing. So Karl-Heinz is here with a feeler gauge again. The difference between this arm and this contact patch needs to be approximately 0.35. Make small adjustments, make sure that the feeler gauge is in there happy and then tighten up the screw again. Let’s start Heinrich and it should run quite nicely. If you’ve got an old-school car, then you’ll know all about feeler gauges. They’re very useful in life. Start it, please. Good, good, okay. So that reading should be 45 and it’s about 52, so we’re not quite there yet. I think a little bit more adjustments. With a couple of small adjustments, Heinrich is tested again. Start it again, please. Good! – 45.2. That’s fine. There we go, 45.2. So we have the timing sorted! The distributor cap is then installed and the inline-six brought to life for the first time. Awesome! Good job! Lovely, that is a really smooth-sounding six-cylinder engine. So Heinrich is running really smoothly. Good job old man! And now it’s time to adjust the carburettors. So these are measuring airflow. This carb runs three cylinders, this also controls three cylinders. So he’s just trying to get them equal and happy. With a few turns of the screwdriver, the six cylinders idle is brought down slightly and the carbs balanced. On the machine here we’re looking for a figure of up to 3.5 and this is a percent volume of CO₂, so we need to make sure that Heinrich isn’t spewing out too many CO₂s. That number has now come down to 2.5. He’s getting there, he’s feeling his way in. So we’re gonna adjust the idle a little bit, just a little bit low at the moment. Nice job, Karl-Heinz. You did a nice job. Sounding good, happy happy! Happy engine! Glad we got that fixed nice and quickly. So with Heinrich’s straight-six sounding awesome, what we need to do now is to change the oil because I don’t know how long it’s been in here. We’re gonna do that first, then we’re gonna change the oil filter, then we’re gonna do the fuel filter and then we’re gonna have a very, very happy Heinrich. So, we’re gonna pull this over. Can I? My glamorous assistant! Then it’s a case of out with the old, in with the new. Right, so the old oil has been taken out. We have a new fuel filter, we have a new oil filter and now Karl-Heinz is preparing the lovely new oil for Heinrich. What kind of oil do we have there? 20-W-50? That’s not an oil I’ve ever put into a car. It’s always 5-40 that I’m used to,but 20-50! With Heinrich running sweet as a nut, it’s time to check out the weather-proofing after all the old gunk had been removed. Now everything has been done, everything is new. Everything looks awesome. The biggest change has actually been to the wheel wells I can’t quite reach, but up there, there were big rust holes and now it’s all been done, now everything literally looks like it’s just rolled out of the factory. Everything has been painted, what hasn’t been cut out and welded has been sand-blasted and then painted over. If we come this way, the same on the other side as well, the wheel well is looking magnifique! You can literally eat your currywurst off it. The rest of this is all in great condition, it feels so good! And then if we go to the sills here, if you remember the sill plates, they were also looking in a little bit bad shape… So they’ve all been sand-blasted, repainted, so everything underneath Heinrich is now incredible. Pretty much factory fresh. All that’s left to do is for me to weld this brace in here because, if you stay there, this is the old brace and as you can see, that has had its day in the sun. Are you ready? I am ready. Yeah he’s excited, he’s excited to see what I’ve got. So, shall I start here? So ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a lesson in how to weld like a pro! That kind of went everywhere. Did I say pro? I meant proper amateur! But I’m a quick learner… And? Good, the next one behind it. After the brace is tacked in place, the welds are ground-smoothed, ready for paint. Right, so with that support bracket now expertly welded in, Heinrich is now on the ground and we’re now gonna be working on the front of the car. So what we’re gonna be doing is we are going to be swapping out Heinrich’s original spotlights, which are fairly small, for these big bad boys. Interestingly, they’re exactly the same that you would find on the Red Pig, so we’re one step closer again to the Red Pig, which is awesome. Marcel, you’ve also been busy, what have you been doing? I’ve made us a new number plate bracket because we took the old bumper off, we don’t have the brackets anymore. So yeah, I made this cute, black little thing. Ready? See you next week. No, not yet… Okay, let’s do it! Karl-Heinz, do you want to try them? Let’s try these out. There you go. I had no doubt in my mind that these wouldn’t work and as you can see, they’re bright, they’re pretty much shining a hole through the garage. So yeah, it should be really good for the rally, we’ll be able to see in the dark. Job done, let’s move on! Now all that’s left is to mount the number plates. Perfect, good job! Front done, let’s turn our attention to a couple of rally essentials. We are going to be installing this rev counter because Heinrich currently has a clock which we don’t need and then we are going to be installing
this rally computer, which will give us our average speed. Now I’m no expert when it comes to electrics, so Marcel cracks on with the wiring. Right, so the first thing that Marcel has done is attach a wire to the ignition coil, which is then going to give us a signal to the rev counter. So now let’s move on to the interior. So the next step is for Marcel to wire up the cable to a power source, which will then power our rev counter. While Marcel continues with the install, I joined Karl-Heinz to get a new set of tyres put on Heinrich’s rally wheels. Back in the garage, the rev counter is fitted and tested. So the rev counter has now been expertly put in place, we also have the timing gear which is, as you can see, up and running. All that is left for us to do now is to put on the new wheels and then Heinrich is done, bar some stickers. All that’s left to do as well is just to start him up and just enjoy some straight-six cylinder goodness! Sounding good! Let’s get those wheels on. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has now come to say that we have finished with Heinrich. The build is officially done, bar some stickers. Everything is period-correct, which means that we get to keep the “H” for historic on the number plate. We’ve got period-correct spotlights, the seats, the wheels are also from a W 126 Mercedes-Benz which is over 30 years old. So all that’s left to do is for Karl-Heinz and I to take our seats, go testing… So I think the last word needs to go to the big man himself, so Karl-Heinz: See you next week. See you next week! Bye! Carry on, carry on… Now you’re taking the piss out of me too! To subscribe, click here. And to watch another video, click here!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I use 20w-50 in my 2 stroke scooters. Thick thick oils compared to the 10w-40s and 5w-40s i use in my newer vehicles. My Suzuki uses 0w-20 which cannot be even compared to this oil on any way

  2. Loving this classic build and also the fact that Mercedes still manufacture all the parts for classics too. What's the music Alex?

  3. Which rev counter is that, it's exactly what i need for my triumph, could you tell me the manufacture or where you got it, or even a web link. Cheers

  4. A engish guy in a german garage with a german car imported from switzerland in a rally throuh germany, switzerland , france ,italy and monaco. How culturally ist that?!

  5. Is this scripted by mecedes-benz . I like the video and all but it is dumbed down for people witch never seen car engine and other parts in real life. I don't like oversimplification when "explaining anythig" just my opinion..

  6. That diagnostic machine used to check the points after they set the gapping. Is that an oscilloscope based system? It would seem the other portion of the system they used to check the emitted exhaust gasses was infrared based but I can only assume the "DataScope" is likely a computerized oscilloscope.

  7. seriously, you get all the terms wrong, it was was dwell and points gap you were doing, the timing was after, you are just getting in the way, let karl do his thing and you go out and chase down your mcflurry with protein powder like a little pumped up twit.

  8. That is a lovely old merc. I've three not as old but all cast iron block straight sixes. Fantastic engines. All sons of this beautiful 280.

    Great work guys.

  9. Karl-Heinz should get his own YouTube channel. With subtitles, because I don't speak German, although learning it shouldn't be too hard as Arabic includes a lot of the sounds.

  10. We still can see this kind old grandpa Benz in Cuba and much better job than these two British mechanics……To see is to believe………..STF……………………………………………..

  11. This actually hurt my feel bads. A car this beautiful should have been restored back to its original splendor. I want to like this series so much……but It makes me soooo sad that this car is going to be used for a rally, and not shined up in some nice drive, and being loved the way it should. Not too many left now. And now its…well its ruined isn't it. 🙁 I will forgive you this time Alex. Being cute doesn't hurt 😉 …but what you did to this car does 🙁 Well, carry on then. I hope next series is something I can once again stand behind. All the new bits on this old car? Why? Its like giving your 80 year old granny a tit job. Sure it looks great after its done, but you just shouldnt do it, it's just not right, man. (Never do this to a classic PLEASE…its just not right mate)

  12. Gotta love the white and blue plastic caps on the license plate. Perfection, where perfection is needed 😀 12:48

  13. Love your work but this has nothing on the RX-8 series, you need to hire Josh 🙂 LOL, Edit: Hang on i have been duped this is not Car Throttle, WTF

  14. This build is epic! I'm right in the middle of restoring a 1958 180D ponton and can totally respect the efforts you guys are putting into this car. Can't wait to see it finished!

  15. Why, in all these builds, is the oil only changed after revving the nuts off the engine? If you know nothing about a car that has an appalling underside, would you not drain all the fluids first! Spark plugs before oil? Nup. Just Nup… 🙂

  16. "Putting a tachometer in because it currently has a clock we don't need"… Proceeds to install the tachometer bracketed off the A pillar like a 90's rice burner. For that factory look.

  17. 9:00
    Alex: you've also been busy, so what have you been doing?
    Marcel: yeah uh… Speaks German
    Me: damnit, so close to being able to understand these people.

  18. At the start of the series I was concerned that you were going to butcher what is rather a lovely old car. I'm glad to see that you haven't and that the process could partially or mostly be reversed if the next owner wants.

    I love the spotlights, by the way.

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