Lots of Potential! 1967 Mercedes 230SL

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It goes without saying that some people are eternal optimists. It also goes without saying there’s a sucker born every minute. Put the two together and dangerous things can happen. Barn Finds reader Olaf E. spotted this very burnt and very much near gone 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL here on the Beverly Hills Car Club website. We’re told it has potential; what do you think?

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Now, it goes without saying the boys at BHCC have a knack for finding some diamonds in the rough. However, they also find cars that are just plain rough. What are the possibilities for something like this burned-out hulk of a Pagoda? It does one thing for me, which is that it makes me feel like my projects and the price I paid are downright sensible in comparison to the $11,500 asking price here.

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Now, whether it sells for anything close to that is unlikely, but I more want to know who held onto a car that otherwise should have met its demise via metal shredder years ago? The age of the corrosion indicates to me that this Mercedes was wrecked long ago, but that’s just a guess. No matter what the story, I would love to be a fly on the wall for some of the calls BHCC receives regarding dilapidated collector cars ready for retrieval.

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The interior – if this is possible – is even worse than the rest of the car. There are few, if any, usable parts left, and for a car that can effectively be rebuilt with new, OEM parts directly from Mercedes, I see little value in a hulk like this. But the seller seems to keep finding these near-dead projects, which would indicate someone keeps buying them. What would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. Alan (Michigan)

    Crispy.

    Maybe a parts source for another one, but I can’t fathom why anyone would consider restoring this car. It is 100% a mess. Anyone who has attempted to refinish sizzled sheet metal will tell you that the rust just seems to always find its’ way back.

  2. Mark S Member

    Mmmmmmm, screech, grown, shudder, shudder, fold, squeak, rattle………..CUBED……!

    • Jerry

      I’d run it through twice to make sure.

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    Pass….no comment…..Next ??

  4. JoeR

    The burnt cars they have for sale are probably victims of the California wildfires.

  5. Veloce33

    If it’s a 1967 I believe that would make this a 280SL, not a 230. Not that it really matters a this point, it’s yard art.

    • Woodie Man

      No. I had a ’67 230SL…just a matter of a smaller displacement engine

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    As a Firefighter I can tell you, ANY structural metals that exceed 430 degrees in a confined space for an extended period of time WILL suffer integral damage regardless of anyone’s hopes. Would you want to rebuild a house that it took Firefighters 3 hours to put out because of it’s “supposed” bones? Leans towards no..they get bulldozed.

    • Alan Brase

      Drinkin:
      You might double check your sources. Steel MELTS at 1370C or 2500F. It BEGINS TO LOSE strength at 538C or 1000F. Furthermore, heating might allow it to deform but should not affect the strength of mild steel one iota, once cooled. Otherwise, how could one do OE fabrications by WELDING?
      WRT corrosion, most OE paint lines had cleaning and phosphoric acid wash as one of the first steps in the paint process.
      This might be a viable donor for a rusty or rather extremely bent car’s restoration. But the cost of the aluminum alloy doors alone is pretty high I think. Amazingly a few years ago, many parts were available new from Daimler-Benz. and the price, while high, was not as crazy high as Ferrari or Porsche.

      • Ron500E

        I’m redoing a Pagoda and most of the parts are available from MB, and you’re right, not as expensive as Ferrari or RR.
        For example, a new master cylinder – $240 or so from online places, brake cylinders – $75 or so each I think. Genuine MB.

  7. Glen

    Unbelievable.

  8. Ron500E

    I’m glad to see that BHCC’s reputation is intact.

  9. Jim

    Notwithstanding the fact that the metallurgy on this MBZ is so far gone, it’s unsafe for anyone to restore and put back on the road, the people that are selling it are some of the biggest scam artists in SoCal. Further note, they are not located in Beverly Hills, they run out of a seedy E. LA location surrounded by wrecking and disposal yards. I think this was on purpose as they can always just convert their used car sales yard into one of the former when reality sets in.

  10. Glen

    That Firebird for $12,500 , or this for $11,500 ?

  11. Dan h

    I can pretty much rule out that there is ZERO usable parts this Benz. Maybe pull the grill, spray paint it silver and put it on a wall in the garage, but that about it.

    • Mvm

      Maybe a nice grill / bbq

  12. Alan Brase

    You guys are all so negative. This car did not get that hot, I agree it probably was a wild fire. 10 or 15 minutes. Hot enough to melt the hood but not the trunk. Not the radiator (BUT perhaps that is brass?)
    My guess is that nearly all the steel or iron parts are restorable. WAY TOO expensive, I agree, but if it were for your kids college tuition, would you offer it for sale for $500?
    I saw a 1976 Porsche 912 E on Copart went for $100 a year ago and it was twice as bad as this. All that was left of the engine was the crank with the rods and pins and a silver cooled puddle underneath and the 4 cylinders off to the sides. Yet, it would still make more sense to cut that Porsche’s floor pan into patches than to buy and install a new $1500+ floor pan on a rusty car. I would have got it myself if it was not 1500 miles away.
    EVERY ferrous part is usable. This is a MB SL.
    I remember a famous quote: If you think you can or you think you can’t- either way you are right.
    The only thing wrong with this is the price. It’s a parts car or frame (unibody) donor for sure.

    • Dan h

      The valve cover is melted. Aluminum melts at around 1200 degrees. The metal on the body HAS gone through molecular changes during this heating process.
      It’s a goner and SHOULD be scraped. Period.

      • Alan Brase

        MIld steel does not undergo any significant molecular changes that would be relevant. It is normal to fusion weld them with MIG, TIG, gas flame or Plasma. without any noticable destressing treatment.
        You are correct that the new thin high strength steels are heat treated and might be adversely affected in a structure fire.
        I’ve been heating red hot and shrinking fro 40 years.
        I guess I’m wrong?

  13. Mark

    15 years ago a car dealer friend invited me along to a professional auto auction in the area. Among the sea of trucks and SUV’s, there were a handful of classics that floated through, including one of these little pagodas. Black with a removable hard top, it had been crunched in the front passenger fender, but otherwise was clean and perfectly usable. As the seller queued up prior to the auction block, he said he’d let it go to me for $2,500 as is. Not realizing it was a convertible, I declined. Yep. I’m an idiot. I did have the thrill of being the high bidder on my dream car, a 1986 Porsche 930 turbo with 50K on the clock. Unfortunately, my $25K offer was just shy of the seller’s unlisted reserve. This was back when it was still possible to buy a Jag XKE convertible for $25 grand in daily driver condition, and an XKE coupe for half that because ‘nobody’ wanted them.

  14. Jeffro

    Only potential I see…is a good chance at getting some kind of staph infection

  15. Keithk

    Funny when you consider that the location of the Beverly Hills car club is 15 miles from the actual Beverly Hills but only .7 of a mile from US metal, a scrapyard/recycling center. Hmmmm.

    • Ron500E

      Time to bypass BHCC and go directly to the source….

      • Alan Brase

        Yes. The more direct source would be Copart. Anyone with ID can join. Some sales are restricted to dealers or salvage yards, but they seem to have about 100,000 insurance auctions going on at any one time. Pretty likely they sold this one recently. WRT Beverly Hills: at least the pictures seem honest. Of COURSE the price is 2 to 4 times what it is worth. Who knows what they actually sell for. MUCH less, I’m sure.

  16. doug6423

    Still a lot of good parts on the car. If it was closer I’d make an offer. If ‘Barnfinds’ would let me, I’d send a picture of a 190SL I got 5k for. The picture shows it sitting in the back of my 98 Ford 15 passenger van… So anything is possible.

  17. Mr. TKD

    Nope. Next.

  18. Joe Nose

    It has potential. Yeah, right. It has the potential in its next life to be a refrigerator or dishwasher.

  19. Fred W.

    As George Costanza would say… Sweet fancy Moses!

  20. Dairymen

    There’s nothing that ductape & baling twine can’t fix, or maybe there is…

    It’s worth $0.35/lbs

  21. Bob Hess

    I like the yard art and bbq comments. Bbq in the trunk, bushes in the passenger compartment, a tree in the engine bay and the block turned into a wine rack.

    Bob

  22. Matt Member

    Rod it.

  23. kyle skiles

    Turn the front into a desk and the back a couch! :-)

  24. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Is that the price in peso’s? it’s gotta be in peso’s.

  25. ACZ

    One useable part……….the VIN plate

  26. Brian

    Run like the wind!

  27. Mike Burnett

    Many years ago when I was just out of my teens and longed to be a Rolls Royce owner, I bought a RR Corniche convertible in the same condition (the owner parked it in his warehouse and set fire to the lot as an insurance scam that did not work out, so in addition to the fire it suffered the warehouse roof falling on it).

    When the transporter guy dragged it up onto the Platform it split completely in two where the seats used to be and somebody more optimistic than myself bought it from me for just the price of the transporter service, about £200 ($280-ish). I would love to know what he did with it.

  28. Tommy

    Aluminum and fire, winner fire every time! what a mess, potential, HA HA HA HA!

  29. Mike Holden

    That’s an expensive boat anchor and bigger than most of us could use.

  30. Gstegall

    I have a 1990 300 SL that I paid $4,000 for 4 years ago. Looks great, everything works (including the top). It is my daily commuter car. I get compliments often. But this pagoda really speaks to me, besides my mental issues.

  31. Gstegall

    I have a 1990 500 SL that I paid $4,000 for 4 years ago. Looks great, everything works (including the top). It is my daily commuter car. I get compliments often. But this pagoda really speaks to me, in spite of my mental issues…

  32. cyclemikey

    You can debate the metallurgy till the cows come home. But anyone who’s tried to resurrect sheet metal this badly burned, warped, stretched, and oxidized is will tell you that it’s a quixotic effort, at best.

    If it were a one-off treasure worth millions, it might be worth the old college try. But it’s not, and it’s not.

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