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Discussion Starter #1
I have always loved the look of the W108. A month or two ago, I realized that we would need a second car, for short jaunts around town--while reserving our modern vehicle for long distance treks.
I started searching craigslist for a decent car, when I noticed the affordability of the W108 sedans; affordable meaning from $2-$6K.
There are/were a number of W108s for sale in the San Francisco bay area, and I test drove a few. Your forum along with various others have given me what I consider to be a decent "backbone" to have when looking at these cars (what to look for service-wise, service history, rust-prone areas, etc). What I have been noticing in my search so far is that the mercedes found in central/northern california have been quite nice....almost completely rust free cars.
Sunday I saw and drove the finest one I have seen personally to date (a '69 280se), complete with service history, elderly owned one owner, serviced religiously. Original paint, completely rust free, chrome is amazing, wood interior still has a sheen. Everything works, including AC, interior is immaculate, the trunk appears to never been used (large and small rubber mat look brand new).
My gut tells me it's right, and the price seems very acceptable. Mileage is at 180K.
My plan is to drive this car. Perhaps 20-40 miles/week (around town, virtually no highway driving; although the current owner just took it on a 200+ mile trip).
My question for this group....am I out of my mind? Am I trying to make something happen that just isn't feasible? (A "daily driver" old car)

In terms of driving the car, what octane do you use in these cars? does anyone see a benefit of using fuel additives as well?
In terms of keeping the exterior up, what products do most of you use for paint treatment? I tend to use meguiars products on my modern vehicles...polishing them 3 times/month, treating all rubber routinely, etc.

I appreciate any and all feedback you my have.

Thank You
 

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Among all cars of that era MBs are certainly the most adapted for daily use in terms of reliability, driveability and parts availability. Main concer is rust, but you are in that part of the world where it is not an issue. Then you need to find a car that has been garage kept and well maintained. You seem to have found the one. Make sure you can also keep it in a garage. Over time, rubber parts (mounts and bushings) may be what you will need to replace as they wear with mileage and time. But when they're all new the car also drives like new.

The rule for these cars, especially for sedans, is to buy the best you can afford as it will always be cheaper than buying a cheaper one and bringing it up to the level of the best one.

How much are you going to pay for that car?
 

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I don't think you are crazy at all. That's exactly how I use my 1973 280SE for 8 months of the year. Last year I put over 5000 trouble free miles on it with simple, routine maintenance. It is a fun car to drive with miles of smiles. I say go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the prompt replies. I wanted to make sure I was thinking with my head and not my heart on this purchase.
What fuel do you use in your vehicles, as in octane? Do you use any additives? Is it worth putting in the fuel injection cleaner, or will that cause issues with this older fuel injection.
I'd love to preserve and maintain the original paint. What products have you found work best for daily exterior maintenance?

The seller mentioned the vehicle was recently in the Mercedes shop for review before placing for sale. They did find a leak in the fuel line which was replaced. Other than that the mechanic found no issues.
The interior is flawless. For 41 years (since new) the seller said seat covers were placed over all the seats. When removed the seats look brand new. No cracks on the window sills or dash. The black rubber door sills are in mint condition. The windows are crank, which I was hoping to find. All the W108s I test drove with power windows had window issues.
As mentioned the exterior is original paint and chrome. The paint I would give an 8/10. There are very few light dings in the finish here and there from what appears to be car door dings in parking lots within its life. They are minor and tough to see, especially with the white paint, but are present. The chrome I'd give an 8/10 as well. All chrome is perfect with one area of exception. The flat bumper in front of the grill has slight surface rust. I was even wondering if it would come clean with chrome cleaner.

The seller is asking $4000. I know it's difficult to answer this question without a thorough walk through, but is that a fair price?

Thanks again for your comments.
 

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Excellent interior. Mechanicals checked. RUST FREE. Mileage is relatively high, but I think you'll find that $4k is a fair price. Offer less, of course.
 

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I recently bought a W111 coupe to use as my daily driver, but same as you, I do not have a regular commute so it's more for errands and around town fun, occasional road trips.

The car generally is fine for this duty, you may find fuel economy your biggest worry. It sounds like the common issues are either not present or sorted on that car, good find it seems. You will suddenly become much more popular, even amongst strangers, so be prepared for lots of questions and car talk at almost every stop. In the last 24-hours I've been engaged in three conversations about the car and the recipient of about a dozen "cool car" shouts, waves and thumbs-up.

I, too, was curious about lead additives in older cars but have since learned that MB was way ahead of their time and used hardened steel components in their cars already, so therefore you do not need to add lead additives to your fuel or have the sleeves hardened. I use the highest grade octane available at the pump, usually 92 around here, I would not go with lower octane.
 

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Sounds like a nice car & priced very fairly . You'll probably get a few good suggestions on the cleaners that many around here use on their cars but if it is preserved as well as you say it is, be sure to ask the seller what they use on it and continue to use it.
 

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Price may be a bit on the high side given current market, but it will cost you way more to bring an average $2000 car to the condition of this one. So, as others said, offer less, and see how it goes. In the end $4000 won't be bad anyway if that's what you have to pay.

The most attractive element of this car is that it seems to be in excellent original condition. You have to make sure you keep it that way. Driving it around is the best you can do to keep it in good working order, but you have to make sure you have a garage to protect it from rain and sun. And put the seat covers back on.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you once again to everyone who responded.
The seller and I have reached an "agreed to" price less than the asking amount. I appreciate everyone's feedback.
There was a level of sensitivity I felt I needed to possess during the negotiations as the seller was selling this car for his recently deceased parents.

I will post photos up after I receive the vehicle and look forward to driving the Merc around.

Being a newbie to the classic Mercedes world, is there a classic Benz group in the Bay Area? I reside in San Francisco and wouldn't mind meeting those in my area.

Thank you once again to for the pointers.
 

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Hey SF, congratulations. The W108 is a fabulous car. In the late 90s I bought a 72 280 SEL 4.5 for "work truck" in LA for 9 months. I was deploying a CDMA cell network and probably carried around 300 lbs of equipment all of the time. It would still do 130mph but than I'd have to pull over right away and add two qts of oil.

I couldn't believe the build quality, I showed my friends by giving it an easy kick with work boots that was 100% unscathed. Their new high payment trucks would have been $$$ damaged by the same. I even pulled out a few mini pick ups from soft sand, that thing refused to die or get stuck. I drove it's wheels off for the time I had it.
 

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Thrill the old guy, just give him the 4K, it will be the cheapest car you may ever own (Karma ya know) . come back and give him a ride in it too.

I saw an guy just about cry when we pulled out with his W108 4.5. The kids and wife convinced him to buy a $40,000 Volvo about 15 yrs ago, and ditch the "old" mercedes, his W108 is still a good car delivering service for about $25 per month.

where is the expensive volvo?
 
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