1972 300SEL 4.5 full restoration - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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1972 300SEL 4.5 full restoration

Well, I am inching ever closer to acquiring my dream car: a 1972 300SEL 4.5. I am planning a full restoration.
I had test driven it, and loved it. Out of an abundance of precautions, I had it inspected by an old hand of classic cars like these. The one-owner has been very meticulous with it.
The car has over 300K verifiable miles, and so I am expecting some work that has to be done. I am quite the mechanic, but also know my limits!
The following are items that most likely will need to be done:
-paint (with some rust repair on rocker panel) /
-Transmission rebuild (it hums...) /
- Rear Axle rebuilt ( it's gunky around the seals) /
- Engine rebuild

I know many of you are experts on these cars, and so I am hoping you could give me some ball park figures on the budget I should be looking at for each of those main areas of work.
As I said, I am not shy of doing some/ a lot of the work myself, but I know my limits...

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by ninomb; 03-29-2011 at 05:13 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 09:35 PM
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I do not have much experience but I think you could factor 5-10k easily for a great paint job involving some rust repair
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 09:38 AM
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I am no expert but have owned a few w108 and 109 cars and I currently own a "just like new" 1972 280sel with the 4.5 v8. I would say that if you have concerns about money,stop right now. People regularly spend $50k-150k to fully restore the much more valuable but mechanically identical 280 convertables and coupes and 300sel/6.3. There is no reason you could not spend 30k+ and you would then have a car worth 20k tops!! Lots of great rust free cars out there now, get one of those. Thats what I did, no regrets. But if you love never ending projects....
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 02:22 PM
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You know your abilities and you know the car, so your ballpark guestimate is going to be better then mine.

The more work you do the cheaper it is. The engines are resilient, you may tear it down and just find out that you need a top end rebuild. Parts are available (cams, rockers, valves etc) so you can price that stuff up on the web.

With best regards

Al

Check out the W114, W115 /8 enthusiast forum http://www.stroke8.org

My 280SL restoration
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 09:33 PM
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Sounds like a interesting project. Keep in mind that restoring a vintage automobile is like building you own home-it can take years and end your marrage(not mine!) As was mentioned don't get emotional about a particular car-take your time and buy the best example you can-you will be $$ ahead in the long run+not spend years working on it!

Tony
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 11:31 PM
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I second everything said above. Buy the nicest car your budget will support. Aside from engine/tranny/paint, you'll have issues with the air bag system too. Those things can be expensive when they die
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 09:00 AM
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A full restoration on a 300.000 miles car that has rust, including engine, transmission and rear axles rebuild (and then suspension and front axle) and a full repaint (and then the interior as it will look dull compared to the rest)...

By when you are done in several years from now, after a lot of work and many occasions to abandon the project, you will have spent three to five times the amount of money you need to buy a superb, low mileage, rust free example that you can enjoy immediately (don't ask how I know this).
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGR View Post
By when you are done in several years from now, after a lot of work and many occasions to abandon the project, you will have spent three to five times the amount of money you need to buy a superb, low mileage, rust free example that you can enjoy immediately.
Me too. I've got $30k into my 108, and it's worth $5k tops. I was looking for a restoration project though, and knew I was getting a rusty beast. Just didn't know HOW rusty ...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 06:31 AM
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Perhaps going off topic but since we have some 108/109 owners here , I have to ask what you guys think a really nice , rust free car is worth? I looked at a bunch of cars before I finally bought a 4.5 from a Mercedes specialist(Star Motors) and paid 15k but even then I have sunk another 10k on misc. odds and ends. I have to think that eventually prices for really nice ones will go up just because it makes no sence to rebuild one so supply is declining.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCCA Racer View Post
Perhaps going off topic but since we have some 108/109 owners here , I have to ask what you guys think a really nice , rust free car is worth? I looked at a bunch of cars before I finally bought a 4.5 from a Mercedes specialist(Star Motors) and paid 15k but even then I have sunk another 10k on misc. odds and ends. I have to think that eventually prices for really nice ones will go up just because it makes no sence to rebuild one so supply is declining.
Top condition examples for demanding enthousiasts usually go for more money than the market usual prices. That's true for any model.

There were a lot of 4.5 W108 produced so market price is not that high. And because of a rather low market value they were not well maintained. So finding one in top notch condition has now become difficult.

I think the 4.5 W108 is a very nice car. It is a decent proposition if you don't wan't to pay the 6.3 premium price and deal with air suspension complications and mad part prices. I believe top notch example my go up because they are attractive for that and because they have become rare.
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