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      Your path: Home >> Wall-E's World >> Model Cars >> 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL
1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL
Manufacturer: Maisto
Release date: Unknown (not currently in production)
Catalog number: Unknown
Date Purchased: June 2007
Date Completed July 2008
Number in collection: 8

The Mercedes-Benz 500 SL represents one of the few cars in my collection that I have had an opportunity to drive. In the mid 1990's, a co-worker let me borrow it for an evening. It was an absolute blast to drive. It differed somewhat from the car pictured here, in that it was a 1979 US-spec version. They had four sealed beam round headlights, and much larger, crash-resistant bumpers. No model year is given on this model. I chose 1985, as it resembles cars made closer to the end of its production run in 1987.

This car is made by Maisto, as part of their Power Racer series. Like all other cars in this series, it features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels. It has nice exterior details with opening doors, and the wheels are in the style of the actual car. The interior isn't bad, but does have one unusual feature behind the front seats. It appears to be a seat back, as it has the same pattern as the front seat backs. Although incorrect, it does serve to hide the pull-back motor. The actual car has a small storage space in this area. The chassis is a reminder that these are intended as toys, as it has no realistic detailing whatsoever.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of a car that is in original condition, but in a different color. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.


Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with seat bottoms and console moulded to it as a single piece, in black plastic. Seat backs fit loosely into tabs in the seat bottoms. This assembly just snaps to the base chassis plate. The seat backs can then be removed from the rest of the bottom piece.
  • The front axle, with wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. This fits loosely into the chassis plate. Once again, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them or the motor assembly, so this is as far as I went.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has minimal and unrealistic detail cast to the bottom.
  • a steel spring that locates between three pins cast into the underside of the body. The purpose of this part is to allow the doors to spring back closed after being opened, and to hold them in place when closed.
  • The two doors, which are easily removed once the retaining spring is removed. These are painted the same color as the body, and have door panel detail lightly cast into the inside surface.
  • A black plastic dashboard and steering wheel. The steering wheel is glued the dash. This whole assembly was carefully pried from the retaining pins inside of the body.
  • A clear windshield. Like the dashboard, this was carefully pried from the retaining pins inside of the body.
  • Chrome plated front bumper (with attached grille) and rear bumper, which are attached by heat applied to moulded-in pins. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • A single clear piece that contains both headlights and front turn signals, and two clear orange tail lights. These are also attached by heat applied to moulded-in pins. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • A black plastic piece that appears to simulate the raised convertible top, even though the rear window style on any version of the actual car that I've seen. It attaches to two metal pins cast in to the body, which explains the holes visible on the outside of this piece. The rear window area is just an open hole, and there is no clear insert.
  • The die-cast body, painted metallic dark gray with tampo-printed and adhesive-backed markings.

After disassembling the car, only paint and foil were primarily used to detail the car. I also added a clear plastic window to the inside of the raised top.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlight the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black. The muffler was painted Tamiya steel, with Bare-Metal foil used on the exhaust pipe tips.
  • Interior: Painted seats, console, lower half of dash, and inside surface of the doors a mixture of Testors acrylic light ivory and flat white. Painted floor, top half of dash, and steering wheel Testors acrylic flat black. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Highlighted moulded in wiper blade and rear view mirror with flat black. Added window to inside of convertible top with clear plastic.
  • Body: Painted underside of body Testors acrylic flat black. Applied Bare-Metal foil to window trim, side mouldings, areas behind head and tail lights, and rear deck trim. Painted taillights with Testors flat white and Tamiya clear red, front park/turn lights with Tamiya clear orange. Highlighted rub strips on both bumpers and side mouldings with flat black. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to re-assembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.


Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)


The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
Model
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4390 / 172.8 113 / 4.46 4416 / 173.9 1:39
Wheelbase 2460 / 96.9 65 / 2.54 2441 / 96.1 1:39
Width 1790 / 70.5 46 / 1.80 1829 / 70.4 1:39
Height 1300 / 51.2 35 / 1.39 1373 / 54.1 1:37

My calculations show that this car is a very close to the 1:39 scale moulded onto the chassis plate. The height I measured was a bit larger, but I suspect this is due to the raised convertible top, which looks taller than the one on the actual car.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since I bought it over six years ago. I'm still happy with the way it turned out, and didn't feel the need to make any changes. I did have one problem, in that I lost the original steering while cleaning dust from the parts. I was able to fabricate one that closely resembles it, but I hope the original turns up someday.

Maisto Power Racer cars have not been available where I live for several years. This is too bad, in my opinion as I think they are pretty nice car for a low price. I guess my only hope is to keep looking in resale and antique stores, as I currently do.


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