Which model & year to buy? - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Jan 2010
Vehicle: 1972 Mercedes 280 SE 4.5
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It's a beauty

It certainly looks great. But it is a 300, so it has the air suspension. And from the write up, it seems that the air bags are not holding their air.

But thanks for thinking of me!!

Any 1971-1973 280 se or sel 4.5s out there?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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EMRE-K
While I can't disagree with anything you offer in your post.....I just have this strange affinity (visually) with the 108s. Do you think they pose more of a problem getting parts or would have vastly higher service costs?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 04:57 PM
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Well, I really don't know too much about the W108. One of the big selling points of the R107 is that these were top-of-the-line cars in their time and were pretty much a rich man's toy. That means they tended to be maintained well, garage kept, and driven relatively little. Even today, you don't see many being used as "beaters." The same can't be said of many older Mercedes sedans.

When I was shopping for an 560SL, I came across very many examples that were in amazing condition. It was rare to see one with over 100K miles on the clock: most seemed to be in the 50-75K mile range.

The one I ended up with is an '88 model. It was a one-owner car with full service history from a M-B main dealer, garage kept, completely rust and damage free, 69K miles on the clock, and everything worked except for the cruise control.

I suspect it would be tricky to find a W108 in a similar state.



1987 W201 190E 2.3-16: Vintage racer
1990 C124 300CE coupe: Daily Driver
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 05:12 PM
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On the contrary, many 107s were also neglected, not regularly maintained, and eventually passed-on (traded-in). Keep in mind, a good % of the affluent or well-to-do that could afford any MB (like the SLs) can be the worst owners and/or they usually upgrade to a newer model every nth years (I would guesstimate usually under 5 yrs).
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emre-K View Post
Well, I really don't know too much about the W108. One of the big selling points of the R107 is that these were top-of-the-line cars in their time and were pretty much a rich man's toy. That means they tended to be maintained well, garage kept, and driven relatively little. Even today, you don't see many being used as "beaters."

I suspect it would be tricky to find a W108 in a similar state.
I agree with you about the roadsters. My R129 is a two-owner that was well maintained before I got it, and it had less than 8k miles a year on it.

That said, and so we don't hijack the thread going on about our 'R' chassis cars, the W108 was pretty stoutly built and there are plenty of them in great cosmetic shape. You're right about finding a low miles one, but the drivetrains are relatively immune to wear if they've been maintained. They were also fairly simple mechanically (though not for their day), so repair and replacement when parts wear is straightforward.

That's the argument against the W109--the air suspension was complicated and expensive to maintain, so most people didn't. Now parts are not only expensive, they are getting difficult to come by. The springs and shocks on the W108 looks better with every passing year.

"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 #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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This information is wonderful. I think I've then narrowed down my search to a 280 SE or SEL to avoid the air suspension. It has the look I want, and I think all the features: a/c, pw, pb, plocks?, perhaps sunroof.

Now I just have to figure out the engine configuration. I wanted the 4.5 b/c it was what I was advised to get - more grunt. However, I've read that the 3.5 actually was better: was mated with a 4sp auto instead of a 3 spd auto and spun up better. Is this correct? or does it not matter much?

I'll be happy with a 1971-1973 model year (although I'd LOVE to get a 1971....the year I was born). Were there any major differences between the years? Also, when you register a car, what is the "year" - is it the model year or the year of manufacture? I've seen a listing for a car which was manufactured in 11/71 but listed (and advised by owner to me) that it is a 1972. Which would be the correct "year" of the car?
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 09:33 AM
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Regarding registration the 1972 model year is correct. Basically if the unit left the assembly plant in the final quarter of the calendar year then it will likely be allocated as the succeeding year’s model-year build.

For example: if the date of manufacture was 10/1969, 11/1969, or 12/1969… then the model year for that particular unit will be 1970.

Keep in mind too that some gray-market cars may have the incorrect model year on the title or registration because of possible typos or clerical errors by DOT when it arrived in the US. I have seen titles where, for example, a euro-spec 1983 300D was documented as 1984 or 1985 because it was imported in the US that particular year. This is another reason it’s important to always verify the actual build year of a particular unit and if a build card or MB’s Zertifikat is present, obtained or attached then it will be the telltale proof of its identity and provenance.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 10:58 AM
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If you live in a area where smog equipment is an issue, be sure that the registured year is the model year.

As an example the smog laws when I lived in Las Vegas were if the car left the factory with the equipment then the car must have the equipment installed & working. I purchased a 1968 Dartun Roadster that was reg as a '69 since that's the year that it was sold. Unfortunately the '69 cars had different emissions equipment than the '68 cars. There was no amount of reasoning that could be done with the DMV to convince them that the car was infact a '68, not even a letter from Nissan. The DMV wanted me to retrofit '69 emissions equipment to my '68 car. That was a real problem since that equipment is now made out of unobtainum. I ended up finding a smog guy who would pass the car as long as it would pass the tailpipe test and had the equipment shown on the emissions sticker. Thank God the emission sticker was still intact.

If it's not broke it dosen't have enough features.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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What would a '72 280 SEL 4.5 be worth? I've seen one advertised with records until 2000 when it went to the second owner (who then consigned it to the salesperson in 2009). There is no visible rust on the body, however I haven't seen the undercarriage. It was from Boston, and likely a daily driver. The interior is in good shape - looks like they re-did the interior 10 yrs ago. The mechanicals....well I'm told they are in good shape. It has about 125k on it. They are asking over $11000. Too much?
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