BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Jun 2011
Vehicle: 1966 230S
Location: Western Washington
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We have a 1966 230S which I wouldn't hesitate to drive across the country. Over the years, we have spent a fair amount of money on it, but relative to buying and maintaining a new car, it is inexpensive. Gas isn't inexpensive, since the best I have ever seen out of it is about 19mpg on the freeway. It get lousy fuel economy in the city, but the tradeoff is cheap insurance, cheap maintenance, and stone reliability. The carbs are a pain relative to a Holley or SUs (at least in my opinion), but they are easier to deal with than a Quadrajet. Tuning it up requires setting points, but you can eliminate this with any number of aftermarket electronic ignition modules which work very well. Some parts can be tough to find, but the heavy duty wear items are still fairly plentiful. If all else fails, Mercedes Benz will sell you OEM parts for nearly everything necessary to keep the car on the road.
If the car you are looking at is well maintained, it's a quirky choice, but a fine choice. As Brett says, an abused one is just abused and likely to cost you a whole lot of money. Our car was my wife's daily driver until about 2003 or 2004. We parked it for a while, since we didn't need to use it for much of anything, but my work now requires me to have a decent looking and behaving car, unlike my work van which is pretty crude, so it will be my daily driver. We have had fewer problems with this car over the 20 years we have owned it than with any other vehicle we have owned over the same period.
I don't know where in the Northwest you are, but I'm in Seattle, and up until about ten years ago, finners were not an unusual sight on the road. I don't know why people don't drive them so much any more. They come out a bit when the sun comes out, so you will see a few over the next few months. They tend to rust, so there's the possibility they have finally rusted to the point people don't think they are worth repairing. It is a shame, since they are absolutely bulletproof if you maintain them, and maintenance isn't difficult.
Last edited by Gaolee; 06-06-2011 at 11:01 AM.