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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to this forum and have some questions about a 1972 280 SEL. It is a four door, with sunroof, original paint, no rust, everything is in working and driving condition, 125,000 miles. I am going to look at this car in the next couple days and possibly buy it if we can agree on a price. I'm a fairly knowledgeable car guy for most things but this would be my first Mercedes and I am not too familiar with this specific model.

I'm wondering what specific kinds of things I should be looking for to make sure I'm not getting a bad car? Any typical things that go wrong on these cars? Problems I should be aware of before owning one? Was this a great car or were/are they riddled with problems? How long will the motor last? Any idea of what a car like this in average condition should be selling for?

Thanks in advance, sorry for being such an uneducated newbie, hopefully the purchase will work out and I will be contributing to the site a lot!
 

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'72 250C, '74 280C, '85 500SEL, '81 300CD.
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Two things to look out for. Rust and those yellow "Ziebart" plugs. If the car has been Ziebarted then it's a disaster waiting to happen. The process plugs the drain holes designed into the car and allows rust to destroy the car from inside out. By the time rust shows externally it has already eaten the metal to a shell.

I mention the Ziebart because it was commonly used in the early '70's in the Midwest. I bought 2 W114's with the plugs and both of them ended up being scrapped due to unseen corrosion problems.

Other than rust then it's the usual concerns. Rubber parts, slipping transmission, sticky brake calipers, etc.

Nice cars but be prepared for low fuel mileage. Not 8MPG low but expect maybe low 15's.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the information, I'll definitely look for the plugs. Hopefully it doesn't have them, the seller states that the car was driven up here from Arizona in 2010.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will post more pictures when I get a chance to go look at it. In the mean time here is a picture from the classified ad. The ad says it is rust free, runs great and everything is operational. Also has a sun roof. Asking price is $1500. Worth it?
 

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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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Assuming there really is no rust and the interior is good, and the engine and transmission are in good running order, $1500 is a good deal for this car, and I'm just saying this based on the pic you posted.
 

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2017 Police Interceptor Utility, 2017 Police Interceptor Sedan
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Can't go too far wrong at $1,500. Worse comes to worst you can play with it for a few months, part it out and get most (if not all) of your money back.
 

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I talked to a local classic car consignment dealer who stated book value on a decent car like this could be around $7800, I also found a Mercedes dealer in the twin cities that said they would like to look at it and possibly buy the car outright for their inventory. Anyways, I went to look at the car and took loads of pictures. The dash has a couple cracks in it and the window regulators need to be replaced. Also the paint needs a good buffing and looks like it has some sun damage on the hood and trunk lid. I peeled up the carpet and checked out all the floor boards as well as the pan under the trunk carpet. There is not a spot of rust anywhere on the car. The pain is all original, tobacco brown on most of it with a tan roof. I peeled back some weather stripping in the doors and the two tone appears to be original as well. The motor is very clean except where power steering fluid is seeping through an old hose. The rear differential looks like its leaking to. The weather stripping looks good around the doors but is cracked around the trunk and both the windshield and back window are very dry and cracked. The glass is all good, is there a cheap window weather stripping that a glass shop would have? Maybe just take the front and rear glass out, put in new stripping and put the original glass back in? Despite the bad looking weather stripping, it doesnt look like there has been water damage inside and the deck behind the rear seat looks good as well as the wood on the dash. The owner said he will fix all the power windows for $200 if i decide to buy it. It also has a load of extras in the trunk, what appears to be the original spare tire, the owners manual still in plastic, and a service book with the first owners name (i would be the third owner) and all the service on the car has been done by mercedes dealers and is documented. There is also a whole bunch of extra interior parts for some reason, headrests, and door panels, original radio. The speakers have all been replaced, there is a cd player in the dash and an amp in the trunk powering new speakers. no new holes were cut for the speakers though. He told me the car hadnt been started in two months and fired right up after turning over about 5 times. One piece of chrome on the front passenger door has a small ding in it otherwise all of the chrome is absolutely perfect, no oxidation, no pitting. its all mirror shine. Another question I have is will it affect the value very much if I repaint the entire thing a different color? Or should I leave it since its the original (but weathered) paint?

So thats what i learned from looking at it. We need to make a decision on Monday. Thanks already for all your help! Pictures are in the post below.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I didnt think so either. In fact i found the picture from the ad in google images. I dont know if he was too lazy to take a picture of the actual car or what but all the pictures i uploaded were taken by me so that is accurate.
 

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1968 250SE S-Class. 1988 560SEC S-Class Widebody
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seems decent for $1500. I would factor $500+ for new Mercedes rubbers (you need to use MB ones on windshield and rear screen). Power window regulators are $200ish each if they need replacement

Dash is a pain to fix , can get dash caps for $100 but I dont know how well they fit

Paintjob, maybe 2000-4000 for a decent job depending on who you know

not a bad car. have a look underneath, judging buy the rubbers the rubber bushings will need replacement along with fuel lines possibly.
 

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'72 250C, '74 280C, '85 500SEL, '81 300CD.
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$1500 would be top dollar on that car. The seller has mis-led you already. He didn't use current photos of THAT car so what else has he fudged on?

I can see you being $5K+ into the car if you do the work and more like $7K if you have most of it done.

Any service records? No? Offer the guy $800 unless you are friends with him. The hidden costs can kill you unless you know what you are in for.

For the $5-$7K you'll be into the car you can find a lot better examples.

'Course this is coming from a guy who's 200+ man-hours and 3 grand into a '72 250C 'cause his wife likes HER car!:eek:
 

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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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My 108 so far has cost me about $30k, but I had some massive rust issues to repair. A nice example of a Benz is rated at $7800, but there may be no market for it.

The original pic was of a red or burgundy 108, right? I'm also now suspicious - I'd take a screw driver or ice pick to the floor boards and undercarriage to see if any rust was covered over with spray paint or undercoating.

Something to consider is whether the current condition is acceptable to you. If the rubbers are cracked but still keep the rain at bay, do you need to replace them? If the paint is getting tired but can be spruced up with a can of wax, does it need a paint job? If I won the lotto, I'd restore my 108 to absolute perfection, but as it runs and is reliable, I'm not going to even bother...

Good luck, tell us what direction you went :)
 

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2017 Police Interceptor Utility, 2017 Police Interceptor Sedan
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If you just want something to play with, at $1,500 that's as good a car as any. If you want an actual nice W108, I'd move on.
 
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