$400,000 abandoned Mercedes barn find restoration

We got to drive a Mercedes 280 SE that had been converted into a gorgeous masterpiece.
  • We traveled to Hungary to meet the team of restoration experts at Motor Classic, who take abandoned Mercedes-Benz barn finds and restore them into priceless classics
  • These vehicles were once some of the finest you could find on the road, before they were left to gather dust
  • The team from Tatabánya have become established in the restoration world, and we had to come and see a start-to-finish process first-hand

Published on Mar 6, 2024 at 9:23PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Mar 6, 2024 at 9:23PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Kate Bain

Alex Hirschi, aka “Supercar Blondie”, recently traveled to Hungary to meet the team of Mercedes barn find restoration experts at Motor Classic.

Once some of the finest cars you could find on the road, before they were left to gather dust, these guys take abandoned Mercedes barn finds and restore them into priceless classics.

Over the past 20 years, the team from Tatabánya have turned more than 250 car wrecks into classics worth over $50 million – and Alex got to see the start-to-finish process first-hand.

READ MORE! ‘Time capsule’ DeLorean uncovered in barn reveals a surprising twist

To kick things off, Alex took a sneak peek inside a barn which turned out to be full of hidden gems.

From a Daimler DE36 Landaulett once owned by the British royal family, to a 1967 Mercedes Pullman W100 which was the forerunner of the modern Maybach marque, these cars were in a poor state of repair.

But it was a Mercedes-Benz W111 280 SE that caught Alex’s eye, which she had the guys trailer to their workshop, where every step of the Mercedes barn find restoration is done in-house.

In the warmth of the workshop, the team began cleaning and disassembling the W111, with each part of the car going to individual sections of the workshop to be worked on by specialists.

What really sets Motor Classic apart is their ability to take each trim piece, mold it specifically to the car in preparation for chroming, before perfectly fitting it back onto the vehicle, all of which is done in-house at the company’s very own plating plant. 

That’s not even the half of it, as when it comes to a Mercedes barn find restoration of a model such as the 300 SL, it takes around 800 hours to prepare the vehicle to be hand-painted.

Restoring the interior is just as important as the exterior, and the upholstery process shows just how much detail goes into it.

One seat alone takes one week to make, whilst stripping and cleaning the car’s tachometer takes about three days.

Some of the cars restored by Motor Classic can take as long as 5,000 hours to complete, which equates to 208 days or close to seven months.

What’s really incredible, though, is that when the team is unable to source an original car part from the manufacturer, they model it in-house and then use a CNC machine to create it.

After being presented with a milled model of herself, Alex then got to see a finished W111 like the one she hand-picked from the barn.

A once dusty, neglected and pitiful looking car, it had been restored to its former glory and is now worth an incredible $400,000 – and Alex got to take it for a spin.

A massive thanks to the Motor Classic team for showing us around the workshop and letting us see first-hand how these beauties are restored.

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