Looking Good, Looking Better!

When you get a car that is almost perfect, where do you start? Do you fix anything? Do you not touch it? Any used car, especially any classic car, has things that need fixing. In the case of my 1985 380SL, I had 2 issues that could affect performance. Both needed special parts and both required putting the car on ramps to get underneath to fix it. So I started with the easier stuff: bodywork. There wasn’t much, but every little bit helps.

Remember, all the pictures here are thumbnails and you can click on them to see the full sized pic. I’m a week or two behind on blogging, so I’m documenting what I’ve done along the way, but it’s not exactly in “real time.” I’m also not writing everything up in order, since some items fit together in one topic.

I found three issues I wanted to take care of on the body. While I’m not normally focused on appearances, in the case of a car like this, it’s hard to not want it to look perfect. There’s also one item on this list that could affect the state inspection. While I have a year to wait on that, I’ve found if I put it off, I forget it.

FogLight-Fixed FogLight-BrokenThe Fog Light: This was perhaps the easiest part to fix. The before picture is on the left of this paragraph, the after picture is on the right. The lens was cracked and could affect state inspection. All I had to do is order a new lens, unscrew the screws holding the lens in, pull the old, and put in the new. I had originally intended to order 2 lenses, since the broken lens did not match the other fog light lens, but I forgot and ordered one, which was good, since the replacement lens matched the other perfectly.

RightBumper-Scratched RightBumper-CleanedThe Front Bumper: This was not a major problem, but somehow, a previous owner had scraped something on both sides of the front bumper, leaving white paint on the rubber corners of the bumper. This was an easy fix, but just took time and the magic ingredient: elbow grease. I got warm soapy water and a scrubbie that was not going to be harder than the rubber I was working on so it wouldn’t scratch it. I rubbed and rubbed — and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! Finally, the white was gone. Without the paint I could see more scratches that don’t show up in the photo. It looks just fine, but it’s one of those things I’ll remember down the road if I take this from excellent to mint condition. I may need to replace the at some point, but not likely. If I get that picky, I’ll probably be scared to drive the car when I need it!

Molding-MissingMolding-ReplacedMissing Molding: The rubber part of themolding on the right rear fender was missing. This wasn’t a huge challenge, but when looking at the molding, it looks like only one part is missing that can be just slid into place. It turned out I had to loosen a screw from inside the fender, then slide the entire molding off. It also looks like the new molding should be taken apart and slipped back in place, one part at a time. That’s not the case. If you find you’re replacing this same piece, the new molding should be replaced as one part. This was a small thing, but with it undone, I felt like the car was lopsided. It was one of the few “blemishes” on a great classic car body. Again, the broken one is on the left, the replaced one is on the right.

Three small repairs, but they’re the little things that make a bigger difference. Small work that I’m glad is out of the way.

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