Most things in life have a small beginning, you have a dream, you wake up, you want to do this gigantic project, the new day's
sunshine melts the dream, you're back to grid one. Now, we are created in God's image to repair and create something new. Take
for instance the Lord Jesus Christ the carpenters son, who will repair this present earth to like new condition, and righteousness
will rule. Then after His millennium reign He will create a new heaven wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Years back, when reading, that man will sit under his own fig tree during the Lord's millennium reign - I said to myself that I'd rather
drive a Mercedes Benz. The Lord gave me enough of them, they come out of my nostrils! My dear wife reminds me to sell a few.
Back to the thought of God's image.
1. The Repair Stage
In 1966 I bought a Mercedes Benz 300SE Coupe in Germany and on the way to the port of Bremerhaven, the engine blew on the
autobahn (my wife was driving, so at least I had someone to blame for the damage). Now what? Already played with the thought to
drop a 6.3 engine in the Benz. Got it hauled to AMG and they installed an entire 6.3 drivetrain in the Coupe. Came out good. A
year later, AMG made us a 300SE convertible with a ZF five-speed that came out quite nice. I still enjoy this car!
Looking over their shoulders in Affalterbach, I did one myself with two 70mm throttleplates. For calculations I used my big thumb,
closed one eye. It worked ok.
Emboldened by this, took a 300SEL 6.3 sedan and put eight 30mm throttleplates on the intake manifolds. Now this car looked
more like a Ferrari, impressive sound, fuel injection pump rack to be controlled while driving from the inside of the car. On the trip I
got 18 MPG and better.
Next project a 300SEL 6.3 Station Wagon, a German bankers Hot Rod Wagon.
But the we all grow up and look for more exciting projects. Never forget an issue of Mad Magazine. Here was this engineer at
work, burnt his hair on experiment one, blew out the windows of his cellar lab, but finally succeeded. You turned the page, the
curtain rose, and there he stood with the all new Ford Edsel.
2. The Never Before Stage
Emboldened once more, I set out to build a Grand Mercedes Benz 600 Coupe. Why not? You only need some untapped
courage to show that you can build a more pleasing coupe than the Factory, you be the judge. The known Nallinger Coupe looked
to me more like a 2-door sedan. So with the help of Franz Spies and his Meister Ferdie Ruettgers, and Der Lackmeister in
Landau, Germany, the Coupe got built and painted in metallic red, one of my favorite colors.
Four years ago a 300SE Coupe with a 6.3 drivetrain had been built with a F.A.S.T. computerized fuel management systems and
a KHM air intake plenum.
The old donkey tried thinner ice. Three years ago wanted to sell a Grand 600 Sedan at the Atlantic City Auction, and bought
instead a 1969 Chevy El Camino 396 with all the good stuff on the car, a totally restored Hot Rod. What fun to drive, I tell you with
the souped up engine this thing is FAST.
We also tried putting a Vortech Supercharger in a 1972 Grand Mercedes 600. Wow... 525 HP and 51% more torque than
Recently we had our M-100 Group Meet in St. Louis, and invited Paul Bracq, the designer of the Grand Mervedes Benz 600, and
his wife Alice to join us. What a meet, and what a presentation of Paul's designs over the years. Needless to say, Paul and myself
discussed a Grand 600 a la El Camino, and Paul said "why not"!!! Two weeks after his return to France, I opened my mail one
morning, and there were the renderings of several MB 600 El Caminos. One was chosen, the name changed to BENZOMINO,
and we proceeded to build it in a one man shop in rural Pennsylvania.The car features an improved front axle engine support of the
MB-140 chassis 600 oil filled engine mounts, entire rebuilt drivetrain, stainless steel exhaust with a little rumble, air-conditioning,
Becker 10 disc radio system with MB Quarts speakers, and a winch loading boom so I can load an engine or rear axle by myself.
A refinished burl wood interior with parchment leather seats, matching carpets and the standard hydraulic amenities make this a
very comfortable driving rig. Proof that you have created a stir is when the people passing you on the road whip out their
cellphones to take a photo of a Grand Mercedes Benz they never have seen before.
Stu Hammel, president of the M-100 Group predicts that when Paul Bracq and Karl Middelhauve are ready to enter an Old
Peoples Home, they will get two rooms next to each other. Stu could not have said this better, now wait a moment while "WE" put
another coat of wax on Paul's EL BENZO.
Grand Mercedes SL600 Silver Arrow Ramblings
Paul Bracq and Karl Middelhauve explored the possibility of building a Grand Mercedes Benz convertible/coupe.
A design concept was commissioned and Mr. Bracq delivered five drawings in October of 2009. Donor cars were a 1965 Grand
Mercedes Benz SWB parts car and a 2002 SL600 Mercedes Benz V-12 Silver Arrow (one of 100 limited edition cars). The
project started on February 4, 2010 and was completed on July 29, 2010. Just in time for Karl & Ruth Middelhauve's 50th Wedding
Anniversary on July 30.
Enjoy more details and two photo galleries of this one-of-a-kind Grand Mercedes SL600 Silver Arrow.