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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! New to the forum. "Old Blue" has been sitting in a Phoenix AZ driveway for about a decade, and isn't looking too hot, but isn't too bad either. I don't want to do a $100k restoration on it, but I want to get it running and maybe the exterior cleaned up/repainted. The interior looks pretty good, leather looks good, dash, etc. I have contacted Brighton Motorsports/Brighton Ranch in Scottsdale, they're going to have a look at it and give me an estimate. I know next-to-nothing about vintage Mercedes, and I do understand I'll spend way more than the car will ever be worth, and I've been thinking about it for a couple of years, and am ready to do this. So, my questions:

1) Has anyone worked with Brighton Ranch/Brighton Motorsports? Any opinions on them?

2) Understanding that there could be lots of hidden issues, is a budget of 10-15k to get it running and to get the exterior cleaned up a realistic starting point?

3) Are there any non-intrusive/non-destructive mods that can be done to the engine to give it a little more juice, or to make this a better driver generally? I intend this to be my primary driving car (I don't drive a whole lot).

4) Any other opinions about this (project and/or car) that you'd like to share?

Thank you so much,
Charlie
 

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Charlie, 10 grand is a a lot of money. I had a 108 and keep an eye on ebay, pristine 280s sell for about 7 grand from my rather limited view.

Thinking of my old '72 280 SEL 4.5 and what you seem to be thinking, I'd get it over to a good Indy and have him check what it needs to get it road worthy.

That may satisfy you before you putting a lot of money into it. Take care of rust. And brakes, haha.

If you have a dog at home, you can understand that it doesn't take a lot of money to make an old dog happy, just a lot of love.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The dent on the hood occurred a few christmases back when, in the process of hanging lights, a family member fell off the ladder and landed on the hood.

Enjoy!



















 

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The hood has to stay like it is, it's now part of history. And pretty darn funny also. It's looking pretty tired and cat is not impressed (Blue Point?), it's thinking the mouses have moved away.

This is a repost pic of my 72, I'm trying to remember I think it had a column shift. Easily I put 100 miles a night on it, super comfortable. Get it to a good indy and get it going, you're going to have fun with it.
 

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Doesn't look too awfully bad to me. If surface rust hasn't set in, a thorough wash will do wonders. You can also buff/wax the paint with an orbital sander and it'll probably do wonders.

As far as the engine, expect about 17mpg, tops. Anything less on the highway and you have tuning issues. I'd recommend getting rid of all the old gas, inspect the gas tank for water or rust, change the fuel filter and gas tank screen, replace plugs, wires, etc, and give the beast a good run.

Another thing you might think about is having an electric overdrive installed. Yours is a three speed and highway RPMs will be high. I found a place in LA that does these things for about $2000, but I'm stationed overseas, and Denver is home. Once (if) I ever get home, I'm going to have one installed.

As far as spending a lot of $$ on restoration, consider cleaning the interior and exterior very thoroughly prior to doing anything spendy. A whole new interior (seats, carpets, door skins) will run you about $7k or so for parts. A dash pad, to cover the already-installed one, will be about $100 off eBay. Except for your driver's seat, your interior didn't look that bad. If nothing else, you can redye that seat for under $50, or cover it with sheepskins.

Labor, having wood done, etc will differ from place to place.

One thing to think about is getting to know your wrecking yards well. You may find a gem here or there. When I was stationed in San Diego, I found a 108 that had been rear ended, but everything else was in great shape. I spent the afternoon taking all the interior wood and a few other things I wanted as spares.

A tranny rebuild, thru Aamco, once cost me about $2000. A new engine, not counting accessories, will be about $4500 (no idea how much a rebuild would be). The ECU will run $500 -$1000 rebuilt, depending where you look. Again, a pick apart yard might yield good results as well. Most of the parts I've ever needed for my 108 were available locally - try Napa, or Kraegan, O'Riellies, etc. Mercedes still stocks parts for the older cars, but they tend to get expensive and (in my opinion) offer no value added.

Mercedes produced a zillion 108s, so doing general internet searches for parts will yield good results too.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, great - thank you guys so much, this is exactly the kind of input I need. So I'm a few months away from starting this project, but at this point I'm thinking my strategy will be to have the professionals do the gas-tank drain/inspection, fuel filter, plugs etc, get the engine running at it's best, brakes, air-conditioning (very important in AZ), inspect for rust (and if there is any, I guess cross that bridge when I come to it), and take the dent out of the hood (sorry Mick!), and then do a thorough cleaning.
Grube, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to know the outfit in LA that does the electric overdrive installation, that sounds like it would be money well spent. It does look like there is tons of resources on the web for helping with a sort of piecemeal approach to restoration, and putting a new dash pad on and the like is something I can do.
Thanks again for the input, very helpful!
-Charlie
 

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Oh heck, you'd have to ask. I started with something I saw in Hotrod Magazine and branched out - I don't honestly remember the name. My intent is to call around to different tranny shops near home to see if they install aftermarket electric overdrives...

I'll have to get back to you ...
 

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I would get it running and then clean it up. Mercedes paint of that era was very durable. If you buff it out it will likely look very nice, hood excepted! Beautiful color too.
 

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It looks like a good project to me. The paint is burnt but the interior is nice, it's a solid color so you should be able to get a nice paint job on it for not a lot of money.

I have a hood sitting at my shop, if you can figure out a way to get it from Dallas, TX , I can cut you a heck of a deal on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
post pics for the build
Thanks again fellas for all the great advice. Grube, thanks for the name of the outfit in El Cajon, I'll definitely be giving them a call. Again, As the first priority is get it up and running, and then I'm going to give it a good cleaning/buffing and we'll see how it shines up.

Question about the hood - should a dent like that be removed so as to retain the original part, or would it be better/cheaper to replace it?

Alabbasi, thanks for the kind offer, and as it happens I may be swinging through Dallas with a Uhaul over the summer.

My primary area of interest is in in vintage guitars, so my gut instinct here is to keep it as original as possible, while at the same time get it to peak performance - and I totally get the request to post photographs of the whole process! :thumbsup: I'll post updates here as things move along. Are there any other classic Mercedes forums or internet resources that I should be aware of?

I'm out of town until the 23rd and then it's going to be heavy-duty family time for about a week. The guy from Brighton is going to drive out to take a look at the car and give me an estimate, so I think I'll have a better idea of things like rust, the viability of the engine, etc once he does that, and I'll let you guys know what he says.
 
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