buford's barn cars PORTFOLIO

1954 Mercedes 300sl barn find

THIS 1954 Mercedes 300SL was made for a repeat customer in Virginia. I had performed a good amount of research on the 300SL and came across a good bit of information indicating that these had been abandoned throughout Eastern Europe and Russia during the cold war era. It was interesting to learn that this was the vehicle of choice for wealthy individuals that worked for the government. Fortunes were made and destroyed in just about the same amount of time when communism was at its peak. This Mercedes, and many more like it, are literally rotting away in storage facilities out in the East. The gunmetal gray was the most popular and that was the look I was after. I had gone with deep decay over quarter panels, edges, the upper roof line and the trunk by adding deep texture to the rust base. Needless to say I'm very satisfied with the end product.

Once all body finishing was complete I moved on to the details that add character to the model:

  • A piece of rough sawn red oak was cut to scale, treated and placed as a support for the hood.
  • A For Sale sign was made just for the customer for that personal touch.
  • A rotting cardboard box with two magazines from the 50s era sits on the driver's seat.
  • Each of the wheels have gone through a very intricate process that makes them look the way they're supposed to; warn, cracked and in major disrepair. By rotating each tire under calculated heat from a mapp gas torch I was able to pin down the exact look I was aiming for.  
  • As this vehicle would have been in a very moist environment as well, the chrome would have been literally eaten up. All of the chrome pieces were treated to give that look.
  • All of the windows were removed and all that is left are shards of glass.
  • The engine block and entire subchassis has been painted with various tones to replicate authentic engine components and is coated with gummy oil. You can almost breathe in and smell the engine grime!  
  • Loads of clumpy hay strands can be found strategically placed throughout the vehicle including the interior and top.
  • At this stage I'll go over the entire vehicle verifying all components have been properly reattached and that the finish is complete. I may airbrush some light shading of the final coat, add some dust or additional hay or shattered glass. In this particular case the model was basically complete and I'll move on to photography.

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