Date registered: Jan 2006
Vehicle: 73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
Location: DC Area
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
I spent my teenage years with a 109 3.5, owned a '73 280SE 4.5 for a decade, and I've had two other Mercedes with a straight 6. The six is nice and makes vroom vroom sounds well, but you won't get to 60 mph with any urgency. My 280SE got to 60mph in a tad over 9 seconds. Every one of my repair bills on the 4.5 revolved around wear items -starter, water pump, alternator, rubber. I had the chain and associated guides inspected after I bought it, and never fiddled with the engine after that. I have nothing but good things to say about that engine.
Parts are still available but are creeping up in price. The Classic Center has much of what you might need, but expect to pay LOT$ of $$ through them. I sourced a refurb'ed computer for $450 once, I've had great luck with Napa, Autozone, etc, and with other distributors I landed on after a click or two from google.
Parts are not rare per se, but the knowledge and skill in diagnosing and repairing these things seems to be getting so. Unless you find an independent shop that specializes in older Mercedes, I would HIGHLY recommend educating yourself on the car before having a repair done "out in town."