Last revised: 2-7-2011

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Modified 1968 Mercedes 280 SL: the result

1968 Mercedes 280 SL 6.3 front-side viewAnd here is the finished car. The elegant lines of the 280 SL roadster have been retained. Exterior modifications include a change in color scheme (from white & black to black & red), new 16 x 8 inch alloy wheels (from a late model 500 SL) and eliminated side-marker reflectors. Of course the big roll-bar and the non-contemporary wheels stand out most.

1968 Mercedes 280 SL 6.3 rear-side viewFrom the rear the intimidating exhaust end-pipes are very noticeable. They clearly state that this is no standard SL but one with a bite.
Derek reckons that the top speed of this car is it least 140 mph (225 kph), but he hasn't tested it yet. Also the acceleration time hasn't be tested, but it's certainly a hairy car to drive: when accelerating hard the car goes sideways as well as straight ahead. With full throttle the car apparently is quite a handful and hard to keep in one lane. But lots of fun, according to Derek.

1968 Mercedes 280 SL 6.3 interiorThe interior is nicely detailed and completely redone in fine German leather. Mercedes-style headrests have been added to the seats. The 6.3 badge of the engine donor car on the lid of the glove compartment informs the passengers of the car's special potential. Because the steering box has been lowered to fit the engine the steering column is slightly angled.

1968 Mercedes 280 SL 6.3 engineThe very crowded engine compartment of the 280 SL 6.3. Not only the engine of the 300 SEL 6.3 has been adopted, the complete drivetrain has, including the rear axle and the front and rear sway bars. Attachment points had to be added to the 280 SL body to properly mount the rear axle of the 300 SEL 6.3. This was done by cutting the needed section out of the donor 300 SEL and welding it into the 280 SL body.
In the engine compartment the air suspension pump of the 300 SEL has been replaced by a power steering pump (from a later generation S-class Mercedes). The engine itself hasn't been modified, apart from the new exhaust headers, so its specifications are pretty much standard.

Derek has made his 280 SL into a very personal car and completely adapted it to his liking while still remaining the spirit of the car by mostly using contemporary Mercedes parts and avoiding wild exterior modifications. If AMG had been in the tuning business in 1968 they probably would have created a similar car. Now Derek has done this thirty-odd years later in good style.

For those of you who'd like to see (and hear) this car in motion Derek has provided a video on YouTube:

Thanks to Derek Jettmar for supplying all pictures and most of the info in this segment

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