Considering a 1973 280C - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Considering a 1973 280C

Looking at a 1973 280c, but am concerned it's only a 4 cyclinder? Would use it as a weekend driver in good weather. Will be taking it on the highway for 100 - 200 mile trips. Any thoughts on comfort, speed (relatively speaking, of course). Also any thoughts on genegral price range - it is reported to have 90K miles, with some records and one recent respray in the same color. Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:53 AM
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If there's a 4-cylinder motor in that car you should be concerned, because it came from the factory with a 6.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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The ad says 4, but maybe it's a mistake. I will confirm. Thanks.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Confirmed as a 6 cyclinder, which minimizes my concerns about power. Any thoughts on price range, even with the minimal description? Any other helpful inputs?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 05:14 PM
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If it is a 280C and not a CE, stay away from it. These have Zenith carbs that warp from metal corrosion in the zinc, and new old stock carbs do the same in their boxes. The car will ALWAYS run like crap at idle due to the deformation.
OR, buy it cheap and stick a Corvette engine in it...
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 08:17 PM
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The 73-76 280C have a 4 barrel Solex carb. The 70-72 250C have a twin Zenith carb setup. Both are equally problematic!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 08:24 PM
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Yes, the carb is a sticking point of sorts, but a 1973 280C is absolutely one of my all-time favorite Benz's. Gorgeous car, if the interior is good, and the undercarriage and body are relatively rust-free, I'd take a good hard look.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:24 AM
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Lots of ways around the carb problem. Different carbs, I'm currently running my '74 280C using an Autolite 2 bbl, I'm using a Megasquirt fuel injection conversion on my '72 250C (the original M130 was changed to a 4 cylinder M115) and I'm running a Holley conversion carb on my '73 280.

Windscreen glass can be a deal breaker. $700 for the front, gasket and installation and I imagine the same on the rear.

Wonderful driving cars, just enough "sport" feeling to make the twisty roads fun but still maintains the "Benz" ride. No barn burner but it will run all day long at 85-95 mph, err, so I've been told!

Pricewise? Always a bit of a sticky point. It would have to be in an absolute pristine condition to be worth more than $4000. You can pick up "runners" for $1500 and a pretty decent one for under $3K.

The W114/115's never quite caught on to the collector's market but that's okay! It keeps the price reasonable for those of us who appreciate them!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:36 AM
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Carbs, windshields, etc

There has been a lot of badmouthing of the twin zenith carbs on forums. There have also been a few people who say that if they are properly tuned they run great. I'm closer to the "they run great" side of things. Mine are running a little rich but the car always starts, always stops, has good pickup, never misses. It runs great.

Having said that, I'm highly interested in the mega-squirt conversion. If my carbs ran poorly I would be wanting that big time.

Regarding the front and rear glass - new gaskets for front and rear will run about $250 - $275 from Mercedes Classic Center. Installation of the new gaskets for me was $275. So I've got $500+ into replacing the rubber around the front and rear glass, which has gotten rid of signficant leakage.

I didn't replace the glass because it was good, but if I had needed to, the junkyards in Los Angeles are a reliable source for finding a good coupe windshield (front or back) and the price is around $35. You can't count on finding one when you need it, but over the past year I have probably seen 6 or so coupes with good glass.

The coupes are a blast to drive - classy. Gas hogs.

Things to be aware of - front seats are not supportive on the bottom in the older cars if they have not had the springs / pads replaced. You can not take sedan seats and put them in a coupe. So if the seat is unsupportive (you will know this right away) figure on needing some work done there.

Speed? I've had mine up to about 100 just to see what it would do. These are not "fast" cars, but they don't have any problem keeping up in traffic.

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 #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:58 AM
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My 280C was one of my favorites too. A close tie or even second was my 111. I replaced the solex carb with an aftermarkey Webber, but I regretted it. I should have just rebilt the solex and called it a day.
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