Date registered: Feb 2010
Vehicle: 1972 280SEL daily driver. 904 Dark Blue with cognac interior. euro 4.5 engine
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I have owned a 78 450SL (same engine, different fuel injection system) and currently own a 72 280SEL4.5 (same engine and fuel injection system, different body).
First, the bad. I will confirm that the number one thing is RUST, RUST, RUST. These cars almost never have surface rust, they rust from the inside out. The next thing is timing chain, tensioner and guides. these cars have a timing chain that is about 6 feet long. They stretch and break (change them every 100,000miles). When they break, the $4500 purchase price will look cheap. The other thing is camshaft oilers. They plug and quickly ruin the camshaft.
The good. I love the 72 and 73 SL years becaus of the small bumpers. I love the 4.5 liter engine. Runs strong and has lots of torque. I put 250,000 miles on my SL and my SEL has about that on it. The SL rides and drives great. They were not known to have the best air conditioners so be prepared to drive only on nice days.