Bob S 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL 2dr Roadster

All in the Family

I've had several interesting classic cars over the years (of course at my age some were contemporary at the time) but the vehicle I own now-a 1986 Benz 560 SL is the one most dear to my heart. Truth be told it previously belonged to my older brother Walt, an executive with Chrysler around the time it was owned by Daimler.This was the year 2000 and he had just come off of several years of voluntary experimental stem cell treatments to eliminate a precursor he was carrying that could lead to leukemia. After getting a clean bill of health Walt bought this roadster and began restoring it. How he loved taking it for a drive along Lakeshore Dr in the Grosse Pointes with Lake St Clair and it's picturesque sailboats (his other great passion). In 2003 a routine exam found evidence of colon cancer and subsequent surgery revealed it to be non operable. Walt passed in September 2004 at the age of 58. His wife of 36 years -my sister in law- was beyond distraught. She wanted to sell the car, she wanted to keep it. It sat in her garage for nearly eight years pretty much untouched. I thought about it from time to time over the years but dismissed any idea of ever owning it.. At the time I had an old Porsche that I was playing around with but the Benz was never completely out of my mind. On Thanksgiving in 2012 his widow was over for dinner (as she has for the last 30 odd years) and during dinner mentioned she was finally thinking of putting the Benz up for sale. Without blinking I told her I would buy it-sight unseen- and without even a price discussed. It was such an emotional release for both of us that we both sobbed uncontrollably. It just made sense that the car should stay in the family. Nowadays when I'm working on the car and run into a problem I gain great comfort in knowing he's looking over my shoulder because it always seems to turn out okay.

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