The Car

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Mercedes 230 SL – Pagoda – 1966

Altena purchased the car as a restoration project in 2014.

The car was completely stripped bare, repaired and repainted.
A roll cage and a larger 90 litre fuel tank were fitted. Duel fuel pumps are fitted in case there is a problem with one of them and the tank is equipped with a drain plug in case we find we have bad fuel on board. We found a good Mercedes 280 engine with a five speed manual gearbox were fitted . A new lighter and bigger radiator was fitted and a bigger cooling fan replaces the old heavy MB fan.

Suspension and brakes were improved.
Special Reiger shock absorbers replace the standard boge/bilstein units. Upon the advice of one of the ERA rally mechanics( sweeps) we have ordered and fitted Maxiss R19 rally tyres. This is a departure of the β€˜Van’ tyres that we have always used on previous rallies. We take two spare tyres and one spare wheel.

The rear suspension/ springs are supported by small inflatable airbags to deal with the off road sections and the extra weight. The totals weight of the car including the roll cage is now 1275 kg instead of 1350kg of the standard Pagode without the roll cage. The interior was stripped to save weight and fitted with rally seats and belts and dual electronic trip meters.

There is a new fuse box which makes repairing or replacing the fuses much easier. After the Trans America Challenge I have persuaded Anty that we do the P2P rally with the soft top rather then the hard Pagoda Top that we had planned to use.

Driving with the top off, as we did most of the time in the USA, is so much more comfortable than with the top on. Its cooler most of the time and we get less dust in the car then with a closed car. We have a wind deflector fitted behind the roll cage.

Compared with the 280SE, room in the car is at a premium so we need to be very careful with what we can take . Essential spare parts, tools, tent and sleeping bags and clothes.