I’ve been driving some “sea trials” for several weeks. Engine is strong, handling good, no wobbles or strange sounds. My only restraint is not wanting to stay at highway speeds (60-70mph) too long, as the tires are 20 years old. There’s also a “psychological barrier” of hearing the engine turning “fast” at highway speeds. The 190b’s engine was actually designed for Autobahn use at 80mph, turning at 4600 rpm. That’s a high engine speed for an American car, but normal for these four cylinder Mercedes engines of the 1950s and 60s. Top speed of the 90hp 190b was 88mph; engine redlines at 6000rpm.
When the car was new, the factory supplied tires were 6.40/13, bias ply; this is equivalent to modern 185/80R13 radials. I’ll be replacing the old “Road Champ” tires with Maxxis MA-1. Maxxis is apparently the only standard manufacturer still supplying passenger car tires in the size 185/80R13 to North America. No wide white sidewalls for me; that was a 1950s trend for big American cars, not smaller European family cars like the 190b. Here’s a factory photograph of the 1960 190b:
I’ve been concerned about the weathered and stone chipped paint on the car. I ordered a few aerosol cans from PaintScratch.com, a recommended supplier of touch up paint. They actually have the old paint formulas, and provided me with Daimler-Benz Medium Blue, DB-350H, the car’s original paint color. The H refers to the Herberts Company, which manufactured paint for Mercedes back in the 1950s and 1960s. Glasurit also manufactured Mercedes paint; those numbers ended with the letter G.
Quick way to refresh the paint is simply to wash and dry, then use rubbing compound to remove years of oxidation. Here’s a look at original paint untreated (on right), and the same paint after using rubbing compound (on left):
To actually repair badly chipped areas, you wash and dry the car, then sand down to bare metal, spray with primer and let dry for several days. Then spray several light base coats of new paint over the spots, let dry, then finish with clear coat. After a few days, shine it all up with 3M rubbing compound.
I was disappointed when learning that the rubbing compound wasn’t shining up the clearcoat. I contacted the paint company (PaintScratch), and learned you first wet sand the clearcoat with 1000 grit sandpaper, then use the rubbing compound. Wish they’d said that on the instructions! Here’s a before and after – first is untreated clearcoat:
Same area after wet sanding and rubbing compound: