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1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster


BRZN
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I picked this car up, Friday afternoon, two weeks ago. Perfect time to work on it, as my garage is currently empty. I knew this was going to be a long job. It's a 37 year old, rust free, Mercedes that spent the first 20 years of its life in the south; North Carolina, then into Florida before residing in Pennsylvania becoming a weekend fun car. The car is all original, single stage, paint except for the center section of the driver's side door, between the pin stripes and door belt line trim, that's base coat/clear coat.

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She's a decent 20 footer

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The main reason I got my hands on her was that the owner's husband had let something he was washing the car with dry on the paint, in the direct sun. Most of the damage was to the flat surfaces, but some was down the sides too, especially under the belt line trim.

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These marks ended up being more than water spots, whatever had dried on the paint had actually removed pigment. It left the obvious spots, but also left a haze on the surface. Some of the haze was oxidation of the single stage red paint, and some was from the cleaner. Here's a before and after of some of the paint damage:

Before

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After

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Got started Saturday morning

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Rinsed, foamed, washed, and clayed. Clay mitt to the entire car, then back over the glass and flat surfaces with Visco Clay. Rinsed again and dried with my Master Blaster Revolution.

No change to the paint damage

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A thorough inspection showed paint missing on most sharp edges and thin spots on the tops of the front fenders, the top of the passenger's side door, and a spot on the hood

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I left the engine bay alone on this one, other than cleaning up the radiator core support and cowl.

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21 hours were spent just polishing. I cut in most panels with my Rupes iBrid Longneck Nano after taping off the edges of the surrounding panels (I went through 2 full rolls, 55'/roll, of low tack Detailing Tape). After cutting in with the Nano I'd move to the Swirl Killer Mini, and follow that with the 15mm Swirl Killer on the larger panels. Most areas were worked with Paint Correction Polish on an Orange Pad, and then followed  up with Paint Finishing Polish on a White Foam Pad. The Trunk lid seemed to have the most paint, and was in the worst shape. There I started with a Blue Foam Pad using Heavy Correction Compound before moving on to the PCP.

The scratches seen in the video were deep. It appeared the car had been parked for some time with the sun baking the passenger side of the trunk lid. The driver's side of the deck lid corrected pretty well, and didn't have the same amount of damage.

I got most of the spots out of the paint:

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The above pic was taken from the same location as the other two above showing the spotting.

 

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Once done with the hood I realized there was no possibility of perfection, I was going for a decent 5 footer.

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The single stage paint didn't take long to clog up pads.

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I went through three sets

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They cleaned up well with Eco All Purpose Cleaner for a while, but eventually were too full of pigment to use again.

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The interior was fully detailed too

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Black Trim Restore was applied to the faded pieces of trim before all the trim was covered with Ceramic Trim Coating.

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All chrome and stainless trim was worked with Adam's Metal Polishes #'s 1 & 2 and topped with Brilliant Glaze. The paint received Liquid Paint Sealant,  wiped down with Detail Spray and then a coat of Patriot 24 hours later.

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I believe I accomplished the car as a decent 5 footer.

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Follow me on Instagram to see more pics of the progress @ brzndave.

Edited by BRZN
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  • BRZN changed the title to 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster

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