Back In 2018, Speed and Sound had the pleasure of featuring Jamie Orr who was in SA to attempt the infamous Citi Golf Challenge. Part of Jamie’s team was a gentleman by the name of Mike Ngo, owner of a shop called Eurowise in North Carolina.
“I wanted to build a cool old-school car but didn’t want to go domestic. I’ve seen a lot of people push the boundaries of muscle car builds but rarely a German hotrod-style build. So that was the idea. Find a classic Mercedes and outlaw the shit outta it!” says Mike.
That decision then presented the build’s first dilemma: finding a decent W108 as many are rusted, damaged or fetching massive money thanks to collectors. The hunt led them to a one-owner car which was in immaculate condition. Cleverly, Mike never told the old owner what was to become of his time capsule.
Once back at the Eurowise workshop, the project kicked off with a massive 10,16cm roof-chop! This was no easy feat and required a second sacrificial W108 roof and a ton of hard work to ensure that the trim, seals and glass all went back into place as if the car had left the factory that way.
“A chopped roof was something I never done before so it was a huge learning process start to finish. After getting the roof cut down and fitted together using a complete spare W108 chassis we bought for it. We never anticipated small details like seals, glass, and trim would be such a task to get right. It took us 4 front windshields before getting one right. Doing something different and not overdoing it at the same time was the goal.”
There’s no doubt that the roof-chop further enhanced the Merc’s gangster-esque lines, but sealing the deal are rear, custom hinged suicide doors, and instead of taking the easy route by using solenoid poppers, Eurowise went as far as relocating the door handles and modifying the door lock mechanism to work.
With all the “big jobs” out of the way, attention was turned to the trim and details, which saw the bumpers shaved and the headlamps replaced with quad projector units housed in the original bezels. Then the car was treated to coat after coat of luscious black paint…Großartig! (That’s German for magnificent)
Making the car even more Großartig are the wheels, a one-off set of 18’s from Formula Wheels which tuck under the arches thanks to an obligatory air-ride system. The air-ride set up on this car is not normal though, it actually consists of a “street” system from Airlift Performance, which is good for day-to-day driving. Then there’s a secondary custom-built setup that runs in unison, this system uses Air-lift components and allows the car to do quick drops and lifts just like a low-rider!
“I wanted the old school lowrider-style quick lift and drop, so we built the system with 12mm lines front to rear with a manual 7 switch controller. On top of that we also installed a 3P Airlift management system with 6mm lines for smooth operation and fine adjustment. With everything exposed in the trunk it looks pretty cool and complex at the same time.”
Inside the car; luxurious gangster appeal continues with the seats now adorned with suede and leather, and the dash has forgone its old wood-trim in favour of modern carbon fibre. “We shaved the head rests off the front seats and swapped to red lap-style seat belts. We added power windows, power door locks, bluetooth and all the bells and whistles.” The steering wheel has also been updated with a piece from a C63 AMG and there’s a set of Classic Instruments gauges. Strangely though, there’s also a gear position indicator, hydraulic handbrake and an S1 Sequential shifter, weird don’t you think?
Well, it’s not so weird when you get into this car’s mechanical bits. For starters, the stock motor was binned in favour of a Chevrolet LS series V8. Pretty standard fair for an engine swap in the US, but what makes this motor so ridiculous is the fact that it’s running a Borg Warner S366 turbocharger, fully forged internals and an intercooler!
“The original plan for the car was actually just a N/A 5.7-litre LS1 swap but as most builds go, they snowball into crazier and crazier ideas.”
To give the motor the sound to go with that grunt, a full custom exhaust system was built and I’m sure there are many muscle car owners who are struggling to wrap their heads around how a 60’s Mercedes could outshine them!
With a motor and turbo combo of that nature, it’s only natural that a strong transmission would be needed, and so with that in mind a 6-speed T56 gearbox was fitted together with the aforementioned S1 Sequential shifter. The perfect gearbox for anyone looking to run big American power, spot-on and then some.
What I really love about this car though, is how every mod still pays homage to the car’s clean luxurious heritage whilst keeping that little (well a lot) of hooliganism that “loosens up its tie and ruffles its hair”. In fact, if this car was a person, I wish I could be like them, or at least get invited to their parties!