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1984 Production Euro Spec 280CE 4-speed

12110 Views 137 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  MSGGrunt
New to me and just arrived from Texas. September 1984 production 280CE 4-speed, European spec as confirmed by the VIN. 43,193 document miles. I am now the 3rd owner. The story on the car is that the original owner was a Doctor who ordered it and took delivery of the car in Belgium, drove it around Europe while on vacation and then shipped it to Texas. According to the 2nd owner who worked with this doctor he found himself on the wrong side of the law and went to prison for 7 years. The story was told to me that when he was released from prison he drove the car, presumably without checking the oil, and blew the motor. The 2nd owner paid $500.00 for the car, I have a copy of the bill of sale, and purchased a new short block from Adsit, which I have the receipt for, swapped everything over from the blown motor and had it installed in the car.

The Good: The block has only approximately 10,000 miles on it.
The Bad: It is no longer a matching numbers car.

When imported the car was federalized and US spec headlights, taillights and bumpers were installed. And at some point in the vehicles life the front manual window regulators were swapped for power ones.

The car came with its original owner's manuals, complete tool kit, original Pirelli Cinturato spare (I don't think it has ever been out of the car), original first aid kit, and even a mint working Becker Europa radio.

To Do:
  • Swap in Euro headlights (already have a set).
  • Go back to manual front windows (already have the manual regulators and cranks with trim).
  • Swap out US spec bumpers for Euro spec. Low priority right now.
  • The car came from the factory with a rear seatbelt delete option (I found this to be an odd option and even more odd to select it). I am missing and need to source one of the rear panel seat belt blanking covers. Done, I found the second trim piece in a box of spares in the trunk.
  • Replace all the wood trim. I have already ordered a complete set from W123 I am going with burl rather than the original Zebrano as I feel it will look nice with the black/grey interior. 10 to 12 weeks to make.
  • Source a crack free or less crack free dash.
  • Give the paint a good cut, buff and polish.
  • Possibly go back to Euro taillights.
  • Replace shifter bushing.
  • Replace cracked exterior window wiper rubbers.
  • Tune up with new plugs, cap, rotor, injectors with new cups and O-rings, adjust valves and replace all fluids as well as a good cooling system flush.
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Today I took advantage of the mild weather and installed the new Bilstein shocks and H&R lowering springs. It is such a pleasure working on a low mileage car that came from Texas. Not a single rusted bolt on the car.
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The only issue I ran into was with the front coils. The factory access hole in the fender that allows the spring compressor to slide through and down into the spring had to be slightly enlarged. It appears that when the panels were welded together at the factor the two panels didn't line up perfectly. A little work with a half round file and all was good.

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The car as she sits with the new suspension. Still a bit high, but I am sure the springs and pads will settle after a while. And of course I will have to have an alignment done.

Now I need to find center caps for the Penta replicas. Any ideas? The original ones don't fit.

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Love the Pentas on that. Look great.
Lookin good, did you purposely want the rockers to be white? And did you intentionally install the headlights upside down? Gives it a meaner look, doesn't even look bad. Cheers
I left the rockers white so I could take the time and research what color they should be, I believe all the cars got a dark grey color??? Please if someone knows for sure chime in. I will tape off the area and coat with 3M chip guard before painting.

I didn't even realize the headlights were in upside-down. Who would have thought they would even fit that way? So no, not intentional. I bet the light pattern would have been interesting. Something to swap around this weekend. Thanks for noticing.
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Thank You Ebay. NLA new from Mercedes door strap arrived today. New old stock. Other than used there isn't a choice on the coupes as the aftermarket companies like Meyle, Uro, Febi, etc don't make these for the 2-door cars and they are different than the ones in the sedan. Not inexpensive, but I do appreciate original MB quality.

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Euro bumpers arrived.

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Small euro bumpers make these cars look so much better. I can’t tell from the pics, but understand that some euro bumpers for w123 are bulkier than others and don’t have the chrome that wraps all the way around the sides like euro bumpers for a 107, while the smallest w123 euro bumpers look very similar to euro 107 bumpers. I sure hope you got the smallest best looking ones. I think that’s what a euro 280ce should have. I think that’s also what a euro 280e should also have. Hard to tell from the pics of the disassembled bumpers bc they look bulkier than 107 euro bumpers, but you seem to have gotten everything else right so far.
I did a bunch of research with a lot of help from forum members and learned there are two styles of bumpers for the W123. The shorter ends version with the rubber ends were put on the wagons, diesels and lower specification gas cars. The longer metal ends style that wraps around more were put on the higher spec coupe's and 280Es.
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Rear bumper mounted. The rubber center rub strip will get installed in the summer when the temps get warmer. I need to order the side locating brackets and rubber isolator that mounts to the body and then on to the front bumper.

I will also have to address the overspray on the underside of the body once it gets warmer. Something that replicates the OEM color, but not necessarily more undercoating.

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And another small project was to remove the exhaust manifolds and give them a good cleaning and a coating of POR-15 grey high heat paint prior to re-installing. The rusted manifolds just didn't go with the otherwise fairly clean engine compartment. While off it will be a good time to clean up the body shop dust that is everywhere.

I had read that removing these could be a pretty tedious job, but I had them off in a matter of 45 minutes. I did have jack up the passenger's side of the car to gain access to one of the manifold to exhaust bolts, but other than that a 1/4" drive 12mm socket made quick work or removing the mounting nuts and the manifolds slipped off without having to remove anything else.

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Manifolds all clean and ready to be installed with all new hardware.

The process:
  • Had manifolds sandblasted
  • Clean with brake cleaner
  • Once dry coat with POR 15 High Temp Paint. I used a foam brush
  • Let air dry for 24-hours
  • Apply second coat
  • Let air dry another 24-hours
  • Heat in over at 300-degrees for 20 minutes
  • Let cool
  • Heat in 300-degree oven a second time
  • Install

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Looks great, I wish spring would get here, -32*C at 6 am this morning means no worky in the garage, there is a distinct lack of insulation & heating in it.
This is much more visually pleasing.

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About the rockers, yes they should be grey. I think the color is called "galinit grey" (DB129), but you may want to verify prior to making a decision.

By the way, is interesting how the rockers and front valance were painted at the factory. The finish is kind of rough, there is only one tape line hidden by the rubber seal attached to the rocker itself and the edges of the grey areas aren’t well defined (look like overspray). I find it quite rough for such a high end car.

This picture is from a 43K miles sold in BAT sometime ago and gives and idea of the color and finish:

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As for the center caps, perhaps you can consider 3D printed ones. I have seen a few small companies offering 3D printed center caps that are impossible to find.
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Thanks for the info on the rocker paint. I knew it was a dark grey of some sort. I wonder if this is the same grey used in the trunks or maybe a darker shade? I have a local paint supplier that can mix up OEM colors in spray cans, maybe give that a try.

Maybe my center cap issue is because I went with cheap eBay knockoffs.
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