At the SEMA Show, it’s rare to have a car stop you in your tracks after three days of automotive overload. Slowly becoming numb to all of the custom builds and elaborate displays, I was delightfully surprised to find this 1969 wide-body Mercede-Benz 280SEL in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The craftsmanship was astonishing and the overall concept impressive.
The car was built for Josh Stahl, owner of Reviva, a company specializing in remanufacturing diesel engines and components for fleet vehicles as well as similar engines featured in his wide-body Mercedes.
The wide-body Mercedes is powered by a Reviva 6.7-liter LS engine with 607 horsepower that comes with a two-year, 24,000-mile warranty. An LS performance engine with a warranty even if for a short time wasn’t something I thought I’d ever see.
Stahl commissioned Vescio’s Customs for the build that he eventually wants to use for AutoCross competiton.
The fairly large engine is fitted very cleanly into an engine bay finished in a beautiful muted silver. Quite interesting to see a performance engine displayed in such a stylish way. However, the giant grille attached to the hood almost hid the beautiful engine work.
I would have guessed it was a custom addition but turns out it’s a factory grille. It’s unfortunate that the grille on this wide-body Mercedes hid the beautiful engine bay a bit, but it was the first thing that grabbed my attention.
Along with the custom wide-body kit that I was pleasantly surprised to find out were hand-fabbed steel by Vescio’s Customs. Something you don’t see often. Majority, if not all, wide-body kits that were overwhelmingly displayed were made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
The interior had a performance feel with the five-point harnesses but still retained the luxury that Mercedes is known for in the diamond-stitch pattern in the tan leather bucket seats.
Read more SEMA Seen: Randy Grubb’s 1959 VW bus/camper