Loyal 450 SE (w116) Owner - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Jan 2010
Vehicle: 1976 Mercedes 450 SE
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
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Loyal 450 SE (w116) Owner

Happy New Year!

I am based in Atlanta and own a 1976 Mercedes 450 SE. As for this writing, it has 251,000 miles on it and what I believe to be the original engine and recently rebuilt transmission (by the previous owner).

It's a terrific car -- I've wanted one since I was a kid and found a great deal on Craigslist. I essentially use the car as a daily driver -- although I have the luxury of working from home. I have put just over 9,000 miles on it since I purchased it 1.5 years ago. I have a BMW e28 that I drive as well.

Cosmetically, the original paint is presentable -- but the interior needs some serious work. Mechanically, I have never been stranded -- with a few notable exceptions of running out of gas (which would explain why the previous owner kept a gas can in the trunk). A lesson for any new 450 SE owners -- when that gas light comes on, it's not like a modern car where you can still drive around for another day; to the contrary, when the gas light comes on that means you reset your trip odometer and better find a gas station within the next 8 miles.

I seem to average about 10 mpg (i.e. 250 miles on a 25 gallon tank) which, of course, is horrible by modern standards -- but not so horrible if you dont have a $500 a month car payment to contend with. And, it's another thing to love about these cars -- they were built with the philosophy of excess and cost being no object, with no apologies along the way.

One thing that I have struggled with is finding a centralized supplier of new parts. It seems that the w116 is too young of a model to be considered classic -- but too old to be considered, well, just an old car that someone still uses regularly.

I have been able to piece together some parts using the same resources I am sure that many users on here use:

Mercedes Parts and Accessories – Mercedes Wheels, Car Covers, Floor Mats, Steering Wheels and More from Performance Products:
Mercedes Benz Owners Best Source for D.I.Y Repairs, Diagnostics, and Quick Fix / Kit Solutions | MercedesSource.com

Or, if cost is no object:

Mercedes-Benz - Home of C, E, S, CLK, CLS, CL, SLK, SL, SLR, R, GLK, M, GL, G Class

Performance Products seems to support the w123 and w107 models -- but not the w116. Mercedes Source is a little bit better, although they seem to cater mostly to the w123 diesel models.

Anyway, I hope that as Gen Xers like myself who grew up in the Big 80s start having the means to collect vintage cars -- that there will be more resources out there to support the w116 models and other models from the 70s or 80s that they aspired to have in childhood. Generally speaking -- I find that people of my age group much prefer a vintage Mercedes, BMW, Porsche or Volvo over an American muscle car. Not to mention that prices have bottomed out for vintage European cars and they are much more attainable -- for the time being.

Speaking of parts -- I have had a hard time finding a replacement radiator. It seems my only two options are ordering a NOS (or perhaps it is brand new) radiator from Mercedes-Benz at the tune of $900 or having mine recored for around $350. I am concerned about the latter, because I know the radiator has been recored in the past and don't know how many times. Having said that -- new radiators seem to be readily available for the 450 SL, although I would not expect it to be compatible with a 450 SE.

To borrow the slogan from Kanter Auto Products -- I prefer to 'do it once and do it right.' as I do see my 450 restoration as a long term project.

Anyway, I look forward to shared insights from fellow w116 owners as we share our restoration odysseys together.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 08:43 PM
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