The 'Six Million Dollar' Repair - BodyShop Business

The ‘Six Million Dollar’ Repair

Though the repairs to this Mercedes-Benz didn't cost millions (nor were they performed secretly by the government), the car - like Steve Austin - had sustained serious damage. Could this mangled mess be made whole again? Absolutely.


We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

Better than it was before.

Better … stronger … faster.

– opening for the ’70s series, “The Six Million Dollar Man.”


The diagnosis wasn’t good. The woman’s 2001 E320 Mercedes-Benz had sustained severe damage in a rear-end collision that would require extreme measures to return it to pre-accident condition.

Following transport to Collex Collision of Flourtown, Pa., President Anthony Mariello Sr. says his team of professionals set to work bringing the badly mangled Mercedes-Benz back to life. What they found wasn’t pretty, but his crew was up to the challenge.

“We’re used to doing hits like that,” says Mariello, adding that this one, however, was particularly time consuming. “Once the interior and things like that were removed from the car, there was a lot of hidden damage in the rear flooring area where the seats would be and the rear package shelf area where the speakers would sit.”

Despite the vehicle’s scary appearance, the hardest part about the repair was simply getting a hold of the necessary parts. “There were so many parts that were damaged that weren’t stocked items,” he says.

The vehicle owner, however, wasn’t used to seeing her vehicle in such a scary state. Unfortunately – but true to customer form – she dropped in at one of the worst possible moments.

“The customer arrived at the shop just as we had the entire rear-end sheet metal completely removed,” Mariello says. “I don’t have to tell you how she felt to see her ‘baby’ in that condition.”

She was so distraught that she resigned herself to the fact that she’d have to look for a replacement. But Mariello would hear none of that. Instead, he turned on his bedside – make that bayside – manner.

“We explained that she just happened to look at the repairs at the worst possible stage and that she should put her trust in us,” Mariello says.

She did – as hard as that may have been.

And just like Steve Austin, when the Mercedes was done, it was possibly better, faster and stronger than it was before.

When the owner arrived to pick it up, “she expressed amazement that it could be put back together again in the condition it was before her accident.

“Not only did the repair on this vehicle turn out exceptionally well,” he says, “but it never returned after it left – not even for a squeak, rattle or water leak.”

Writer Debbie Briggs is the former managing editor of BodyShop Business.

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