Tag Archives: W114

The Elegant Touch – Rory Hamilton’s 1974 Mercedes-Benz W115 240D

Words by Henry Phull / Photos by Steph Clarke


As of late the classic W114 and W115 Mercedes’ have been making a well-deserved comeback. One of the cars that started up this new found popularity in the UK is Rory Hamilton’s gorgeous W115 240D. I first came in contact with his car at the Ultimate Stance show back in 2014 when it was ‘mid-build’ and in a much more fragile condition. Since then, Rory has completely overhauled the Benz, resulting in a thing of pure beauty that oozes class wherever it goes. Unsurprisingly, Rory gets plenty of requests to use it as a wedding car – it’s certainly much cooler than any of the newer Mercs. An engineer for Rolls-Royce, Rory has always been interested in luxury cars, with Mercedes-Benz always on his radar, particularly the larger diesel cars with stacked headlights. “I have a great love of older engines and respect their simplicity and the quirky features that were applied to older diesel motors” Rory says, and mentions that his has a pull handle to start paired with a glow cherry, and an idle adjuster knob used for starting… “fantastically simple but effective”. Let’s take a look at how the build came about…



You may think the W115 is a strange choice of car, given Rory’s young age of 22, but I assure you, he has been through plenty of smaller and quicker cars over the years. “I’ve had more throw-away daily drivers than show cars, as I’m a lover of bangernomics” he explains. Starting off with Mk3 Golfs (five to be precise), to a modified Nogaro Blue Audi S3 which was eventually swapped for a street ported Mazda RX8. As fun as it was, the engine rebuild costs started to bankrupt him, leading to a sale and massive loss, but in hindsight it meant he was finally able to pick up the Mercedes-Benz we are showcasing today.



“I’ve always wanted a classic Mercedes-Benz” Rory exclaims. When he was growing up, there was a similar model just down the road from where he lived, which was literally part of the landscape. “The Benz had a bush growing out of it, smashed windows, and was covered in mould”, even so, he always wanted to own it. “I finally plucked up the courage to go and knock on the door of the house that I thought owned it” and it turned out that the chap had owned it from new when he was a politician, using it from 1975 to 1999 to commute to London from Portishead near Bristol. He simply parked it up because he wanted a newer car but couldn’t let the old one go. “Funnily enough the guy was also the president of the Mercedes-Benz Club of the UK for a few years and the very car in its terrible mimosa yellow colour is on the front page of the club magazines and cards.” he explains. However, he still wouldn’t sell it.



A year later Rory received a call out of the blue… The owner of the Benz had unfortunately passed away due to ill health and his family were offering the car at a price that he couldn’t refuse. Sadly, the car was in a bad state, and not worth saving, so Rory made the purchase as donor car. The engine, diff/driveshafts, full interior and a few other pieces were saved with parts ending up in Rory’s car, and the rest are kept as spares. If it wasn’t for this tired old example, Rory would have never had the final push to go out and build his own W115. Now he had a donor car, the hunt was on for a usable example and base for the project.



It was a 1974 W115 240D that caught Rory’s eye, the car was already in a respectable condition as it had been garaged and kept off the road for about six months prior. The paintwork was micro blistered, along with a few rough edges, but most importantly it was a solid car – most unlike his donor vehicle! After a deal was done, the top rad hose blew on the road home, disaster! Rory and an eager bystander ended up pushing the Benz up a motorway slip road, up a hill of course, until they were out of harm’s way. A temporary fix was issued with a piece of metal tube, jubilee clips and gaffer tape, which amazingly saw him the last 100+ miles home (with a constant cloud of white smoke left behind). So, not the greatest buying experience, but Rory cracked on regardless…



He spent a few months sorting out the motor, but even after changing the head gasket it was still not right and the problems were never-ending. Luckily, he had the donor car and engine. His Christmas was spent switching engines, along with a manual to auto swap which took some work. The engine itself is a stock OM616 4-cylinder 2.4 litre diesel lump, and the only modification made was to replace the old ‘loop’ glow plugs with a set of newer ‘pencil’ plugs. “This is probably the single best modification I’ve done to her as the old plugs (according to the manual) took between 30 seconds to a minute to glow, whereas the pencils take 10-15 and are much more reliable.” Rory explains. As he runs the car on 100% vegetable oil, good glow plugs are essential to get the car started with ease.



Eventually Rory pulled the head on the second motor and changed the valve stem seals and head gasket, along with all the manifold gaskets. Plus, every radiator hose with genuine Mercedes-Benz parts, a new oil cooler from Germany with swaged lines, uprated trans cooler also with swaged lines, a new water pump, reset the pump timing, fitted new vacuum hoses, and much more! In simpler terms, the engine was completely restored and made reliable for the many miles Rory now does in the car to various events all over the country. To finish things off, a full stainless twin exit exhaust system was created by Infinity Exhausts near Bath. The last six feet of each exit have been chromed for aesthetic purposes, and for an extra kick Rory added an electronic exhaust bypass valve just after the downpipe which means he can switch the exhaust to be extremely loud when he wants it to be.



With the engine and reliability issues sorted, it was time to think about the modifications we are really interested in, suspension! The idea from the beginning was to put the W115 on air ride. “I always wanted a bagged car” Rory explains, “I’d seen pictures of bagged Benz’s in the States particularly the ‘Colour of Money’ Benz and the ‘Steampunk’ Benz for those in the know”. Rory and a good friend of his took a few months to bag the car themselves, designing custom brackets and machining them to fit his chosen Slam Specialities RE-5 bags. They experimented with three different designs until they were completely satisfied with the drop and the way they sat on the car. The system was designed to use 1/2″ lines, so Rory ended up purchasing all the SMC 1/2″ valves from the States, along with a 8.5 gallon air tank, twin VIAIR 480c compressors and an Odyssey Red-Top battery.



“When I first started to drive her the air was so fast that it was uncontrollable, the valve would open electronically but when it went to shut the spring wasn’t powerful enough to to do so properly, so it would ‘latch’ open so to speak and either jump the car in the air or dump it on the ground.” To solve this, Rory fitted large flow controls to all four corners, making the speed a lot more controllable. Furthermore, with the diesel engine being much deeper than a petrol motor, it sits much closer to the ground. Instead of ‘raising’ the motor like most people would opt for, Rory fitted a large plate with a set of ‘skis’ on the bottom of the engine. Now when it airs out, the front of the car sits on the sump and amazingly the front wheels don’t actually touch the floor… “It’s a feature that I’m very happy with!” he chuckles.



With the suspension all set up, Rory was eager for some new wheels to set it off, ending up with a set of 16×7 BBS Mahle’s restored by a guy in Budapest. He chose these as they were similar to other sets at the time, but was worried about how he’d make them fit properly. The Mahle’s were already Mercedes-Benz fitment, 66.6CB and 5x112PCD. The offset was almost identical to his standard wheels so they’d be perfect for the car. It’s rare to find a set with the correct fitment, so Rory decided it was a no-brainer. Along with stretched 165/40/16 tyres all round, the wheels certainly look the part on the W115. For that extra wow-factor, the Mahle’s are fitted with BBS high centre caps and Titanium Lug Nuts supplied by Fourty Four Wheel Company. They were “a match made in heaven” he explains, as they sit the same height as the centre caps, plus the ends of the nuts look incredibly similar to the BBS caps, resulting in a gorgeous combination.



To compliment the rest of the car, Rory has made some changes to the interior. The first modification was to swap out the front seats for some with armrests, sourced from a W109 S-Class. Although they look very similar to the original examples, they are in fact wider. Rory had to modify the seat rails to fit, resulting in a lower driving position which he much prefers. “I love the look of diamond stitch in custom interiors, but I am also a great lover of the OEM+ look” he explains, and decided to commission John Brant at Bespoke Leathering Ltd. to carry out  a full re-trim.



This included a complete new carpet in beige with underlay and mats, including sound deadening to the bulk head. Plus a custom headlining in cream, reworked and recoloured seats, door cards and A/B pillars in a stunning caramel (similar to the original colour). The dash and centre console were also coated in leather in the same caramel colour. To counteract the caramel, the top of the dash and some of the lower dash, and parcel shelf have been covered in a single stitch pleated diamond arrangement. The result is absolutely stunning, and works so perfectly against the white body colour.



As I mentioned earlier, I first saw Rory’s W115 a couple of years ago, before it had any fresh paint. It was seriously tired so the whole body was taken back to the metal and stripped by himself and a few friends between October 2014 and March 2015. The sunroof was filled in and then the car was fully resprayed in Sikkens Two-Pack DB737 (Classic White). Rory had all the brightwork re-polished, re-chromed and re-finished by Doug Taylor Metal Finishings in Banwell. Unfortunately some of these parts were well past repair so Rory ended up purchasing some new parts from Mercedes-Benz, along with new rubbers and window seals. These are small touches that a lot of people wouldn’t bother with, but it’s safe to say they bring the whole look together brilliantly.




Building one of these Mercedes-Benz’s is much easier said than done, they’ve always been one of the classiest vehicles around and sticking to that ideal is key. Getting the right balance is extremely important.. stay elegant but making sure you don’t go too crazy. Rory has certainly outdone himself with his W115, not only restoring it to a like-new condition, but adding simple yet effective touches to make it extra special. Although not a daily driver, he’s driven this thing all over the country over the past year with minimal issues, which you just wouldn’t expect from such a classic car, but it’s humbling to see that Rory is putting it to use. At the end of the day, it is a car – it’s meant to be driven! Unsurprisingly he doesn’t have much more planned for the car at the moment, as it’s been done so well to this point. The only things on his mind are a boot build to show off the air and there’s a possibility of another engine swap in favour of a rarer diesel motor “for the real OEM+ look” he explains.



Early Edition 2015

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


Edition38’s Show and Shine is quite some time away, but why should we have to wait until then? Luckily the organisers of one of the Summer’s biggest VAG shows seem to share this view, and yet again saved us from our show blues with their newer show, Early Edition, which kicked off as usual at The Saints stadium in Northampton. Early Edition has always been a relatively small show, it is of course mainly a warm up event for the big one later on in the year. But unsurprisingly, it is forever growing. The attendance, like last year, was off the chain. They’ve had to expand the show ground itself to give everyone more space, which means even more show cars. Also I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I much prefer shows that are on tarmac, it’s where cars belong, right? It always beats shooting a car on a grass field.


On to the show, and I’ll start things off with Oxford Car Audio’s awesome Audi S5 demo car, sitting on Air Lift bags and Avant Garde F541 SPEC1 wheels.



Opposite, Joe Caudwell’s supercharged Audi RS5 was equally jaw dropping, bagged by Plush Automotive with AccuAir suspension and also rocking a set of Avant Garde carbon split rims, F431 SPEC2’s. I think the dude on the floor must’ve been eyeing up some brakes.. ha.



I loved the colour of Jak Johnston’s LHD 1981 Mk1 Golf GL and I’m looking forward to seeing it on a set of BBS E49’s in the very near future!



I was admiring Dale Buckley’s Mk1 Audi TT back at Ultimate Dubs, but it was nice to finally see that fresh new colour outdoors. It looks even better than I’d previously thought, along with those gorgeous BBS RS’s.




The recent addition of Rotiform LHR’s have done great things for Will Smith’s Polo, which is still one of the cleanest 6N2’s you’ll ever come across.



It is refreshing to see that more and more air-cooled cars are being accepted into the community, here we have Aneysha Wakelin’s ’64 and Kirsty Greatrex’s ’69 Beetles.





For me personally, Matty Loveridge’s Miami Blue Mk1 Golf swallowtail was car of the show. I’ve always had a soft spot for this car back when it was on BBS RS’, but he’s recently added a super cool set of Compomotive Turbo’s and bagged the car on Air Lift suspension. I thought it’d be difficult to top what he already had, but Matty has done it. And to perfection.




You’ve gotta love a bagged Audi Avant, Nick Bulmer’s A4 here on huge 20″ BBS RS2’s and AccuAir suspension.



Adam Wyatt unveiled the new look for his Vento only very recently at Ultimate Dubs, but it looks like he’s already changed the wheels to a set of Advan 3 spokes which work incredibly well.



Continuing with the ‘traffic light’ colours, check out Matt Woodgate’s A4 on Air Lift suspension and Rotiform splits finished completely in black.




Finishing up with those colours is Luke Polyblank’s bagged Mk2 Golf on a gorgeous set of Gotti’s. I love the rear heckblende which really pulls the body striping together.




Over on the StillStatic stand, VRS Northampton’s Mk7 Golf R stopped me in my tracks. It must be the lowest static Golf R around, surely? Finished off nicely with big brakes and mbDESIGN wheels.



The colour combination of Nick Ackroyd’s Scirocco was something else… Viper Green paintwork and gold centred Rotiform CSW’s, what a thing of beauty. Along with an interior and boot build by RIIVA Design and EDGE Automotive, this car everything you could want in a show car.




BBS E50’s have to be one of the all time greatest wheel designs, which go so well on Jason Buckley’s Mk1 Golf. Early Edition was certainly a haven for all kinds of Mk1 goodness.



I’m starting to see that glorious signature ceramic polished finish on a lot of wheels recently, all hailing from the guys at Felgen Werkes. Here’s Tim Smith’s Mk4 R32 rocking his finished set of WatercooledIND’s.



And look, another ceramic polish finish on Kats Giles’ widened Mk5 Golf… although this time with a stunning set of Rotiform LHR’s.



Over on the Players’ stand, I’m glad Kiran Mistry got his Mk1 back on the road after an unfortunate incident prior to Ultimate Dubs a couple of month’s ago. It’s now looking awesome.



It’s pretty cool to see a bagged Seat Leon, as they’re not a car you see that often. Nicola Sidney’s Mk2 shown here on an eye-catching set of OZ Pegasus splits.



And believe it or not, more pink wheels… D2 Forged on Mark Lampard’s bagged Audi TTS.



You thought I was done with the Mk1’s? Too bad.. there’s more to come. Jacob Moore’s example was getting a lot of attention due to its classic BBS combo, absolutely timeless.



Shaking up the game, however, was Route 32’s immaculate Mk1, which has been around for a while now, and always popular due to that R32 engine conversion and stunning interior. This year they’ve added a set of custom B-Star wheels which look incredible on the car, especially with that contrasting turquoise centre colour.





I do enjoy seeing people think outside the box of the ‘usual wheels’, and making different choices. There’s so many wheels out there. The 20″ OZ Superturismo’s work great on this bagged Scirocco.



More of that Felgen Werkes polished magic on Georgie Marlow’s BBS RM’s complimenting her Mk1.




The second time I’ve seen Auto Finesse’s Air Lift equipped Mk2 demo car, and it looks even better in daylight. That BBS bodykit really makes the car!




So I’ve shown you my highlights of the show, now I’m going to take you outside into the surrounding car parks where there’s more wonderful cars to see, including lots of non-VAG. I’ll start with Olly Snow’s stunning Mulberry Mk3 VR6 on BBS RS.



Considering what bargains S8’s are nowadays, I’m surprised we’re not seeing more of them. Billy Hilton just slammed his awesome example on KW coilovers and 20″ Rotiform SNA’s.



It’s a car we all saw a lot of last year, and a relief to finally see back out again… Becky Evans’ beautiful BMW E21 bagged on BBS RS.



The VIP Modular VX210 wheels on Mark Gunning’s Audi A5 are monstrous, check out the size of those lips! Bagged by Only Charged Dubs, this car sits extremely well too.




Some more handiwork from Only Charged Dubs, with Josh Hall’s Mk6 on Autostrada Modena’s.



These BBS GT004’s looked glorious on Myles Collins’ R32.




It’s been a while since I’ve shot James Aveil’s Mercedes W114, I love this thing.



Of course there’s Rory Hamilton’s W115, too. These two looked fantastic together and it’s cool to see more of these big Mercs already this year.



I really dig Alex Herman’s E46 M Sport, it really suits those 2-piece OZ Mito Type 3’s.



Here’s a double whammy of white centred BBS RF’s, firstly on a pre-facelift E36 ‘vert…



And another set working equally well on Alex Hurd’s bagged E46 M Sport.




Steven Doe made the trip from down South in his stunning BMW E21, bagged on CCW wheels. I’ve shot the car a lot already this year, but it’s still a clear favourite.



Parked alongside was Chris Phillips static Lexus IS300, looking incredible on stepped-up BBS RS. Chris has recently fitted some Vertex skirts which makes it hard to believe this car is static.. tough as hell!




Being a BMW enthusiast myself, something like this will always make my heart melt. I loved Jake Ryan’s 318is, bagged and on OZ Futura’s. A strong look.




I’ll finish up with some LikeHell Design repping, starting off with Jamie Hitchcock’s static BMW Z4 that we recently featured (click here to check out the feature).



And more WORK wheels on Josh Mussell’s (the man behind LikeHell) static Nissan 350Z.



This was the first time I’d come across this, but that white centred WORK Meister look seems to work on a lot of platforms. Check out Nath Howell’s bagged Subaru Impreza. Cool or what!?



Finally, Jordan O’Sullivan’s R53 Mini Cooper S on Carline CM6’s remains to be one of the nicest Mini’s out there.



That’s it for our Early Edition coverage. As usual, the event was huge… just imagine how big Edition38 is going to be later on in the year. Unlike Ultimate Dubs, the organisers here didn’t allow ANY non-VAG into the main show this time, even on trade stands. How do you feel about this? We want to know, leave your thoughts in the comments. However we’re still glad that there was such a large turnout even in the car park, it shows you’re all interested nonetheless. Thanks to Edition38 for having us, we’ll see you again at the main Show and Shine on 4/5/6 September. Next up on our agenda is The Car Show Collective’s ‘Show of Shows’ in Kent on the 17th May. Don’t miss it!



Ultimate Stance 2014 – Part 1

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


It’s crazy to think we’re midway through November already, and 2014’s show season has already come to an end. So, as not to completely end the year prematurely, we’ve been keeping you waiting for this one. Behold… Ultimate Stance. Having first kicked off the year with Ultimate Dubs at the International Centre in Telford, it turns out the organisers (now fully established throughout the scene), wanted to step things up – to not only host the season starter, but finish off with the grand finale. It’s pretty much as you would expect… Ultimate Dubs, but with lots more non-VAG cars, and a hell of a lot of BMWs. We certainly don’t have a problem with this! With the Telford International Centre being such a huge venue, and the show surprisingly filling up four halls and the surrounding car park, we’re splitting our coverage into three parts. Hopefully this will also give you your show fix over the coming few weeks whilst everything is tucked away for Winter and there’s near to nothing going on.


Seeing as we made Ultimate Dubs a weekend affair, we decided to do the same for Ultimate Stance. With our onsite hotel sorted, we headed up and arrived at the venue on the Saturday afternoon, greeted by several cars lining up to get cleaned before parking up inside. It’s always quite interesting and sometimes a right laugh to see some of the bagged cars riding at their driving heights, but we’ll try not to embarrass anyone! Instead, let’s kick off with a shot of two vehicles you rarely see parked up side by side! Sam Beach’s E24 635csi and Matt Clifford’s E31 840ci, both bagged too. The weekend was already set to be good.



We bumped into Shakey and the rest of the guys from Studio Incar (check out our recent shop visit by clicking here) giving the Liberty Walk M3 and the rest of their line up and good ‘ol clean.




I think this was the first time I’ve seen the new M4 in real life, and I have to say, BMW have seriously stepped up their game with this one. Max Wilde’s example here, looking amazing in white.



Clearly, all was set for a varied show, after seeing this little Nissan Cube which I absolutely loved. Nice to see something different, this one bagged and sitting on Work Meisters.



Let’s move inside, to four halls of automotive heaven, not to mention additional spaces surrounding them! You certainly didn’t have to go far before you bumped into something cool.




Matt Vanstone’s air’d out Audi S3 was looking glorious in it’s stunning Sprint Blue finish, on a set of 18″ 9j Mercedes Segin alloys.



Another set of flocked 3SDM’s (which are now up for sale) on Cara McNeill’s black bagged Mk5 Golf, a great look.



There’s something about Vossen wheels on modern cars, Team SPB’s beastly hydro’d Mercedes CLS is a prime example running on a set of CV7s.




The E36 game has become severely over crowded as of late, but Ruairi Coleman has built a car with all the right elements making for a perfect looking example. A 328i, resprayed in Estoril blue, one of BMW’s nicest colours of all time, plus those amber corners set it off nicely in addition to the boot spoiler. It sits really well on air suspension, and topped off with a set of 8j and 10j (rears) OZ Futuras.




We don’t come across too many stanced Alfa Romeo’s, so it was a surprise to see this 156, sitting low on a set of Rotiform NUE splits.



Alongside the Alfa was another rare car for the UK scene, a Honda Accord CU2 with a super eye-catching paint job, static too – impressive.



Over on the VIBE Audio stand was Mark’s bagged Mk5 Golf GTI on Lamborghini wheels…



Dale Masterman’s bagged Beetle always looks great on its Empi vintage style wheels.



One of our recent favourites is Aneysha’s 1964 Beetle. There are so many tasteful subtle touches to the car, it’s just right. Check out the recently added Albert Swan Neck mirrors…




You can’t beat an Audi Avant, and Myle’s Collins’ (the man behind FittedUK) bagged B7 looks awesome on BBS GT-004’s.




A beautiful set of Vossen CVT alloys on this bagged Audi TT owned by Kiran Attwal.



So, more hybrids are entering the show scene, check out this VIP style Lexus GS450h on D2 Air Suspension, awesome.



Good to see the boys from Somerset made it down, with Lee Johns in his bagged Mk5 Golf, sitting on a set of Mercedes Alphard rims.



Adam Wyatt’s VIP Lexus GS430 which we recently featured (click here to check out the feature).




Absolutely love what Matt Woodgate has done to his B7 A4, from the Rotiform IND-T’s with painted centres, to the Amaretto leather interior to match.




Another favourite has got to be this Mk6 Golf R with widened front arches made to fit the 20″ Vossen wheels. With the addition of air ride thanks to Airlift and AccuAir, the fitment is 100% spot on, making for an outstanding overall package and thing of full beauty.






So that’s the first hall done, let’s move through to outside, after stopping for a quick look at Shaun Morris’ static BMW E28 on a super cool set of OZ Breyton’s.



Luckily as the Telford International Centre is such a big venue, the car park is equally as large, with the majority of it being used for an outside area as part of the show. We think we found some real gems, like Tom Stephenson’s incredible E38 740i running on D2 Air Suspension. The rear is tucking so well, we were seriously impressed – this is how a bagged car should be.




We love Mk1’s of all kinds, Travis Price is the owner of this gorgeous Jetta CL on Schmidt TH-Line’s and recently installed air ride.




It’s always intriguing to come across a modified 1 Series at a show, because you simply don’t see many of them. Alex Smithson’s was a lovely example, on Airlift Performance bags and ACS splits with some great fitment.




Balls’d came down to the show in something pretty unusual, a Subaru Forester which they’ve only just slammed on Tein coilovers. Fair play for doing something different, Best Forester we’ve ever seen!




There’s nothing better than seeing a stunning home build. Rory Hamilton’s Mercedes W115 is breathtaking, and in white – a rare colour for one of these big Mercs.




It’s always exciting to see the latest menacing car to rock an SS Autowerks banner. This time it’s Christian Chapman’s Golf GTI. Obviously not just any Golf… but one with crazy aero all round and just generally over the top, but we love it.



Lewis Maher’s BMW E46 is certainly a strange colour, however the overall result is spectacular, bagged and sitting on a set of Rotiform VCE’s.




Nikki Harris has yet again changed the colour of the Brock B1’s on her supercharged Mini Cooper S. Still not sure which colour is best, they all seem to work equally well!




That about rounds up Part 1 of our Ultimate Stance coverage, and already we’ve seen some truly amazing cars. Check back soon for Part 2 in which we’ll take you through the rest of the outside zone, along with the second hall for more of this year’s best show cars.