Date registered: Oct 2007
Vehicle: 30+ mercedes and a suburban to tow them
Location: Long Island, NY
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how long is a piece of string?
First off, there were TWO 280se's. How many doors does this one have? The two door is worth considerably more than the four door.
Second, the different between a 300$ parts car and 1,000$ restoration candidate is the amount of rust UNDER the car. These cars are unibodies, so there is no frame. Underside rust IS there. Find it. If there are holes the size of your fist (quite possible), you have to ask yourself if it's worth fixing vs just driving it "as is" until you decide it's unsafe. If there are no underside holes, you probably aren't looking hard enough.
Aside from issues of rust, think in terms of cosmetics (life IS a beauty contest). Little things that mean "repaint this car" need to be fixed or you're going to live with them until you're ready to spend several thousand dollars (like 5k) to have the car painted.
Then again, a guy selling his dad's car might consider it worth more than it's worth.