If there’s one thing and one thing alone which enables a Retropower project to standard apart from the countless other projects undertaken in the UK each and every year, it’s a commitment to detail, and more specifically still, a desire to ensure that car adequately reflects the personality of the person who commissioned it.
Retropower history isn’t exactly short of examples of this commitment to individual styling in action, though one of the most exhaustive in terms of interior design has been taking place over the course of the last few weeks, the inside of Project Kaiser, our W108 Mercedes. This is a build many of you will no doubt be familiar with if you’ve followed Retropower for any length of time, yet it remains an exciting undertaking – if only because it continues to evolve at a manic rate.
Actually listing the full complement of custom hardware on this car would take half the pixels on the internet, but we thought it worth spending a little time on its interior, the area where many of our most extravagant touches are most apparent. First up, the seats; while the red leather Daimler ones in the car at the moment certainly have their charm, we all felt that they’d require some work if they were to be deemed suitable for a bespoke build like this. To this end we’re having them re-trimmed in black leather with deep purple stitching, while working hard to retain their best features – not least those incredibly cool fold-out tea-trays for the rear passengers.
Where things really do deviate from anything Mercedes dreamt up when it came to creating the W108 all those decades is the centre console, an area that’s had a profound effect on other elements of the interior layout. Part of this was down to the fact that, as you might imagine, re-mounting seats and other essential fixings within an interior they were never intended for takes a fair bit of thought and reengineering, but we were also keen to ensure that inside the big Merc was as impressive as its engine installation and appearance.
Deliberately designed to be the focal point of the entire interior, the centre console constitutes an unbroken sweep running from the front to the rear, with a pair of cubby-holes – one for the driver and passenger, one for anyone lucky enough to be transported on the (custom) rear bench. The former will eventually house a slide-open recess with air ride and audio controls, start and hazard warning buttons and wireless phone charging port, all contained within a 3D printed inlay.
The rear will be similarly appointed, with a leathered section containing a pair of cup-holders and, in another cubby, a bottle of whisky. The latter will also be secured via a custom inlay, one shaped to the contours of the owner’s favourite bottle of scotch. It promises to be the plushest, most opulent build we’ve ever undertaken, almost enough to make you forgo the pleasures of driving and instead relax in the back. Almost.