1970 280sel buyer and advice seeker - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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1970 280sel buyer and advice seeker

OK. So I'm thinking of buying this 108 in good shape w/ 100k miles, well kept, but I am sure that this car is euro grey market 280 sel. I have heard tell that it is much harder to get parts for these as opposed to the stateside models. Is this true? How onerous is it to find parts?

Lastly, how safe is this vehicle? I plan to teach my teen how to drive in it. Obviously no air bags. Any thoughts therein that can either bolster the decision, or make me walk away - most welcome.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 10:03 AM
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Vehicle: 73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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For safety, these cars are built like tanks. You should say a prayer for the OTHER guy if you get in a wreck with it. When I was 16, I got into a fender bender with my dad's. The other car, a Ford LTD, was totaled (pieces everywhere). The Benz had a crunched fender.

Parts are easy to find. I've never been unable to find a part for my 108. The guy who monitors/regulates this forum, GermanStar, seems to be fully stocked with everything. I've had great luck with eBay, PeachParts and Autohaus. I've also had great luck with Napa, Kraegan and O' Reilly's as well.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 11:40 AM
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Vehicle: 1981 300TD 310k--1966 230 165k--1970 280se 172k
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Ditto what Grubeguy said. I'm a big fan of the w108 chassis and its a durable, classic, big-breasted ride. Especially the sel. With excellent brakes and good visibility, I feel it's a very safe car.

On my car, however, two things affect its safety. First, there is no passenger side rear view mirror. And secondly, it has Kangol seat belts which IMO are awkward and not a pleasure to use. So much so that there is a temptation to not use them on short trips. So check those out on the car you are about to buy. Both can be remedied if you desire.

I admire the father that can get his teenager in the mindset to find and accept the coolness of these superb cars.

1981 300TD--310k miles
1970 280sel--172k miles
1966 230--162k miles

Last edited by carpenterman; 01-11-2013 at 11:45 AM.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 03:05 PM
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They are quite the car. I have had a 1971 280 SEL for about 20 years now. Besides the obvious like rust, engine and transmission...make sure to check out the heater levers. From what I understand they are a nightmare to work on. I remember at one point my dad drove it for about a year with no heat, and that was apparently better than fixing the levers. As for room, you could hold a convention in the back seat. I currently drive a Chevrolet Suburban and the 280SEL has a good 5 or 6 inches more legroom than the Suburban. Of course the breaks are not anti-lock but mine has 4 wheel disk and amazing stopping power. It will have its share of strange behavior, but nothing too serious. There could be some electrical issues, first thing that comes to mind is the fuses were hard to find, but that was pre-internet. In fact the previous owner of mine worked for General Dynamics and added a bunch of electrical parts from a scrap plane, helicopter, something....and even that wasn't that bad. Somewhere I have the big service manual, if you get one let me know I am sure I can track it down.

Last edited by treyiii; 01-14-2013 at 03:11 PM.
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