Mercedes Kit Cars
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I built these two 1929 Mercedes Kit Cars in my single car garage in Grove, Oklahoma 1986-1987.
The first kit came from Laurence Machine Shop in Grove. He got in kahoots with the boat shop across the street from his business. The fellow in the boat shop made the molds at an investment of $10,000. Ten bodies were made. That would be the red one pictured. Laurence had started building the first car, but they had pretty much given up on it. I offered to wire the car and get it running in exchange for the red body. I built the frame from 4" channel with a Ford Pinto front end. The 289 Ford engine came out of my old '66 Ranchero. Gave the rest of the Ranchero to the Hicks Brothers Salvage. I manufactured all the bumpers, dash, etc. When the car was finished, I put it up for sale and lo and behold, another fellow in town was having a complete factory kit car built at the local Oldsmobile dealership. The dealership had very little done to the car, and he had dropped tons of pesos in the build so far. This was a complete kit car--bumpers, seats, mirrors, tailights, all of the doo-dads. Cost of an entire kit car was $10,000.
He saw that this was going to cost him an awful lot of money to finish his car so he offered me $10,000 and the kit in exchange for my completed replica 1929 Mercedes. So I made the deal and finished the factory Mercedes. If you look real close you can see two main differences in the pictures. First would be that the factory kit car had round tubular bumpers, mine were hand made and appeared much like a Model A Ford bumper. Second was that it was powered by a Pinto engine. I wasn't too happy about that but I put a cam in it and a four barrel carburator. It helped the power a bit, but was nothing like the first car, with the 289.