One of the few cars featured in the "Cars" series by Andy Warholby Alina Moore, on LISTEN 03:26
When you hear the words “by Brabus” you automatically think about a heavily modified vehicle, however, the story here is a little bit different. It all starts with "Cars" - the famous series by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol (1928 to 1987). Daimler-Benz AG asked Andy Warhol to paint the "Cars" series back in 1986 to mark the centenary of the automobile. It asked for a total of 80 pictures showing 20 selected vehicles that marked the company’s history. Warhol could not complete the series: up until his death he realized a total of 36 paintings and 13 large-scale drawings, and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” is represented in one of these paintings.
Brabus’ Restoration Process
Mercedes launched the 300 SL back in 1954 and during its three short three-year life span only 1,400 vehicles were built. The model is no doubt one of the most famous vehicles Mercedes has ever built, and in 1999, it was voted "Sports Car of the Century." In modern times, the 300 SL is very difficult to purchase, and it is also very expensive: most units available sell for millions at auction. This story is about the vehicle with the number plate "EI-DR 1" - a unit produced in 1955 and privately owned for 39 years. Brabus bought the car in 2020 and realized this is no ordinary 300 SL. Not that the 300 SL is ordinary. The car is the prototype vehicle used for the "Cars" picture series.
After the purchase, Brabus started the restoration process on this vehicle, and it just now finished it. All the work was done as part of the Brabus 6-Star-Restoration - a process defined at its core by authenticity and immaculate attention to detail. The entire process required more than 4,500 hours of labor and installing countless new parts. However, despite all the work and updates, the restoration was done precisely to the same specification in which the sports car was once delivered as a new vehicle by Daimler-Benz.
The process started by removing all the paint and rust. After that, the body was restored to its original condition and was covered in a new coat of paint in the 300 SL’s original color: "silver grey 180 metallic." The work continued with the powertrain which was completely rebuilt by Brabus. After every single bolt and every component of the 300 SL’s engine has been restored, the 3.0-liter straight-six engine delivers exactly 215 horsepower - the exact amount of power delivered back in 1955. The engine received special ‘Classic’ lubricants from Motul that will ensure maximum reliability for daily driving. For both the chassis and brakes all the components were replaced with new ones. The cabin was reupholstered with the same leather and fabric materials as the original. Even all chrome accent elements in the cockpit are identical to the original 300 SL.
The car, along with the ‘Carsʼ series by Andy Warhol, will be on display in the Atrium of the Mercedes-Benz Museum from 21 to 26 June 2022.