At SCHAD Oldtimer Manufaktur, we restore and repair your vintage car with passion, bringing our many years of experience to bear. All work is carried out by highly qualified experts, with several master craftsmen employed in every area.
Rare and valuable vintage cars often arrive at our workshop. However, that we are entrusted with the task of restoring the floorpan of the convertible version of the legendary Bond car was a special sign of confidence in our expertise. Only 123 DB5 Convertibles were ever built, and the few still in existence are all, without exception, in the hands of true connoisseurs.
The work on this car called for particular skill on the part of our master craftsmen, since the British are better known for their daring secret agents than for perfect dimensional accuracy or well-thought-out body construction. After an initial assessment by means of endoscopic examination and dry ice blasting, the underbody underwent granule blasting. Then, after detailed discussions with the owner of this gem of a car, who approved all planned measures, the actual restoration work began.
The floorpan of a convertible is subject to extreme stresses and strains, and an especially elaborate design was employed to address this in the DB5. Parts of it consist of as many as three or four different layers of sheet metal to ensure the stability of the construction, and they are often in places which are difficult to reach.
Since many original parts were either no longer available, or, if they could be procured, did not meet our standards of dimensional accuracy, the virtuosos on our bodywork team manually rebuilt large areas of the construction themselves, in months of meticulous work. Finally, a straightening rack that had been specially configured for the DB5 was employed, in order to ensure an optimal fit.
Now this DB5 is once again perfectly equipped to save the world in the name of Her Majesty. Or at least to make the hearts of all vintage car lovers beat a little faster.
A new door for the Mercedes-Benz “Adenauer” Roadster
A race against time in the run-up to a rally
For months, Mr H. had looked forward to taking part in a long-distance rally in his 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300S Roadster. Three weeks before the rally, the door lock suddenly seemed to jam. Mr H. requested us to adjust the lock. Once we began the repair work, we quickly discovered the reason for the jamming lock: old accident damage to the driver-side door. Had the door merely been bent in the accident, we could have postponed the repair until after the rally.
However, it turned out that after the previous repair the door was no longer completely stable, which meant that it was "soft" and its fit changed arbitrarily. Unless this defect was remedied, it naturally would not be possible for Mr H. to drive the car in the rally. Replacement with an original door in good condition would have been the appropriate solution, but it was impossible to obtain a suitable door in such a short period of time. A temporary repair with uncertain results was not an option either, given the challenges the car would soon be facing in the rally.
Although the date of the rally was drawing near, Mr H. decided to have the door fully rebuilt at SCHAD Oldtimer Manufaktur. In models of that period, the door still consists of a frame on which the sheet-metal panels are mounted. The first step was to reconstruct the frame. We began by carefully comparing the dimensional accuracy of the front wing and the rear side panel, and of the left side and the right side of the car. Here we encountered another surprise: The section of the car frame underneath the running board had been damaged in the accident as well.
It was pushed in by 3 cm, leading to a significant difference between the left and right sides of the vehicle. The car frame under the door thus had to be straightened before we could begin rebuilding the door itself. Now time was becoming very tight indeed. We began working extra shifts. Since almost all of the tasks involved could only be carried out one after the other, the car body construction team worked twelve hours a day, and through the whole weekend as well, in order to ensure that the work would be completed in time for the long-anticipated rally.
The frame was completed in three days, and the door was fully rebuilt in another eight. The two-layer anti-corrosion protection, requiring at least 48 hours’ drying time, and the subsequent high-quality paint work took another weekend. Keeping up this intensive pace and working overtime was the only way we were able to get the car ready in time. We carried out the last step, conservation with oils and waxes. And then, the all-important moment: the mounting of the door on the "Adenauer".
The fit was perfect, and the colour was a perfect match as well. When the door closed snugly and the lock clicked - with the typical solid Mercedes feel - we all breathed a sigh of relief. Two days before the rally, we handed over the key to the beautiful Mercedes-Benz Roadster, with its "new" door, to Mr H. He greatly enjoyed the rally.
A minor dent with major consequences
When old damage and corrosion come to light, an accident can lead to more than just a repair
Vintage cars gain their charm with age, but the passage of time often leaves its mark. Many of them have already undergone numerous repairs over the decades, or received a new coat or two of paint. Usually such repairs and touch-ups do not meet current standards. Since we now see such cars not only as financial assets, but as cultural assets as well, today’s owners expect a much higher level of quality and authenticity when repairs are carried out to their precious cars. As a result, what may start out as a repair often ends up as a partial restoration.
This was precisely the case with Mr D. and his beautiful Mercedes 190 SL. He brought the car to our workshop with a dent in the boot. As we began working on the rear panel and the floor of the boot, several stopgap repairs to deal with earlier damage were revealed.
The vintage car had apparently suffered accident damage to its left rear side a long time earlier. The left side panel was compressed in the accident, but when repairs were carried out at that time, it had not been adequately reshaped. To compensate for the fact that the vehicle was 1.5 cm shorter on the left-hand side than on the right, a layer of tin was simply applied as a quick fix. That was not unusual in those days, because this solution was much simpler and cheaper than a meticulous professional repair.
Our work in the SCHAD Oldtimer Manufaktur now necessarily involved correcting the makeshift repairs that had been carried out back then. We removed the old tin, and extended the whole left rear wing of the car through laborious and time-consuming panel beating. It took a day and a half until the left-hand side of the 190 SL had been restored to its original dimensions. We then had to make final adjustments to ensure the accurate fit of the boot lid and all of the mounted parts.
Only then did we complete the repair for which the owner had originally brought the car to us. And thanks to the professional rework of the previous repair, the Mercedes 190 SL had even increased in value.
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