1968 230 W110 good daily/cross country driver? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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1968 230 W110 good daily/cross country driver?

Hey all, I'm new to the forums and have some newbie type questions. One of my dad's coworkers has a white 1968 230 fintail for sale, I think it's mechanically sound, definitely drivable. The paint is oxidized with some rust spots, interior looks to be original and in great condition. I haven't talked to the seller yet since I'm not sure if I should try and get it and I don't want to waste the guy's time.

I really need a car that can make it cross-country several times over the next 4 or 5 years and can be used as a daily driver. We are in the northwest and I will be moving to south texas in july.....probably back and forth a few times over the next couple years? Previously I was looking at early 2000 toyota camrys and the like......but I have completely fallen in love with this mercedes and am trying really hard to make it work!

So how hard is it to find parts for a '68 230? Assuming it's in good shape mechanically is routine maintainance expensive? If I have an owners manual can I do a lot of the repairs myself? I don't really have a lot of mechanic skills....I can change sparkplugs, sometimes change oil. Obviously if I had something this cool I'd rapidly learn how to take care of it. Most people just seem to have these as second cars or restoration projects, so I don't know that it's very smart to buy it as a primary driver.....but I really want it! If it's going to be 2 weeks to wait for a part to be shipped if something goes out than I'm going to be in trouble. But if it's probably going to keep going once it's in good shape then I could probably swing it? I also don't want to drive this thing into the ground either. Should I just wait 5-10 years til I'm in a place where I can take care of it properly? Thanks!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 02:35 PM
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Vehicle: 1966 MB 200; Porsche 914 (6); Porsche 914 (Chev 350); 36 ford
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When new, these cars were very reliable. The problem is, it is a 40+ years old.

So, it all depends on the condition of the car.

1. Make sure the car was maintained.
2. Really, make sure the coolant was replaced on a regular basis. Otherwise, the cooling system could be toast. (Aluminum head don't like having old coolant.)
3. There may be some repairs to get it to be reliable.
4. Most parts are easy to get, and not that expensive. The expensive parts are the hard to get parts. (makes sense, eh) The cylinder head is $$$. Hence the comment about the coolant. Water pump is kind of pricey, but not horrible. Caliper, rotors are cheap. Rebuilt starters can be had for couple hundred.
5. Drive this car before you decide. They are tanks. Built solid. Gas mileage is so-so, power is so-so. I think the 0-60 time is 14 seconds. As they have dual carbs, don't expect decent mileage, especially, if they are in need of adjustment or rebuild.
6. I have ordered parts that had to come from Germany, and it was on my door in one week.
7. I find these cars very easy to work on. I did have a little bit of a hard time finding a manual that was decent. (I have a couple, that are so-so, but the two together give me what I need.)

Having said that, I like my 200, which is the smaller engine in the same car. It does get out of it's own way. (barely) But, I have a lot of work to get it back to reliable status. I am toying with putting in a later model (modern) motor with EFI. Goal is 0-60 in 8 seconds, and 25-30 mpg. I can dream.

I am not sure if I would buy one of these as my only driver. But, I did drive a 30 year old car for a couple of years as my daily driver. Never stranded me.

-- brett

Last edited by bfrymire; 06-05-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 10:54 AM
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Vehicle: 1966 230S
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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.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 08:00 AM
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Date registered: Mar 2011
Vehicle: 1966 W108 250S
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These are basic, simple cars that can dependable and maintained easily.

This said, keep in mind that its still a 40+ years old vehicle, and some parts at this age can fail without warning. Regular maintenance lowers the risk of bad things happening, as do regular checks on e.g. condition of the wiring (THE most common trouble on old cars is corroded ground, corroded connections and worn out wires.)

Service literature can be found easily, and basic maintenance doesnt require any particular skills.
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