Jul 15, 2019

Reliable, comfortable and a very unique two-tone Benz: Rudi and his 250

I always think that the world of cars is so unique. It gives me so many opportunities to meet people who share the same passion as me and thanks to social media I can connect with them instantly. That’s how I met Rudi. 

One day I saw a story on Instagram that he was with his car in my neighborhood. I immediately invited him for a coffee and a few days later I went to visit him in his garage. The place itself has an impressive story: it was an East German Police garage. There, he was working on his fire truck. I got to see his workshop, part of his Mercedes collection and of course his favorite 250 which was the protagonist of this interview. 

To share a bit of history of this Benz with you I asked Rudi some questions about his 250. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Tell me about you.

My name is Rudi, I am 30 years old and live in Berlin with my boyfriend. I used to be a car mechanic and spent the last 7 years in the German army as a soldier repairing trucks, tanks and recently started a new career in software development.

What was your first car?

My very first car was a VW Vento for a short time. When I was around 20 years old, I bought and sold a whole bunch of different cars, mostly Volkswagen and Audi from the ‘80s and ‘90s. After having a VR6 Golf, Corrado, Scirocco, Passat, and some VW busses, I ended up feeling home in a couple of Audi A8 that I used to drive daily for some years. Nowadays, I still own an Audi S8 for the winter.

How did you first become interested in cars and why especially in Mercedes?

Since I can remember, I was always highly interested in cars, trucks, and busses. My passion started in my childhood and never stopped.

The interest in classic Mercedes’ came after I bought my first Benz and drove it for the first time. It was exactly that red and white W114 that started my Mercedes Benz collection.

Talking about the collection, you have a couple of crazy Mercedes’, including a big bus. Can you tell us more about it?

After falling in love with Mercedes from the 1960s and 1970s models, I started collecting more and more of them, like a couple of W108, a W111 Fintail, a W116 V8 and some W123.

I always looked for something special, my collection includes a W108 hearse conversion from 1967 and a Mercedes 408 fire truck from 1969 as well as a V123 long-wheelbase for example.

The bus is a Mercedes O302 from 1970, 12m long and equipped with air-suspension and the rare 11.6 liter 6-cylinder engine with more than 1.000.000km. After looking for years for exactly that kind of bus, I found it in Sweden in 2017 and traded it unseen against my 1980 military Land Rover SIII.

How did you come across the W114?

The car belonged to a very good friend and Mercedes Benz collector who bought the W114 in the early ‘90s from a widow of the first owner and had it sitting in a barn in Bavaria for more than 20 years. We got introduced by another close friend who knew it is for sale and thankfully thought it might be interesting for me.

What condition was the car in when you bought it? 

It had all papers and only 36.000km, but after 20 years in that barn, it was covered in a thick layer of dust, all tires were flat and nothing on that car was moving anymore.

I recovered it in 2013 with a tow truck and brought it carefully back to life.

Did you work a lot on this car?

It was quite some work that most people don’t see at the end. I had to restore a lot on the mechanical side, replace the entire brake system and almost all rubber parts, do lots of welding on the typical spots and the carburetors had to be refurbished.

On the outside, I only changed some details, like some slightly lower springs, red taillights, and whitewall tires. The rest is still as I found it in the barn, just cleaner.

Tell me about the double tone, it was factory original?

The car was repainted in the ’80s but the two-tone combination is original. 576 “red” and 050 “white”, no fancy color names.

Mercedes Benz never offered that combination for the W114/W115. Some two-tone paints were available, mostly with dark roofs, but the red and white combination was a special order by the first owner.

In your Instagram account, I saw many journey photos with the W114. Which was the longest trip you ever took with it? Any issues?

I guess it was the first trip that was also one of the longest with that car. It was a very spontaneous and unplanned trip, starting as a small test drive after finishing the restoration, ending as a 4.500km road trip. I just drove south and randomly choose the next stops every few days. I visited a friend in Italy, watched the Rally Due Valli Historic and a crazy Citroen 2CV Stockcar Race in the night before continuing to Monaco. I spent some days at the French Riviera, driving up and down between Monaco and Marseille, then stopped in Paris for two nights. On the way back to Berlin I joined some friends at the BugShow in Spa, Belgium, for the weekend. As preparation for the trip, I loaded the trunk with some few clothes and lots of tools for every kind of emergency. In the end, there were no issues and no need for any tools. Since that trip, I take two weeks every year to take the 250 for a road trip south.

What’s your favorite detail? What do you love most about your car?

What I love most is driving it. I am impressed by the reliability and the comfort of these old cars.I use that one as a daily driver in the summertime since 2014 and it always makes me happy, no matter if I’m doing long-distance trips across the Alps or just take it to go to the supermarket. And I love how cars like that are able to connect people. No matter where I stop, someone wants to talk about it and that has started so many interesting conversations with so many different people.

Is there any other Classic or Mercedes you would like to have?

Yes, there are a lot. One of my dream cars is a Mercedes 600 (W100). I would like to have a 911, not the Porsche, the Mercedes 911. But I’m also open to other brands. I could see myself having a BMW 2002 or a Citroen Traction Avant for example or something less mainstream, like a Panhard. I’m not only fixated in Mercedes Benz, next to my Mercedes collection I always had classic cars of other brands, like Renault, Ford, Porsche, Land Rover, and Wartburg.

 

Follow Rudi on Instagram: @_rudij_

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