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My first Benz, summer 2001.

My first Benz, summer 2001

Why Mercedes?

I’m not sure what first drew me to Mercedes.  As a kid in the ‘80s, I definitely took note of the quintessential cruiser that is the w126 chassis, the car of choice of virtually all foreign leaders, it seemed.  I then remember seeing a movie that featured what I later found out was a model 600.  I thought it was the coolest, classiest car I’d ever seen.  But as I started driving, the closest I came to MB was a couple of VWs I owned.  It wasn’t until a buddy of mine got an astral silver 240D (w123) that I started to take note. The round air vents were so retro and classy.  So I sought out my first Mercedes, not focussing on a particular chassis, per se, but I knew I really liked the w116.  Then I found a sweet deal in the LA area and towed it back to Utah where I was living at the time: my euro spec 1978 450SEL.  


From there I went to an ’88 420SEL, ’75 240D, a couple of 300Ds and 300TDs (w123), along with a handful of others that have passed through my hands.  I currently still own that own that ’75 240D, a 1985 300D, and a 1972 300SEL 4.5. The 240D is just coming out of something like a 3/4 restoration that started as just a smashed quarter panel and door that needed to be fixed.  I couldn’t just leave it at that.  


In short, I have spent some time around these cars.  


I came into the mechanical trade slowly and organically, just working on my own cars until I’d learned to do all of the common repairs and knew several of the systems, particularly the diesels.  This was enough to spark the idea of going into business, which happened in 2009, in College Park, MD in the space next to my house!  From there I moved to a great place in Potomac, MD (the reason behind the name) that had ample garage space for doing major repairs, and even painting.  I did plenty an engine swap there with the built-in hoist arm the swung above two bays.  Finally, in fall of 2015, I moved my shop to its current location in downtown Rockville, MD.


Despite starting with an emphasis on diesels, I’ve since branched into the gassers as well, with accompanying experience with Solex, Zenith, and Stromberg carburetors, as well as the fuel-injected m130, m180, m189, and the mighty m100.  I also work on D-Jetronic, K-Jetronic, and KE-Jetronic systems.


I know these cars and I know the typical problems they face which gives me a leg up over the average general euro-brands shop and even the dealer often times.  They may have someone there that knows older Benzes or they may not.  There are, of course, other MB specialists in the greater DC area that really know their stuff.  I prefer to see us as a community and not competitors.  As long as people provide good customer service and don’t overcharge, I’ve got no bone to pick and there’s enough to go around. I just focus on my customers and on bringing not only a love for these cars but also honest dealing and forthrightness. I strive to include my customers in the repair process according to the level that they are interested and able.   


Here’s to doing more of the same in the years to come.


Rob Bird


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