SAM HANCOCK REPORTS: RESTORING A CLASSIC MERCEDES
British racing driver and firm friend of Private White V.C., Sam Hancock gives us all the action and insider knowledge from the world of motoring.
The 34-year old is much more than just a driver, also an acclaimed coach, TV pundit, writer, speaker and consultant.
Below he tells of his latest exploits.
“I recently had a trip to HK Engineering in Germany, arguably the world-leading specialists in classic Mercedes 300SL Gullwings and Roadsters. I was there to negotiate the purchase of a car on behalf of a private client and discuss the restoration.
What an incredible place! Set in the picture-perfect countryside an hour outside of Munich (at least, it was an hour in the new Porsche 911 we managed to procure for the day!), the workshops are housed in the most beautiful converted monastery where the owner, Hans Kleissl, has restored what was a complete ruin and given it a new lease of life as the ultimate 300SL mecca.
Each barn door slid back to reveal yet another engineering department: chassis, drive train, engine, fuel injection, body shop and coach work. The latter of which will be especially of interest to manufacturers like Private White V.C as they cut, trim and fit every stitch of the stunning leather (or optional plaid fabric) themselves. Everything is done by hand and with such meticulous attention to detail and insistence on originality, that they even commission vast lengths of their own fabric to ensure it is woven exactly how it would have been in period.
I thought the fitted luggage was particularly cool – finished in natural pigskin unless requested otherwise – and when I noticed some beautiful long strips of ‘rot leder’ (red leather) I though it only sensible to ask the craftsman if he could make a ‘his and hers’ belt as a gift for my clients from the very same cut that will end up as the interior in their car; he said he will duly oblige.
With the deal all done and restoration underway, I’ll be visiting again soon to check in on progress. With a bit of luck you may even see me on track in their race-prepared Gullwing...”
Sam Hancock Races for Private White V.C. at Goodwood Revival 2014
Private White V.C. had its own vehicle set to compete in the Revival’s esteemed Freddie March Memorial Trophy race.
Driver Ben Shuckburgh was set to race our beautiful 1953 Cunningham, though suffered an unfortunate collision on practice day which saw him out of Sunday’s big race.
Fortunately, Sam Hancock stepped up to the plate, started the race poised in pole position from the outset.
Following stiff competition from four-time winner McWhirter, with the drivers neck and neck throughout much of the race, our Sam achieved second place, just 2.9 seconds behind.
Sam said, “What a car! It's both beauty and beast - the engine and chassis are superb, the brakes ok, but the steering terrible! The original design creates so much free play that placing the car accurately on the track - let alone alongside another car in the heat of battle - is nearly impossible. But the challenge is hilarious and I found myself shouting, laughing, and despairing in equal measure throughout the race. It's like taming a raging bull but great fun for it. I'd like to think that we're friends now and that putting her on pole and finishing second shows the world what a fabulous and under rated car this is. I'm extremely grateful to my great friend Ben for the invitation, and to Kim and Mark for preparing her so well."