Interview with owner Richard Mott
Once in a while a car comes along that absolutely blows your mind. It is more likely to occur in a normal, everyday setting if say a Bugatti rolls by but when you’re at SEMA it’s more rare as there’s miles and miles of stunning modified cars in every direction. To stand out like this 190 SL did at SEMA is truly a rarity. So who woke up one day and said, "I want to stuff an ’04 Renntech motor into a 190 SL?" Richard Mott did, that’s who. After acquiring world exclusive feature shots for european car, Isaac Mion got to know the man behind the white swan with the concealed fangs.
ec: Richard, why did you build this car?
Richard: I thought it had really cool lines. They’re almost sensual. Besides, Southern California is the perfect place to own and drive a car like this.
ec: I understand that when you built this you were adamant that the car remain true to its German heritage.
Richard: I had always wanted to keep it German. The guys at Hot Rods (& Custom Stuff) are in their comfort zone with Chevy engines on custom frame chassis. I wanted to put the entire body onto a newer Mercedes chassis. I obviously took them out of their comfort zone.
ec: How long did the project take?
Richard: It took about 13 months, with 6 to 9 months planning. So around two years altogether.
ec: When did you first get involved with cars?
Richard: I’ve been into ’em since I was a little kid and we used to race the HO cars. I had a Ferrari, a Porsche and a 300 SL.
ec: Is this your first foray onto the restomod scene or have you had a lot of other cars built?
Richard: Well, I have a ’67 Firebird but this is the first time I’ve done anything this extreme.
ec: What has been your most memorable experience with the car?
Richard: Well, one time the paparazzi shot me on the freeway and it ended up on the Internet. But the first time I saw the car was at SEMA and I was really happy about the reaction the car got.
ec: Yeah, so were we. In fact, we talked to you there. You mentioned then that the car would take place in the Optima Challenge that Sunday after SEMA. How’d that go?
Richard: That was another memorable experience. Seeing the car do well against more traditional restomods like Camaros and Mustangs.
ec: So I have to ask you Richard, this couldn’t have been a cheap project. I imagine there could be a quarter of a million dollars in this project. Can we ask what field you’re in and how you got your start?
Richard: My start was relatively modest I degreed in biomedical engineering and worked my way into medical technology and biotechnology developing products that change peoples lives.
ec: What kinds of things?
Richard: Well, one example is an intracranial pressure sensor that gauges pressure in the heads of trauma victims and makes sure they don’t get injured again. I also run a pro fishing outfit that fishes for pelagic fish like marlin and mahimahi.
ec: I understand you book charitable trips?
Richard: Yes, we do one for the Purple Heart Association and two trips per year for the Make a Wish Foundation. I’m also a significant donor to the Mel Washington Institute. He is an ex pro tennis player who has a foundation for troubled kids in Florida.
ec: Would you consider donating $100,000 to the Isaac Mion Foundation for troubled underpaid motoring hacks who want to build a car like yours?
Richard: (dial tone)