Ronny Coachbuilding / L'Etoile didn't just do conversions that involved cutting and welding; some conversions were less drastic though prettic drastic in their own right. This small article is about 1000SEL-type conversions based on standard length Mercedes-Benz SE/SEL done by Ronny Coach Building Company. Exterior components were either made in-house and sourced at other coachbuilding and tuning-companies (AMG, Lorinser, SGS, etc). Interiors were built in-house.


A L'Etoile 1000SEL; in other words a completely tricked-out Mercedes-Benz (500)SEL with every 1985 option imaginable. Dressed in a very bright green-metallic paintjob this car sports a so-called 600-nose; a custom-made bonnet that resembles the look of the nose of a "Grosser Benz", the Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100). Most of these bonnets were produced by Styling-Garage and were installed by many coachbuilders in the mid-1980s. Chrome-work on the 600-nose was gold-plated. The bumpers on this 1000SEL appear to be Lorinser-ones. As with many coachbuilders in the 1980s, who's core-bussiness was the coachbuilding and interior-work, components for dressing up the car were sometimes borrowed. An obvious choice as one can imagine how much time, (design)talent and effort is required to create a good-looking set of bumpers and spoilers. On top of that; it's very taste sensitive. As we can see later on L'Etoile used different brands of bumpers and skirts as well.


The rear-end of the green L'Etoile 1000SEL shows various interesting details: the roof mounted boomerang-antenna for the TV, the bootmounted antenna for the carphone, a custom boot lid, full-width tail lights (an SGS item?) and a Lorinser rear bumper that seems to be modified to hold a license plate.


The interior of the green-machine: a dashboard wrapped in snow-white leather with a custom compartment that holds two silver beakers. Pillars and rooflining are upholstered in same white leather, as are the seats, steering wheel, and every other panel that isn't covered with wood.


A custom armrest with stowage compartment and the white falcon's head gearleaver, probably with diamonds for eyes. Behind the armrest we can see part of the centreconsole.


Now here's the passenger side of things; a centreconsole that holds a TV, Clarion G80 component stereo and a minibar. Above the front seats there's a roof-mounted console which houses stereo and possibly other functions. And then there's a couple of tables.... four of them! Two in the back of the front seats and two (electrically operated ones) mounted in the doors. Curtains and a carphone are almost not worthy of mentioning.




This L'Etoile Mercedes 500SEL was for sale in the USA in the late 1980s. The car was used for an Episode of "Miami Vice". It's a 1000SEL-type conversion with Lorinser front- and rearbumpers, Ronal 5-spoke wheels, bommerang antenna and a bonnet with integrated grill as was available from Lorinser.



The Geneva Motorshow 1984: a candy-apple red Mercedes 500SEL was displayed next to a L'Etoile 500SEL six-door limousine. The exterior is a mix of Lorinser bumpers with AMG skirts and AMG Penta wheels.


The interior is similar to the previous cars, though instead of a Clarion G80 a different multi-part stereo was installed. Typical of conversions by Ronny Coach Building (L'Etoile) was this detail in the sidepanels of centre console, clearly shown in this photo.




Text: copyright Bram Corts 2019


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