The F-Bomb Studio Presents
Adding a Fire Extinguisher and Driving Lights to the Mercedes Fintail
You have entered the F-Bomb Studio, where the craftsmanship applies as much to unique combinations of curses, as it does the cars we work on. We recommend all children and sensitive types don ear protection until work completion.
Truthfully there wasn’t a lot of swearing on this small collection of projects, some very straight forward brackets to mount a fire extinguisher and driving lights to a Mercedes Fintail.
The Mercedes W111 Fintails have a rich history in Rally competition especially going back to the early 60s. The intention with this car was always to present it as a survivor car of some local rally competitor that modeled their car after those of the big boys in Europe that they read about in “Canada Track & Traffic”. Probably some proud owner with one car, that drove it to work during the week and flogged it in competition on the weekends. Perhaps it was retired when, finally it just wasn’t competitive any longer, or perhaps a new addition to the family showed up and racing weekends just weren’t practical any longer. Either way our story sees the car relegated to more pedestrian use maybe even right up to the point that the ‘new addition’ inherited it as their first car on their 16th birthday. Eventually as happens the car is finally carefully stored away in the garage, left to slumber until we stumbled upon it decades later.
“Fintails have a rich history in rally competition especially going back to the early 60s.”
The car itself is pretty solid, and running well, so most of the effort is being directed at adding period rally equipment that will still be functional and serve our modern campaigning needs.
While we invested grueling months researching the actual competition cars and searching for the correct vintage equipment, the actual garage time is thankfully, pretty simple and rewarding.
We searched long and hard for the right car when shopping for the Fintail, and an important trait of this particular car is its solid but bumped and bruised appearance adding to that aura of a life of competition. With that in mind the last thing we want is to bolt on a bunch of fresh shiny parts.
While authentic vintage fire extinguishers can be found easily enough, no respectable shop will refill them as their safety expiry will have long passed. While we could have opted for a vintage extinguisher for the car shows, and a modern one for regular use, the thought of suffering a fire with the wrong extinguisher at hand was sobering. Instead we opted for an extinguisher with a vintage chrome appearance and modern effectiveness. The extinguisher and extinguishing agent were carefully chosen but we will cover that in detail at another time. With the extinguisher finally chosen the next task was mounting it securely.
The transmission tunnel was chosen as a mounting location for it’s accessibility to both driver and co-driver alike. Using the seat belt attachment points rather than drilling new holes was a no-brainer.
First a cardboard mock up was made to accurately locate the seatbelt threads, and bracket holes, then it was transferred to aluminum sheet.
Cardboard, especially press board like that cereal boxes are made of is a great tool for templates. The cardboard is stiff enough to keep shape but unlike the corrugated version, bends easily, and cut edges are clean and accurate.
Some templates for projects coming soon to the F-Bomb Studio
A large washer was used to form a radius on the ends both to protect the carpet, and for a cleaner appearance. The aluminium was cut with a fine blade jig saw, and cleaned up with a drum sander on a die grinder.
A step drill makes drilling various sizes quick and simple
While simple rivets connect the mounting strap to the extinguisher mount, we felt that the connection needed to be more secure for occupant safety so the strap was placed over the bracket. While this is perhaps less attractive it is hidden once the extinguisher is in place, regardless function first on a ‘race’ car.
The stickers were peeled off the extinguisher as they were too painfully modern. They may even be replaced by faux vintage stickers at a later date. Both the extinguisher and the bracket were subjected to some forced weathering – a close look at the bracket will reveal some peeling paint and rust on it despite being brand new. Efforts to dull the bright white strap ends are planned, or they may be replaced altogether.
No vintage rally car is complete without some auxiliary driving lights.
For the Finnie we went with some vintage well used Cibie Super Oscars that were sourced after lengthy research. Finding these locally, already with a convincing patina helped the decision making. As a big plus they were sold as a set of 4, so we have spares if needed (every minute the car sits in a parking lot is sheer anguish).
As we did with the extinguisher mount, we wanted to avoid drilling any holes to mount these lights. Using the existing bumper mounts was a no brainer here however a cardboard template had serious limitations. As such the first one made was truly a test run.
A chop saw was used to cut four lengths of steel. Each was cut the same length for simplicity, and if a mistake was made at any point, the bracket could be flipped in hopes of salvaging the bracket.
Like we did for the extinguisher mount, a large washer was used to mark a radius – a curved end just makes for a cleaner look. The radius was rough cut with an angle grinder and finished with a flappy wheel replacing the cutting disk.
A couple of quick beads, and flat stock becomes a bracket.
Again with redundancy in mind each piece was rounded even though one end is hidden from view when installed. We have been known to make mistakes…there IS after all a reason the garage is called the F-Bomb Studio.
Granted adding some very straight forward brackets to mount a fire extinguisher and driving lights to a Mercedes Fintail is by no means a big project , but with safety AND appearance covered, it is one with a big impact.
Here the large 7 inch driving lights can be seen in place but still awaiting support rods, and wiring. Stay tuned to the F-Bomb Studio for more on that project.
© Daimler AG.
The global copyright remains the property of Daimler AG.
I want to thank Daimler AG for making the historic photos available to all enthusiasts, visit their archives for some spectacular views into their competitive past.