Considering 1959 180D - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Nov 2013
Vehicle: 1959 180D
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Considering 1959 180D

Hello! I'm brand new to the forum, but not brand new to antique cars. I have a habit of falling in love with the styling of a car and it follows me home. The last one is a 1956 Studebaker Flight Hawk. For those unfamiliar, it's a heavy flathead 6 cyl with a 3-speed OD transmission. So I'm DEFINITELY familiar with being the last off the line, but I can cruise along on the highway at 85 easily and that's supremely important because I love to drive my cars.

I have ALWAYS loved the styling of the older Mercedes. I thought it'd eventually be an early 60's car, but this little '59 is absolutely adorable.

I've read that the 0-60 time of this is 39 seconds and the top speed is 68. I could probably accept the 39 seconds, but 68 isn't an option.

I replaced the wiring harness in my Hawk for about $225, and I've checked a vendor linked to this forum and found that the comparable wiring harnesses total $1,800... I'm guessing that's a typical difference in parts costs...

Do I need to walk away from this adorable little car? (Never had a diesel before.)

THANKS for any advice!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 01:03 PM
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Mercedes are a whole different breed then american cars.....I highly doubt you will need a new wiring harness unless that one is ate up by mice, even then I am sure you can find a used one. I have had no issues with any of my wiring in my car. The only issues I have had are dirty ground points, connectors and switches all easily solvable...
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 02:30 PM
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I suspect that the 68 mph top speed is real - but I don't have the actual spec in front of me. I do own a 1973 220D (14 years younger and ~400 cc more) and according to the owners manual the top speed for my car is 84 mph which it can achieve on a flat road but I would not drive at that speed for long.

The Diesel engines of this era have a mechanical governor in the injector pump. You could perhaps modify it to go faster but if you've ever heard one revving that high you wouldn't want to. Definitely a car built for comfort not for speed.

In the MB diesel line to drive long distances at 80+ I think the w115 68 to 75 is the first model that stands a chance but really you'd need the newer models like 300TD minimum. But then you loose the style you like so much.


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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 04:10 PM
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If you can get past the top speed issue then it's probably not much worse than the Studebaker, and you may even find it more rewarding learning the incredible engineering on these cars as you dive into one. You may also want to consider a fintail sedan, the W110 and W111 can be had readily and they are still reasonably easy to find parts for, even trim. I don;t think that cost comparison is accurate on everything, in fact there have been many times that the MB Classic Center in Irvine, Ca provided me with parts for far less than online sellers who have marked them up. Of course other parts are cheaper from non-official sources so you really just need to get a feel for who to call for what parts to save money. My last order from Classic center was for some seals that cost me $2 each, but to be fair, my ignition key would be $80.

PS: Are you aware of the connection between Studebaker and how they facilitated the entry of Mercedes-Benz into the US? Google around a bit, it's very interesting stuff and you still come across Mercedes pamphlets from the era that say "Studebaker-Packard" as the distributor and many showrooms carried both the MB and Studebaker. I'm Hoosier born so have always loved those, especially the various Hawks and Avanti.

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
The Coupe Group on Facebook


"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 05:08 PM
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+1 on likely not needing a wiring harness. Check and clean contacts, especially if the vehicle has been sitting a long while. Also, if something on the harness is shot, they are easily rebuildable...not that many electronic components on cars from this era, especially with a diesel.

worth noting: ride quality and handling on a ponton are AWESOME. they are much lighter than the later w110, 108 cars, but with similar engines.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 05:44 PM
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if you could take the engine out and put in a 180 gas , you would be ahead .the 180 d is deadly slow . i drive a 73 220 d 4 speed stick , no air and it is just ok .i dont go over 60 / 65 . 80 is nut .
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone! I stopped by to kick the tires again last night and it SEEMS like a really solid car. Needs a tail light lens and a front turn signal lens, but all the other shiny bits are there and appear to be pretty darned straight, just pitted. Really pitted. :-) There's no headliner and I haven't searched for pictures to see if it needs the metal bows. I made an offer and he's thinking about it...
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 07:36 AM
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For a valuable resource for these types of cars join the International Ponton Owners Group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzarkPetunia View Post
Thanks, everyone! I stopped by to kick the tires again last night and it SEEMS like a really solid car. Needs a tail light lens and a front turn signal lens, but all the other shiny bits are there and appear to be pretty darned straight, just pitted. Really pitted. :-) There's no headliner and I haven't searched for pictures to see if it needs the metal bows. I made an offer and he's thinking about it...

Thanks,
Mike
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mike. I copied this post over to what I THINK is that groups discussion board right after posting here yesterday and haven't heard a peep yet. Looks like a valuable resource though, since it's such a specific subgroup! Hope I get good news later today and NEED the resource. :-)
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:53 AM
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If there is any information on the car you are considering online, it would definitely be to your advantage to post it here so people can have a look.

Lots of potential "gotchas" on this car that an uninformed buyer can miss.
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