"classic" for a year - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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"classic" for a year

Good day.

My parents had a 1961 220S and a 1959 190 (?) back when I was a teen. Great cars, which I enjoyed driving soon after I got my license.

Now that I'm nearing retirement, I'd like to re-live that old dream. The mission: drive an older MB cross country, taking a month or two, visiting family, friends, and former students.

As a retired teacher I won't have piles of money; in addition, I don't see myself keeping the MB forever, as I want the car for long drives but not for driving to WalMart and the dentist! But a coast to coast drive in a big heavy car, with some good memories thrown in - sounds good to me.

As I haven't had an MB for over 40 years, I don't have a clue about the practicality and maintenance requirements for an older MB these days.

So - what do you folks think of this idea: looking around for a 1960s or 1970s six cylinder sedan, fixing it up (?), driving it for a year, then selling it.

Old guy's brainless fantasy?

Thanks all. The adventure begins.
Tom in Connecticut
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 10:09 PM
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I'd find a '60s sedan like a 280SE and drive it. They only sell for $4000 or so for a good one, so you shouldn't have to fix it up too much. Just buy it, drive it around your hometown for awhile to work out any of the bugs, learn to fix the little things, then hit the road. When you get back, you can either keep it around awhile longer or sell it for about what you paid. Sounds like fun; whenever I get more time in my life (too busy these days), I've always wanted to take the 300D on the same kind of trip.

- Brian



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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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POS - thanks. I can use all the reinforcement I can get!

What is MB service like for these older cars? I can handle most maintenance and minor repairs here at home. But if I'm cruising through Des Moines (or Denver, or San Antonio, etc.) and part "x" snaps - do MB dealers just shrug their shoulders and say tough? Or do they usually support the older cars? or ...?

Just wondered about getting parts/service if stranded away from home. Or maybe there's a thread on this subject somewhere on the forum?

Thanks.
Tom
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 08:11 AM
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Dealers will tell you "you're screwed"; you'll have to have an internet access and search for the independents who work in the town where you're stuck. MercedesShop - Mercedes Benz Parts and Technical Information has a listing of states and good garages within those states.

The biggest thing you can do is try to ensure the car is solid before setting off on your trip; the way to do that is to buy in advance and drive it around your hometown for a few months to get any of the "bugs" worked out.

- Brian



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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 04:48 PM
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A 6-cylinder W108 would be not only the car you dream of driving cross country, it is (IMO) the most beautiful "classic" Mercedes bodies. It was the last "stacked headlight" model. I had a 1972 280SEL 4.5 that is still the love of my life even though I sold it 25 years ago. If you google 'W108' you'll find an owner's forum that will offer cars for sale, lots and lots of advice on repair and parts suppliers. There is also a community of people who own and drive W108s that will be happy to hear your dream and will provide encouragement and help.

Good luck! I'm 60 in June, and my 'bucket list' includes lots of car things--I'm going to Sebring this year with two buddies--one 75 and one 72. We are road-tripping, picking up an RV in Orlando, and 'doing the deal.' Go for it!

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you."--John Steinbeck
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Really appreciate these replies gentlemen!

I've heard good things about those W108 series cars. DrJ mentioned a w108 owner's forum. Could someone point me to that forum? The one I found (w108.org) hasn't had a post since February 2008 and the "register" function is down.

Generally speaking, which models of the W108 series should I target? As a newcomer to the art, I'm finding difficulty in matching W108 to the model numbers usually used in the adverts and marketing.

Edit:

Not wanting to start the often-inevitable forum debate ...

I've noticed some folks referring me to the 300D as well as the W108 series.

My purchase budget will be $5000, including shipping if necessary. But if it won't drive to Connecticut, I'll probably just walk on by. No electronics, no power assists, standard four speed.

I wondered if you'd all share your thoughts on comparing the 300D to the 280SE, for example. I've never owned or driven a diesel, but some folks seem to prefer it for my "mission" - the cross country drive.

Is the diesel engine much more reliable than the gasoline six? Or ...?

Thanks again.
Tom

Last edited by NutmegCT; 02-01-2009 at 09:15 AM. Reason: added 300 to 280 comparison
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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From various suggestions, I'm getting the impression that the W108 series, or the early 1980s 300D or early 1970s 280SE may be the target area.

Four speed or automatic sound equally recommended. Diesel seems to be edging out gasoline; six (or five) practical but not as peppy as an 8.

And the 722.2 is the *desirable* auto transmission according to some messages.

I'm keeping in mind that about half the traveling would be interstate; the rest two lane blacktop and country roads.

Any further thoughts to help me narrow the field? Frankly, there are so many series/displacements out there I feel overwhelmed. But your suggestions on narrowing down the target to what's possible within my $5K budget are extremely helpful.

Just a thought: the 1972 280SE?



There was a 4.5 engine available, but I don't know if that's overkill for my purposes. Or perhaps it's more available and has a better resale value?

I've got a year to explore all this, but getting advice from those with knowledge and experience is worth its weight in gold.

Thanks again.
Tom
PS - the more I get into this, the more I'm thinking I may keep the car much longer than one year. You knew I was going to think that eventually, didn't you?

Last edited by NutmegCT; 02-05-2009 at 03:04 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-03-2009, 10:34 AM
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I think it's a great idea. My advice is to look around for a while and buy one that has had a good maintenance history and have it inspected. Then live with it for a couple of months and if you don't have problems drive it around the world. Have fun!!!!

Currently: 1967 250 SL, 1963 220Sb, 1965 300SE Lang, 1971 280SE parts car, 1972 Alfa GTV, 1965 Alfa Duetto, 1993 BMW R100R
Past: 1971 250 C, 1985 300 TD, 1967 250 S, 1968 280 S,1981 300 D, 1982 280CE, 3 Facel Vegas, Borgward Isabella Coupe, Alfa 2600 Sprint, Volvo P1900 (yes), numerous less interesting Volvos, ...
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Veering slightly off course here - and maybe worthy of starting a different thread -

Once you've narrowed down the list of models, where do you start looking?

I'd assume long-time contributing forum members who place cars in the For Sale area are the best bet, but wondered what other sources you recommend.

Or not recommend.

Thanks.
Tom
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 04:16 PM
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craigslist.org is a good resource for searching specific cities. You have the entire range of cars on a public site so be sure you have the car inspected before you buy anything, there's good values to be had but lots of shady cars and sellers online as well.

I will say I am fascinated by the idea you propose, please take along a camera and document the trip with pics of your car at various stops, maybe more for your own enjoyment than ours even! I'd also be willing to bet that yes, once you take your chosen steed for a long distance trip you will probably become quite attached and make it a keeper. Enjoy and good luck with your search!

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
The Coupe Group on Facebook


"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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