The LUDWIG Project   
= Planned    = Done  (as of 3/24/2004)

Ludwig as purchasedOVERVIEW.  Starting with Ludwig, our 1972 Mercedes Benz 350SL, we intend to create an American-style "muscle car" - but with the panache of a Mercedes roadster. Specific objectives for the project:
  <>  To
accelerate about twice as fast as a stock '72 350SL without giving up any top speed
  <>  To
avoid any need for chassis modification by using a stock Mercedes drivetrain
  <>  To capture the
look, sound, and feel of the early 1970s - before CAFE standards and 5mph bumpers

 


Top offEXTERIOR MODIFICATIONS ("sketched" here with JASC Paint Shop Pro).
 Remove and fill
("shave") the hood ornament, headlight "eyebrow" trim, side molding strips, 350SL emblem, and US-spaced rear license plate holes, and move the power radio antenna from the front fender to the rear fender (where later models had it)
 Add some form of engine compartment venting
for slow-speed summer cruise nights and replace the stock grill with expanded metal mesh
 Repaint the body black using PPG Omni (a factory-like finish without clear coat), including the headlight surrounds, headlight trim rings, windshield surround, roof trim, and the chrome strip under the trunklid's rear edge (it interrupts the fender-to-trunk character line)
 Paint the
hood bulge with Kirker Flat Black, add a 1/4" wide reflective red stripe in the usual location, and a third brake light on the top of the softtop hatch cover (inside the removable hardtop)
 Replace the original 14"x6.5" steel wheels with 15"x7" Mille Miglia Bello wheels
  Replace the relatively skinny 205/70 whitewall tires while staying fairly close to the original rolling radius by mounting 205/60
Yokohama Avid S/T tires on the front and 225/60 of the same model on the rear
 Install a fiberglass replica 560SL front valance
(after modifying it to clear our early style front turn signals)
Top on!
 Upgrade to Neolite flat-face halogen H1/H4 headlights for better visibility and a "Mild Custom" touch
 Add German (replica) license plates front and rear, and a license plate box to the rear valance for my Collector Vehicle license plate (issued by State of Washington); use a pair of stainless steel DEI Lite'n'Bolts to secure and illuminate that plate
 Use a custom "Y" to merge the dual pipes at the rear of the resonator (aka center muffler) into a single 3" exhaust pipe, and replace the stock muffler under the trunk with a stainless steel Flowmaster Series 50 Delta Flow muffler (3" inlet, twin 2.5" outlets - the location of the fuel pump would make widely separated US-style dual exhausts unsafe); add a pair of chrome turndown tips to complete the '70s retro look

DRIVETRAIN MODIFICATIONS (summarized in the table below).
 Replace Ludwig's smallish cast iron V8 with the broad torque-band 5.6 liter aluminum block SOHC V8
from a '86 MBenz 560SEL (long wheelbase luxury sedan)
 Remove the power robbing catalytic converter, smog air pump, and hydraulic suspension pump that came with the 560SEL engine
 Improve driveability by using the 560SEL's more sophisticated Bosch KE-Jetronic
("constant flow") mechanical fuel injection and (HEI) electronic ignition and its larger capacity alternator
 Reuse Ludwig's exhaust manifolds after adding a bung for an O
2 sensor
 Replace Ludwig's antiquated 3-speed AT with a modern 4-speed AT
(from the same '86 MBenz 560SEL that the engine came from), but keep Ludwig's original 3.07:1 rear end (instead of the sedan's 2.47:1 ratio)
 Install a BergWerks First Gear Module so the transmission will start in first gear every time (these transmissions ordinarily start in 2nd gear); the module also allows separate first gear upshift and downshift speeds to be set, and it has a switch that will enable the driver to "turn off" first gear if there's ever a reason to do so (e.g., icy roads)

BASE VEHICLE
Stock 1972
350 SL (4.5)

LUDWIG
"der MuskelWagen"

1972 350SL (5.6)

DONOR VEHICLE
Stock 1986
560 SEL/SEC

 276 cubic inch SOHC V8
 3-speed AT
 3.07:1 rear end ratio

 Curb weight 3670 lbs

 340 cubic inch SOHC V8 (from a '86 560SEL)
 4-speed AT (from the same '86 560SEL)
 3.07:1 rear end ratio (from our '72 350SL)
 Curb weight 3333 lbs (est)*

 340 cubic inch SOHC V8
 4-speed AT
 2.47:1 rear end ratio

 Curb weight 3890-3960 lbs

 Reported Performance**
 60mph cruise at 2597rpm
 Top speed 124mph
 0-60mph in 10.5 seconds

 PREDICTED PERFORMANCE***
 60mph cruise at 2597rpm
 Top speed
of at least 130mph
 0-60mph under 6 seconds

 Reported Performance**
 60mph cruise at 2299rpm
 Top speed 137-140mph
 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds

INTERIOR MODIFICATIONS.
Black console panels match the instrument panel
 Replace the ashtray
(we don't smoke) by extending the vertical console panel all the way down to the horizontal console panel
 Extend the horizontal console panel all the way to the rear of the console (to carry the console's lines further back as well as to provide space for a pair of sunken cup holders)
 Cover both new console panels with black vinyl to match the instrument cluster, radio, and floor mats (roll your cursor over the interior picture to see the stock console)
 Modify the soft top boot cover by fabricating a
solid tonneau panel to cover the rear storage area (
not shown)
 Remove the stock
headrests and fill the holes in the seat backs where they used to fit
 Add a set of aftermarket stainless steel sill plates
 Replace the mechanical (cable-drive) speedometer with an electronic one from a later SL (made necessary by the 3-speed to 4-speed transmission swap), and install an electronic ratio adapter to correct for the difference between 350SL and 560SEL rear end ratios
 Replace the original low power stereo with a new Blaupunkt Hollywood AM-FM receiver with hidden CD and MP3 input, new Blaupunkt PCXT352 speakers in the dash,
Infinity Kappa 6x9's in the parcel shelf; and a powered sub-woofer
(somewhere . . . )

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 ___________________________________________

       * switching to the aluminum engine (-110 lbs), alloy versus steel wheels (-30 lbs), and no hardtop, headrests, wheelcovers, ashtray, etc. (-197 lbs)
    ** 0-60mph times and top speed are as reported by Road&Track magazine 
  *** based on performance of the 560SEC
 without mechanical drag from smog and suspension pumps and without restriction from catalytic
         converters,
but with 24% higher ratio rear end gears in a 14% lighter vehicle
      
conservatively rated
at 238hp with a 5200rpm peak and 6000rpm redline, and 287 foot pounds of torque - torque curve peaks at 3500rpm, but it's over 280
         foot pounds from 1500rpm through 4800rpm
 (mmmmm, torque . . . )

 

TECHNICAL REFERENCE

178 Kilowatts of power, 390 Newton-meters of torque  

 

Stock 350SL
(3-speed w/
3.07:1 rear end)

         LUDWIG         
560SEL's 4-speed
with
350SL's 3.07 rear end

Stock 560SEL
(4-speed
w/2.47:1 rear end)

1st gear

 2.31 x 3.07 =  7.09

 3.68 x 3.07 = 11.30

 3.68 x 2.47 = 9.09

2nd gear

 1.46 x 3.07 = 4.48

 2.41 x 3.07 = 7.40

 2.41 x 2.47 = 5.95

3rd gear

 1.00 x 3.07 = 3.07

 1.44 x 3.07 = 4.42

 1.44 x 2.47 = 3.56

4th gear

 (doesn't have a 4th gear)

 1.00 x 3.07 = 3.07

 1.00 x 2.47 = 2.47

 

FORMAT:  Transmission Gear Ratio  x  Rear End Ratio  =  Overall Ratio
(bigger numbers enhance acceleration)

The Nugent coat-of-arms with Ludwig superimposed: 

Ludwig on the NUGENT coat of arms