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The 450SL is designed to drive at speeds far in excess of anything allowed in America. This means they are a lot more complicated. More complexity in older cars means more parts likely to break down. The cost of MB parts is much higher, and often takes weeks to procure even from the dealer. The cost of repair at MB dealers is way too high, and the indy shops hard to find outside of prime-wealth areas.

As a weekender a 450SL is great. As a tour-America car where reliability is important, and where available parts and knowledgeable shops are everywhere American iron means you are on the road, not stuck on the side of the road with the hood up. Then there are the road conditions. 450SL is made for Europe which either means fantastically smooth and perfect engineered autobahns with no speed limit or 135kph outside of Germany, or ultra-twisty mountain roads begging to be driven fast. American iron is made for American roads which means badly maintained interstate highways with 55-75 mph speed limits, ultra-wide secondary roads where cushy suspensions are more important than cornering or braking.

If it was me, I would buy a 1966 Cadillac convertible with peeling paint that was well maintained by a cranky old guy who drove it to the end and died last month. Actually, that was inspired by a friend of mine - from a famous car family - who was living in NYC and watched some car movie I cannot recall. He and his buddy took a cab to LaGuardia, flew to Phoenix and bought a 66 Cadillac at 2 a.m. from a vendor who could not quite understand what was going on but was happy to take their money. They drove it back across the country with the top down and a case of Veuve Clicquot in the trunk that they slowly drained. A few weeks later he came up to our summer place for the weekend back when all the guests were single and beautiful... fitting six in the Caddy with plenty of room for everyone.
So many "fors" and so many "againsts".As someone who restored a 1964 Olds 98 convertible several years ago - including an engine rebuild - I can attest to the fact that parts for classic American cars are not always that easy to find, or even very cheap once found.So many American cars were shoddily built in the mid to late 1900's while Mercedes probably was reaching a peak in quality at the same time. One of the examples you gave was the Cadillac Allante. I really liked that car, in fact it was the car I was going to buy 15 years ago when I ended up with my 107. After talking to an experienced GM(Cadillac) technician I learned that all the mechanics shuddered when an Allante came into the shop for service. Apparently they're real pigs to work on.. What it really boils down to is personal taste. Although I admire many older cars of many nationalities it was the 107 I eventually chose and although it is a European model it handles the North American roads with aplomb, purring on the highways and growling on the byways. I have no problem in taking it on longer trips, but maybe that'e because I believe in preventative rather than repairing maintenance.
 

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1972 450SL / 129k miles
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Discussion Starter #22
POR-15 or Miracle paint will be your friends if the floors aren’t totally rotted.

The above video was a great into the Miracle Paint process
It's either that or replace the entire floorboard with an OEM piece ( Main Floor 115-616-09-67 | OEM Mercedes Benz Parts )
I'm sure replacing with the OEM piece is much more involved and much more costly
I'll keep researching
 

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450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500se+500slAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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The above video was a great into the Miracle Paint process
It's either that or replace the entire floorboard with an OEM piece ( Main Floor 115-616-09-67 | OEM Mercedes Benz Parts )
I'm sure replacing with the OEM piece is much more involved and much more costly
I'll keep researching
DEFINITELY go with the por-15 / miracle paint unless this is all about the joy of tearing a car apart and rebuilding it as best as you can, or if the floors can’t be saved.

The “irreversible” part of using miracle paint/pot-15 is that once you put it on, you will never get it off the metal. So if you decide to weld later, you will have to cut out all the por-15.

Let’s see the floors and rockers.


Edit: it seems like this thread could take its own path, and should be linked here since it contains the only new pics I’ve seen so far:

 

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1972 450SL / 129k miles
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Discussion Starter #24
DEFINITELY go with the por-15 / miracle paint unless this is all about the joy of tearing a car apart and rebuilding it as best as you can, or if the floors can’t be saved.

The “irreversible” part of using miracle paint/pot-15 is that once you put it on, you will never get it off the metal. So if you decide to weld later, you will have to cut out all the por-15.

Let’s see the floors and rockers.


Edit: it seems like this thread could take its own path, and should be linked here since it contains the only new pics I’ve seen so far:

Since I'm home doing nothing besides avoiding Corona and drinking Coronas, I'll go grab some detailed pics of the floor boards.
 

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1972 450SL / 129k miles
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Discussion Starter #25

To me, the above car is an example of a very VERY clean "driver". It's well polished/detailed and we don't know what lurks under the carpet or trunk mat. But on the surface it's very clean. It's not "too" nice where I'd be afraid of getting road chips or a shopping basket ding. But again, it's at the very top of what I'd consider a driver.
 

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1972 450SL / 129k miles
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Discussion Starter #26
Let’s see the floors and rockers.

Edit: it seems like this thread could take its own path, and should be linked here since it contains the only new pics I’ve seen so far:




I found the key in my office slacks. Go figure.
This is turning into a nice little project in rust repair.
 

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1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Well, find where the rust ends and the metal begins. I think the car is too far gone to try and save it correctly welding in new metal. I think you can probably get more out of the car with por-15.












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1972 450SL / 129k miles
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Discussion Starter #29
Well, find where the rust ends and the metal begins. I think the car is too far gone to try and save it correctly welding in new metal. I think you can probably get more out of the car with por-15.

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This may sound weird but this actually makes me feel MUCH better.
In that I really can't go wrong with what I do with the car.
Except for putting gas in it and keeping the top down.
I'll Miracle Paint & Fiberglass the floors then have the other rust bits professionally addressed so they don't get too out of control too fast and simply DRIVE it!

Drove it around the neighborhood today with my kids in the back.
They LOVE it.
I then drove down to get coffee and took a couple hard lefts and felt water splash on my feet from the blower motor compartment.
I also got it up to about 70 and droplets hit my feet from the blower motor then too.

I wonder how far a few grand injected into this car would get me?
A nice SAFE & RELIABLE machine hopefully.

Remember, I was looking for a behemoth American cruiser (Buick Electra or Plymouth Fury. something along those lines)
 

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1974 450SL, previously 1986 420SEL
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rhd280, you are almost describing Nick Nolte's convertible in 48 Hours. It was a '64.
 

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1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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This may sound weird but this actually makes me feel MUCH better.
In that I really can't go wrong with what I do with the car.
Except for putting gas in it and keeping the top down.
I'll Miracle Paint & Fiberglass the floors then have the other rust bits professionally addressed so they don't get too out of control too fast and simply DRIVE it!

Drove it around the neighborhood today with my kids in the back.
They LOVE it.
I then drove down to get coffee and took a couple hard lefts and felt water splash on my feet from the blower motor compartment.
I also got it up to about 70 and droplets hit my feet from the blower motor then too.

I wonder how far a few grand injected into this car would get me?
A nice SAFE & RELIABLE machine hopefully.

Remember, I was looking for a behemoth American cruiser (Buick Electra or Plymouth Fury. something along those lines)
I wouldn't mind betting the firewall is badly rusted too. Don't drive into any large pot holes! With all that rust how reliable is it likely to be? I doubt $2000 will scratch the surface unless you DIY.
 

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I'll Miracle Paint & Fiberglass the floors ...
^^ good

...
then have the other rust bits professionally addressed so they don't get too out of control too fast
...
Doubt the pros will want anything to do with it, and if they do, they will probably charge you more than the car is worth

...
and simply DRIVE it!

...
^^^ good

...

Drove it around the neighborhood today with my kids in the back.
They LOVE it.

...
^^ NICE! ;)
...

I then drove down to get coffee and took a couple hard lefts and felt water splash on my feet from the blower motor compartment.
I also got it up to about 70 and droplets hit my feet from the blower motor then too.

...
Have you gotten underneath the car and cleaned out all the drains? There are rubber tubes that are probably all full of debris and causing the drains to not work correctly. This is step 1 on almost every car I buy. Clean out the drains so the water will properly drain out of the vehicle. You might want to drill a few holes in the floors to assure they no longer hold water too.

...

I wonder how far a few grand injected into this car would get me?
A nice SAFE & RELIABLE machine hopefully.
^^ no amount of money will make the car safe & reliable. Those are subjective terms, and you will have to make those decisions yourself, but that car looks so crusty that I would guess that a significant amount of its structural integrity is nowhere near the safety standards of 1971 when the car was designed. I doubt anyone would call any car designed in the 1970’s safe by today’s standards. Just be careful when you’ve got the kids in the car, and remember that you don’t have to make a mistake to get in an accident. It could be someone else’s mistake.

Just POR-15 the hell out of it. Make the car enjoyable. If you like it, soon enough you will find one with far less rust. I have a 1972 and a 1973 that I bought in two separate instances for a total of $1100, and one came with euro headlights (that will possibly pay for both of them), so it’s like two free cars, and neither has any significant rot. Neither came with a title though. Getting titles will cost me thousands probably. The good ones are out there.


 

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Discussion Starter #33
All, thanks for your sobering words. Looks like my deal wasn't as good as I thought.
 

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All, thanks for your sobering words. Looks like my deal wasn't as good as I thought.
Don’t get me wrong. Those deals I got were exceptional, mostly because I found them in the oddest of places and was willing to take on what most others would not even look at. No key, no title. Non-running Mouse house infestation, smashed windshield, etc. The key was knowing I had the right parts and knowledge to take them on.


It looks like I never created a thread on the black one.

I always look at the value of these cars in parts, and figure if I can get my money back in parts, I can’t go wrong. A good running d-jet motor and all d-jet parts is worth over $1000 I think. Add the small bumpers, lights, etc, and that’s another $1000-1500+. Then there’s interior, glass, etc, and there’s possibly another $1000. Steel wheels and caps, another $400. So the car is surely worth over $3500, maybe $4000 in parts probably. It looks like the car was for sale for $5000 asking. So you can’t be in too big of a hole. I suggest making it a decent driver, and not spending too much on it. It will be a great learning one, and if you end up in another early r107, all the parts on this one will be valuable for another.


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Discussion Starter #35
I always look at the value of these cars in parts, and figure if I can get my money back in parts, I can’t go wrong. A good running d-jet motor and all d-jet parts is worth over $1000 I think. Add the small bumpers, lights, etc, and that’s another $1000-1500+. Then there’s interior, glass, etc, and there’s possibly another $1000. Steel wheels and caps, another $400. So the car is surely worth over $3500, maybe $4000 in parts probably. It looks like the car was for sale for $5000 asking. So you can’t be in too big of a hole. I suggest making it a decent driver, and not spending too much on it. It will be a great learning one, and if you end up in another early r107, all the parts on this one will be valuable for another.


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I'm not really up for parting out a car so I guess I'll look into selling this for scrap and trying to recoup as much as I can and go bark up another tree.
 

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I'm not really up for parting out a car so I guess I'll look into selling this for scrap and trying to recoup as much as I can and go bark up another tree.
No no! If it’s an enjoyable car, enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter #38
With all that rust how reliable is it likely to be? I doubt $2000 will scratch the surface unless you DIY.
Took the car to my indy (he's been servicing my W212 for years) for an oil change and PPI.
Nothing catastrophic.
Told me everything I already knew:
Turn signals don't flash (they just stay solidly lit).
Fan shroud has a crack in it
Steering box is leaking
Blower motor doesn't work
Steering coupler needs replacing (steering is sloppy)

I asked for a compression/leakdown test and he discouraged it.
Said the car had great power and runs OK so it'd almost be a "waste".
Said the car is fine for a weekend cruiser but wouldn't use it as a daily drive or try to drive from Houston to Los Angeles in it.

I asked about the water leak I have at the back of the engine on top of the transmission housing and he says it's from the A/C system.

Now I just have to find rear seat belts and I'll be THAT much closer.
 

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Took the car to my indy (he's been servicing my W212 for years) for an oil change and PPI.
Nothing catastrophic.
Told me everything I already knew:
Turn signals don't flash (they just stay solidly lit).
Fan shroud has a crack in it
Steering box is leaking
Blower motor doesn't work
Steering coupler needs replacing (steering is sloppy)

I asked for a compression/leakdown test and he discouraged it.
Said the car had great power and runs OK so it'd almost be a "waste".
Said the car is fine for a weekend cruiser but wouldn't use it as a daily drive or try to drive from Houston to Los Angeles in it.

I asked about the water leak I have at the back of the engine on top of the transmission housing and he says it's from the A/C system.

Now I just have to find rear seat belts and I'll be THAT much closer.
Glad to know he confirmed my diagnosis of the water leak.
 
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