Watch: Someone transformed this wrecked Mercedes S-Class into a rally machine
Mad Max worthy?
There are legendary races like the 24 hours of LeMans and the Gumball 3000. And then come the affordable spin-off races like the 24 hours of Lemons and the Gambler 500, which follow similar racing guidelines while allowing the commoner to participate without having to spend a ton of cash on cars. As the nominal cost implies the involvement of knock-off vehicles of all sorts, the latest one grabbing attention on social media is this S-Class offroader.
Popular Youtube channel Hoonigan Autofocus managed to spot a '82 Mercedes S Class, modified to go off-roading. The owner, Bryce Ronsonet, claims less than $1000 were spent on acquiring as well as modifying the car into the Mad Max vehicle it now appears to be.
The list of modifications is anything but extensive. The S Class gets new headlights as the original was missing. A custom bumper up front, along with a roof rack on top was added, and that's about it. It was kept that way as the Gambler 500 race requires participants to buy a cheap knock-off car, modify it for off-roading and enjoy driving. Though spending more than $500 is not encouraged.
Obviously, you have to be blind to miss out on those massive wheels. Bryce claims the car originally came with huge paddle tires, but he replaced it for these slightly smaller "Facebook-special" rubber he found for 50 bucks.
Bryce mentions that the car wasn't in the best of shape when he bought it. The front end was extensively damaged, so he had to straighten it out and slice out the wheel walls to accommodate those wheels. Plus, even though he has Bilstein decals on his car, the suspension remains stock with spaced out coils. Even the engine, which in stock condition was a five-cylinder turbo-diesel unit, has been retained, and Bryce estimates it to put out close to 130hp.
It took him just a week to get this working, and Bryce further reduces his initial estimate of $1000 to $800 for the car to be Gambler 500 race-ready. If you thought you needed money to go racing, Bryce utters, "(you)definitely don't need money to have fun".