Earlier this month, I provided a profile on 21 year old Grady Eger in the article Profiles of Young Car Enthusiasts: Grady Eger. At that time, I invited Grady to be a “guest blogger,” which he gladly accepted.
Grady provided a deeper background on his story below, and will make regular appearances to keep us updated on his vehicle journey. Until then, here is Grady’s first guest blog:
Green Over Beige, by Grady Eger
Drive… it’s a very simple word. However, it pertains to a lot of us out there. Working towards our careers, life at home with family, or even our passion. My latest project is a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL. It’s sea-foam green over a very worn beige interior. To most walking by, would never turn their head. Never even raise an eyebrow to this 30 year old hunk of German sheet metal and leather. However, every car has its story and starts with one thing in mind. Drive.
An Historian at Heart
I love old things. As an avid historian I have found myself drawn to objects that are way beyond my time. I lust over WW2 memorabilia, classic radios, or maybe even an old pair of skis. But they all have one theme in mind. A story of its past and the owners who once held them. I am just properly fascinated by that idea. That someone bought this item or was issued this new, and it has SURVIVED all of these years.
Now I am holding it in my hand, or in the case of my Mercedes or Lexus LS400, I am driving that history down the road. Sure people my age may love the latest and greatest thing because it gets attention from others, or it’s a talking point at lunch with your buddies. Although, I have come to find that the most genuine and humble conversations are from those who used to own one of them.. Such as the car, the radio, or the skis. So that’s why it keeps bringing me back to one thing. The story.
A Little Detective Work
In the depths of my constant search for the next project. I came across a blurry picture of what looked like an old Mercedes. I did some digging on the post and I found it was exactly what I was looking for–the long wheelbase edition of the W126 Mercedes S-Class family. I was immediately trying to get a hold of the owner as soon as possible–when the hamster starts running you better put me between a rock and hard place, or in this case a land yacht. Because nothing is going to slow me down.
I eventually find out where the car is located just a few hours west of me in a town with quite literally no stoplights. I call up my good friend Matt to assist me in this endeavor, and only a few days after I find the car I am en route to pick it up. The car was buried under some trees and had most of the Michigan landscape growing inside of it. Taking one big step back I realized, it was perfect! I handed over the cash and loaded it up on the the trailer and I was on my way back to start the next adventure.
Assessing the Car’s Needs
The first major project was to get the car cleaned and assess all major components to see what needs to be tinkered with right away. I stripped almost the entire interior down to the bare metal and used a mixture of steam and mold cleaner to remove as much of the contamination as I could. Checking fluids, plugs, wires, hoses, gaskets, bushings and anything else I could see after removing hundreds of acorns, leafs, and dirt. After about 30 hours of work I got the car looking and more importantly smelling A LOT better.
As of right now the biggest things I will be addressing is the fuel system, brakes, tires, and some worn out suspension. But the car still holds its own as parts are hard to come by, but very rewarding to find. I also presented the idea to friends in doing a color change after I replace some of the tired panels. However, the mechanic in me will have to hold out on that for some time. The challenge and the opportunity to make this piece of history my own is extremely exciting especially at a young age.
More than Just the Mercedes
In the article Profiles of Young Car Enthusiasts: Grady Eger, the Vehicle Nanny mentioned my interest in motorcycles. That story still applies. I have had 3 different bikes all before 1986 so more on that another time.
But why am I here typing this article about an old Mercedes I found in field that cost me less then a new iPhone? I wanted to share this to anyone that feels like the passion for cars isn’t right for them. Perhaps the industry is rejecting their interest because they don’t like the new breed of super computers on wheels called a “car.” I love history as well as cars. I found a blend of the two that always keeps me looking for the next big adventure. I plan to bring more updates about the Mercedes as the progress prevails through the winter months. Simply put, I found that my passion for cars lies in those vehicles that are truly beyond my time.
Supporting the Hobby
I am glad that Grady wanted to share a deeper background about what drives him in the automotive hobby, and hope this inspires you to think differently about car ownership. This is the intent of Vehicle Nanny, and certainly helps nurture the automotive interests of budding car enthusiasts.
In addition to sharing stories like this, I am providing ongoing support of automotive programs designed to inspire and educate young car enthusiasts through the sale of items in the Vehicle Nanny Merchandise Store. All proceeds go directly to the Hagerty Automotive Youth Program, so I hope you can find a fun item for yourself that also supports our budding car enthusiasts.