Import Alliance car show

Everything with Excellence

The Story of this Mercedes Benz W108 280S isn’t the story I thought I would write. When I first saw it I thought, “Man, this thing is so gangster”, and it would be easy to speak about it in low rider parlance. But what I found was the story of a gent named Mike Ngo (of Eurowise) that captivated & encouraged me in ways I just didn’t expect. 

1969 Mercedes 280s chassis. Chopped 4-inches from roof. Rear Suicide door conversion. Shaved body moldings. Shaved front & rear bumpers. Shaved front & rear side markers. Shaved rear emblems. Shaved front grille. Retrofitted quad projector headlights. Custom front valence. Tucked rear plate lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you see a build like this… you see a build that is so far beyond ‘simply bolting on parts’ that it almost becomes its own thing. No longer a Mercedes per se, but its own creation. So mega that its very existence demands you to set your mental bar higher. 

Expect more. Dream bigger. Anything is possible.  

Customized Elegance

Where to start? Seriously. WHERE. TO. START.  For me I guess it is the overall structural reconfiguration & fabrication that catches my eye. Looking at this car, it is clearly conveyed that it has been completely reengineered… and done-so intelligently. Those suicide doors, for example. Would this thing have been easier and quicker to build WITHOUT that detail? Absolutely. Would it have been as BA? No. It grabs your eye from the start, and speaks to the level of attention to detail apparent throughout this whole build. Nothing in this car is bolt-on. Everything is custom. From the B-pillar to the exhaust work… and from the AC mounts to the chopped roof, requiring custom glass all around. This car is an absolute work of art. The size, shape, & mounting of that intercooler is a particularly cool bit, as the central grill on these cars is such a core design element. Mike decided, “Nah, let’s bring an element of rat-rod culture into this thing and then highly polish each & every last bit.” Glorious. Absolutely glorious. To imbue a classic Benz with more gangster street cred than a 1965 Lincoln Continental is no small feat.

One-off 2pc Formula wheels. 18×8 / 18×9.5 with 235/35 / 255/30.

Because the build was commissioned to be a bit of a nod to Street Rod performance, there was really only one engine choice. The venerable LS running on standalone fuel injection. Of course not one bit of it was left stock. 

5.3 LS bored .30 over. Forged internals. Custom camshaft. Fully built head. Tubular forward facing manifolds. Borg Warner S366 turbo ceramic coated. Full 3” exhaust ceramic coated chrome. Fitech intake manifold. Fitech stand-alone computer. Custom oil cooler. Custom front mount intercooler. Turbosmart BOV. Custom 12-gallon fuel cell with integrated hidden license plate filler. Triple Bosch 044 fuel pumps. 6-speed T56 transmission with S1 sequential shifter.

Because: ‘burn out’ and because: ‘turbo noises’… a properly plump Borg Warner S366 turbo sits proud on a tubular mani with lovely trumpeted wastegate piping and full 3-inch fabbed exhaust singing the praises of petrol power proudly for everyone to hear. Then there’s the tranny. Slushbox? Nope, no way. Sequential 6-speed of course! 

The Wilwood brakes. 

The C63 steering wheel. 

The Yellow on those gauge faces urging you on. 

The honeycomb pattern on the interior. 

The car gets the details so right… it’s almost painful.

To go with the chopped roof of COURSE this tub was getting dumped. Slammed to the rails… no other way to do it on this build. A tandem air suspension setup allows quick drop and hop. Yup, you guessed it. The dual Air Lift systems were planned out and designed by Mike. Mad Scientist achievement = unlocked!

From the mechanicals to the luscious deeeeep paint finish, this car is best-of-show no matter where it goes. Period. 

While this particular car was built for a client, you will be happy to know Mike has impeccable taste. He daily drives an E63, still has a Mk 2 GTI from back in the day, and just finished a VR6 swap on a MK1 Scirocco. Rad. 

That mantra I mentioned being inspired by this car…  

“Expect more. Dream bigger. Anything is possible.” 

Custom airbag suspension utilizing dual management systems. Airlift management with 1/4 lines (slow lift). 7 switch manual management with 1/2 lines (fast lift).

 

Like Mike

Turns out that isn’t just this car, that is Mike in a nutshell. This self-taught fabricator & innovator has been dreaming big dreams for years with his company, Eurowise. A lot of you know him already, especially if you’ve ever hung around the East Coast Euro scene. He’s hosted events, he’s been an anchor, and he’s been a real life ‘influencer & friend’ for so many… way past the shallow depths of social media. I was familiar with Eurowise long before I ever saw this particular build, because they make some of the best quality VR6 swap products for early water-cooled Volkswagens. Mike is a relentless pursuer of his dreams, and in 11 years, went from working at a Stealership as a master tech, to moonlighting at a shop he rented off Craigslist, to running his own super successful shop & mail order company. Speaking with him, you immediately feel that intensity. Every word is laced with drive… with purpose. It’s seriously amazing to be around this kind of energy, and it’s no wonder that the cars he builds exude a life of their own. This Mercedes Benz has style that speaks with authority, because it was birthed from a life of purpose… and that is something that should elevate and encourage us all. On your next build, next business, next whatever… be like Mike. 

 

Text by Tim Neely   Photos by Mike Kuhn

 

 

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