By Brandon Christiansen | November 8, 2010
During this year’s SEMA Show, we have seen everything from solid automotive gold to the equivalent of automotive crap. Our Ferrari 458 cups runneth over and our CamaroBird gauges are set to full. Yet during all of this orgasmic car porn we found one car that truly stopped us in our tracks: “Mercedes Bent”.
Mercedes Bent started out as a dream in the creator’s mind (Rich) of taking a 1960’s Mercedes 190 SL (a gorgeous but seriously under powered car) and turning it into modern day barn burner. The 2 year long trek from idea to completed project began by working in conjunction with many of the greatest hot rodders in the industry.
First, Rich had to find 2 clean early 60’s 190 SL’s to begin the 13 month build process. Why two you ask? Well, Rich’s vision involved putting a “lightly massaged” 190 body on a 2006 600 SL chassis. He didn’t want just any 600 SL. He decided to use a fully kitted out bi-turbo V12 Renntech 600 SL pumping out an earth rotating 650 horses. In order to get the Gisele Bundchen like body panels to fit the muscular 600 SL chassis, Rich and the boys at Hot Rods & Custom had to graft and smooth pieces from one 190 SL to the other. When all was said and done the finished body work was widened an extra 8 inches and extended an additional 14 inches to accommodate the modern underpinnings.
The body was only the beginning, as Rich envisioned a finely detailed car with all the proper looks and trimmings that a modern day 190 SL would have. The luscious interior and dash had all been custom made to Rich’s strict standards, along with the coachwork found in the trunk. When you bought a Mercedes of this caliber back in the day, it came with matching luggage. Rich wanted the same, so he had a custom luggage set made for his custom trunk.
Rich focused the same appreciation for detail in the massive front grille and retro-modern 19 inch wheels. The grille was milled from a single 400lbs chunk of billet aluminum making it a true custom one-off. The wheels feature a static center hub cap, meaning the center disc does not rotate with the rest of the wheel (ala a Rolls Royce). Rich wanted to stay true to the 190 SL’s paint scheme, and with the help of BASF, laid down a beautiful satin crème finish.
The final touches were made to the symbols and door kick plates updating them to the “Mercedes Bent” name. When asked why he chose that name, Rich said “back in my day ‘bent’ meant something different from the norm or unusual”, which this Mercedes couldn’t be more anymore of. We’d like to thank Rich for seeing his dream through to reality and sharing it with us at such a fitting stage as SEMA.
[Photos by Grant Mikesh, Words by Brandon Christiansen]