Getting Our Benz Ready to Rumble

We could have pussyfooted around the neighborhood, but we decided to do some rallycross testing instead.

Were we out of oil, or had we simply needed to blow the cobwebs out of this old tank?

With our 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 S now willing to start easily and the rest of the mechanics in passable form, it was time for our first real test drive. Logic would have us head around the block first, but after all, this is a nigh-indestructible Mercedes we are talking about. What could possibly go wrong?

We jumped on I-95 and instantly ran the old 230 S up to around 75 mph. We were shocked at how well the car rode and drove. A worn-out, nearly 50 year-old Mercedes drives like a modern car, once you fix a few things.

We were also very concerned with the trail of smoke we were leaving. We slowed down, and within five miles, the smoke trail had vanished. Were we out of oil, or had we simply needed to blow the cobwebs out of this old tank?

Turns out we were lucky. The more we drove the old girl, the smoother and better she ran. This car, despite the overly loud exhaust system, was actually fun to drive, and quite comfortable. A quick downshift into the exit ramp and a hard right foot on the accelerator also proved that these old fintail Benzes handle pretty damned well, too.

We had to run an errand, but one of us kept the car running since we were afraid to shut the car off. Upon leaving the parking lot, we stalled the car. Oh, crap! But, no, it started right back up and never stalled again.

It was time for our rallycross test. We have an alternate road home that is mostly dirt and goes through the Tiger Bay wilderness area. We went for broke, sliding the old Mercedes from corner to corner, kicking up a dust trail you could have seen from outer space.

This car was a hoot, and drove damned well, despite a few deficiencies that include an odometer and speedometer that don’t work correctly and a leaking clutch slave cylinder that is rapidly failing.

Oh well, dusty but happy we went back to the garage, certain that this car would be up for the rallycross in two weeks. It should be a lot of fun.

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