We are always on the lookout for cool and interesting content. Custom vehicles are always ideal for this and when we find super unique rides, that’s a sure thing. Method Race Wheels does a great job dropping new features, which is where we found this last thread. They have a bunch of inspiring content and features, so be sure to click on them and check them out.
When it comes to racing a shitty car like a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD around (and often over) a series of tough stages in a sanctioned event, you basically have two options. Either sign up for the anarchy that is 24 Hours of LeMons and give it your all on the right track, or go all-terrain and enter your hooptie in the Gambler 500.
Take for example Bryce Ronsonet’s 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300DSD. Affectionately referred to as “Champaign” by those who know him, this Mad Max-inspired German tank was completely rebuilt with one thing in mind: inexpensive modifications and a complete lack of human dignity.
Earning a name for yourself in the Gambler 500 is a lot like winning the gold ribbon at the local county fair for the most funnel cakes eaten in one sitting. It may take all you got and earn you nods from those who competed and failed to finish, but the rest of the hoi polloi will just collectively shake their heads in disbelief.
It’s fine though. Hoopties antics aren’t for everyone, as are funnel cakes and bouncy chickens. More on that last bit here in a few…
The Mercedes-Benz 300SD: The OG Goat of Indestructibility
Changes to its Merc’s 3.0L five-cylinder turbo diesel engine are virtually non-existent. In addition to changing the oil and getting the exhaust out of the hood, this relic is bone and ready to rock. A superb testament to the indestructible status that has been accorded to the OM617 engine since its inception.
But the W126 chassis itself tends to suffer from many of the ailments that plague older Benz vehicles of that era. This gave Bryce a valid reason to swap out some Bilstein B8 shocks that had been fitted with nitrogen bumps and install “custom” spring spacers. He also inserted Superduty spools in the rear, along with plated swingarms and guide rods for added security.
We brought it back and stuffed it with 31’s [underneath], was released on King of the Hammers last year, where it eventually landed a few sponsors. We did a Hooptie Cross race year and hopefully this year we plan to do Vegas in Reno after making an appearance at the Mint 400. -Bryce Ronsonet
Chopped, modified and ready for more
After hacking the 300SD’s fender wells for extra clearance, removing the front bumper and installing a unique skid plate guard up front, Bryce turned to other essential necessities. KC Hilites were affixed as both C3 pods and “Daylighter”, a roof box with a Squatchboxx was slapped on, a nifty machined steering wheel was installed, a boost gauge and Rugged’s M1 unit Radio was placed inside a custom aluminum dash surround.
While the GT Radial Adventuro rubber cranks out dust using 15-inch 5×5.5 Method 304 alloys, our attention goes to Bryce Ronsonet and the story of how he became a machine owner too gorgeous.
“It all started about a year and a half ago” explains Bruce. “We decided to buy a car to drive to the dunes in Oregon. The cheapest thing we can find. It was a wrecked 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD. The front driver’s side was depressed about a foot. So we took it all out, lifted it up a bit, and put some 33-inch paddle tires underneath.
Needless to say, the Merc survived her maiden voyage and has garnered a ton of attention ever since. Now, about that rubber chicken…
Mercedes-Benz 300SD Vehicle Specifications
– 1982 300SD W126
– 15 inch 5×5.5 Method 304
– Bilstein B8 shock absorbers
– Bilstein nitrogen stops
– Superduty rear spools
– Drawn arms and plated guide rods
– 6 KC Hilites 6” led fire starters
– 4 KC Hilites C3 pods
– Heavy duty m1/6100 combo mounted in a custom aluminum dash.
Photography Photo credit by Method Race Wheels