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1982 380SEL I think it's an AMG.... still workin on that!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there fellow 126 owners! I'm hoping that perhaps you can help me out with an ID of my car. I just bought it, sort of an impulse buy, and I'm not sure what all i got.

The story:
I work for a towing company, and we impounded this car back in January. I wasn't the one who did the tow, so i'm not sure on the details of why it was impounded. It sat it our yard for a month, and wasn't picked up, so the car went into lien sale due to the storage costs being more than the value of the car. Nobody came to get it still, so it went out to public sale, and i couldn't help myself i had to make an offer. I really knew nothing about the car, but the price was right (with my employee discount) and i had this feeling that this car might be something special.

What i know:
The car is a 1982 380SEL. It came back with a clean bill of health from carfax, and has 290,xxx on the ticker.
Here's what I got from the VIN decoder.

VIN WDBCA33A8CB029205
Model 380 SEL
Chassis 12603312029205
Engine 116963 12 010778
Transmission 722310 02 198417
Order 0 2 705 61397
Approx. year not defined
Dealer United States (USA) (705)
Interior leather saffron+java (234)
Paint
904 midnight (dark) blue (T) (с 01.01.1968)
34 Unknown code
Options
410 electric sliding roof (с 01.03.1965 по 29.02.1988)
440 bumpers with guards, front and rear (с 01.10.1970 по 30.04.1974)
bumper with horn and rubber buffer front and rear (с 01.03.1964 по 30.09.1970)
tempomat (cruise control) (с 01.09.1975)
467 central locking system and instruments with english lettering (с 01.04.1970 по 31.10.1993)
461 + 462 + 463 (с 01.07.1968 по 31.08.1969)
494 California version
California version (с 01.05.1973 по 31.12.1995)
version for USA/California/Canada (с 01.01.1996)
490 + 492 (с 01.12.1966 по 30.09.1967)
504 outside rear view mirror, right, electrically adjustable (с 01.11.1978 по 29.02.1986)
outside rear view mirror, right, electrically adjustable (l.h.d.)
taxi version, f.r.g, and outside rear view mirror on the right
500 + 503 (с 01.02.1966 по 30.06.1968)
501 + 502 (с 01.08.1968 по 31.10.1974)
519 Becker radio Grand Prix electronic cassette - USA (с 01.08.1980 по 30.11.1990)
Becker radio Grand Prix LW/MW/SW/USW - USA (с 01.01.1963 по 29.02.1972)
Becker radio Grand Prix stereo MW/USW - USA (с 01.10.1972 по 31.12.1976)
Becker radio Mexico Grand Prix, electronic (USA)
524 Reims adapter IV (с 01.04.1962 по 28.02.1963)
paintcoat preservation (с 01.01.1964)
531 automatic antenna (с 01.01.1963)
543 exhaust-pipe cover trim (с 01.01.1963 по 28.02.1963)
seat adapter between the front seats, and halogen lamp unit (с 01.01.1967 по 31.12.1972)
sun visor with vanity mirror, illuminated, left and right (с 01.11.1978)
570 folding armrest front w202/210 stowage box front with armrest (с 01.04.1970)
front folding armrest w202 - housing at front with armrest
588 Thermoking air conditioner and electric window lifters (front doors) (с 01.04.1970 по 31.12.1972)
automatic climate control and electric window lifters (front and rear doors) (с 01.01.1977)
592 wyellow foglamps (с 01.01.1963 по 31.10.1965)
heat-insulating glass, all-around, heated rear window pane (laminated glass), band filter
heat-insulating glass, side window panes (с 01.02.1967 по 31.01.1971)
green heat-insulating glass all round, heated rear window, laminated safety glass - tinted strip (с 01.01.1972)
611 courtesy lamps for front and rear doors, with W124 also for central doors/W202 front doors only (с 01.11.1978)
sealed beam lamp unit, l.h. traffic (с 01.01.1966 по 28.02.1972)
lamp unit, symmetrical (с 01.01.1962 по 28.02.1963)
639 radial-ply tires, elimination of warning triangle (с 01.11.1973 по 31.10.1974)
elimination of first-aid box and warning triangle (с 01.08.1977)
640 aluminium disc wheels with radial-ply tires (с 01.10.1969 по 31.12.1989)
tires with tube (с 01.01.1963 по 31.08.1965)
15-hole light alloy rims (с 01.01.1990)
668 662 + 666 (с 01.01.1963 по 28.02.1963)

802 Change of year of model, last figure shows new model year

Now for my main question:
I think that it might be an AMG, but i have no clue how to tell. It has a body kit on it obviously and it has AMG rims. I could only find one tag, but it seems that when the car was repainted white they sanded over the tag, and the only thing i can read are two embrosed signatures. See pics for details. Is there any other way to tell? or can you guys tell by looking at it?

Thanks in advance for your help.









Rest of the pics are here:
1982 Mercedes 380SEL
 

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Looks like a US version, based on VIN and the large bumpers. Has euro lights, wipers and valences, which is nice. Looks like it may have been lowered. Has sideskirts and spoiler, but I don't see any bumper bodykit pieces, although it seems to have an SEC front bumper. Rims are the newer style, not the original AMG style. Wonder why they painted it, but they even did the engine bay and other places, so that's some work. Check to make sure it has the double row timing chain and not the single chain. I wonder at that mileage if the heads were already done? How's the oil pressure?
 

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1982 380SEL I think it's an AMG.... still workin on that!
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The oil pressure is very good, and the paint job is top notch. There was no accident damage reported to DMV, so i'm not sure why it was painted... maybe they just didn't like the blue, or it was faded. I know that you can dress these things up to look like AMG, so IDK if its original or not... I'll see if i can find out about the timing chains.

EDIT: To be more specific, the oil pressure is just a hair under 3 bar at start up, and drops to around 2.5 bar at operating temperature (84C)
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe - RIP
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+1 on Markus's assessment.
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe - RIP
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Check under the side rails and the trunk spoiler for AMG Markings and post the part numbers here and we can verify them. They could be real AMG... You might get lucky.
 

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1990 SEC
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Congratulations!

Looks like you got yourself a very nice car for spare change. :thumbsup:

As far as I can tell, the side skirts and trunk lid spoiler are genuine AMG parts. The side skirts on the first generation cars are much less aggressive than the later models. They should be made out of PUR, a polyurethane composite, and the AMG markings and part numbers should face the ground at the front end.

In 1982 Mercedes Benz only imported the 380s. They couldn't get the 500 engine 50 state legal until 1983.

The car looks well cared for and must have been owned by an enthusiast. Nobody else would put /////AMG wheels and a new paint job on a 380.

When the current engine expires, you can always upgrade to a more powerful 500 engine.
 

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Smoke Silver '87 560SEC, Black Pearl '87 560SEL
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Beautiful car but I saw something in the pictures that makes me wonder. The engine compartment shows an all white body - fender inner liners, even the underside of the hood.

The description given shows "Paint: 904 midnight (dark) blue (T) (с 01.01.1968)". Where did you get the number?

OK, here's my take on this.
1. The car may have had a full color change paint job, including the door jambs and engine compartment. Expensive but possible.
2. the car's color is actually white and the color code isn't 904. Take a look at the metal embossed plate with the square holes in it that's mounted on the radiator bulkhead a little right (driver's side) of center. You're looking for a paint code on the forward (lower) side of the plate like 050, 143, 147, 149, 153, 737, or 904.
 

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Mike beat me to what I was going to write. Either an expensive, fully disassemble and reassembled color change or the Russian VIN decoder results are faulty for that VIN (also possible).

Another interesting thing I noticed is the valve covers are black. They are normally unpainted in the Gen 1 (pre-1986) M116/M117 motors and painted in the latter updated motors. I would check the engine block #'s to see what it shows. Its not a Gen 2 motor from what I see due to the distributor... but it may mean the heads where done sometime down the line.:thumbsup:
 

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Nice car. I'm assuming at that mileage it didn't cost much. Having said that, the rims alone are worth $1000. The euro lights and wipers another $750 if bosch. Not to mention the skirts, etc. In my mind you did well. Drive it until the engine goes and then part it out. Anyone know if his car has the same single row timing chain issue as the 380sl?
 

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1982 380SEL I think it's an AMG.... still workin on that!
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thank you all for your replies, you have given me more needed info to go see what exactly i got. The paint code thing confused me too, and the only evidence that i can find to support that it was indeed blue at one time you can kinda see here:



The area in between the firewall and the actual firewall??? is a dark blue color. (where the fuse box and battery live. I can shoot a better pic if need be.

I'll go out there after lunch and search for the part numbers on those side skirts as well as see if i can locate the block ID #'s.

I now know that the rims aren't original, but i kinda like them, and all but one are in decent shape. The spare tire rim doesn't match these, and i was wondering if they originally came with a set of 5 matching rims or if the spares were always different like on a lot of modern vehicles.

Also, i've yet to see if the timing chain is single or dual row as it seems that requires removing a valve cover, and the gaskets are a special order part at kragens. I don't really want to yank a cover and then have a massive oil leak on my hands if i can help it. not just yet anyhow. unless of course the gaskets on these are rubber and somewhat re-usable?
 

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Look at that metal tag right in front of the radiator a little right of center, it has a bunch of numbers stamped on it. The color code is one of those numbers. On my SEL, it is the bottom of numbers on the left. I had a 2 then space, then 040 (color code for black), then some more numbers. The option code numbers were along the left half of that tag, also 3 digit numbers.
 

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'82 Euro 500SEL, '85 Euro 500SEC AMG WB Cabriolet,'86 Euro 500SEC RUF
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I'm 99% certain that he'll have a single row timing chain. NA 380's until the 84 Model Year had single row timing chains. My 1984 380SE (2/84 MFG date) had a 2 row timing chain.
 

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1982 380SEL I think it's an AMG.... still workin on that!
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, I shot some more photos and found you some part numbers.
First the ID plate:


Then some shots showing what appears to be over spray and masking lines:




The number stamped into the firewall, showing the blue color. It turned out a bit lighter in this pic than it really is.


A better shot of the mystery "Signature" tag:


The spare tire:


Ok, and the numbers i found. Couldn't take pics due to their locations

Engine: R226 016 34 01 (found on front of drivers side head under exhaust manifold)

Both of the side skirts have AMG stamped into the underside with the following part numbers:
Drivers side - 7 88 0017
Passenger side - 7 88 0046

Hope all this helps!
 

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Your paint code appears to be 904, which is "midnight blue (dunkelblau)". So it matches the Russian site.

Here's a guess/thought. That engine may have come out, they repainted the body and engine bay and reinstalled either the same or different engine. Just a guess though. That's a lot of miles for a single chain 380 motor (if indeed it is one). I'm also confused what the 103086 code means, I first thought that meant 103 motor but that doesn't quite make sense.
 

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1965 220S, 1999 Volvo V70 (wagon), 2006 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor, 72 350SL 4 Speed
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Your paint code appears to be 904, which is "midnight blue (dunkelblau)". So it matches the Russian site.

Here's a guess/thought. That engine may have come out, they repainted the body and engine bay and reinstalled either the same or different engine. Just a guess though. That's a lot of miles for a single chain 380 motor (if indeed it is one). I'm also confused what the 103086 code means, I first thought that meant 103 motor but that doesn't quite make sense.
Line 2 on the stamped number plate is 126033 12 which gives the model, chassis and trans code.
 

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I'm very curious about the signature tag.
 

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I couldnt help but think that the previous owner was a semi- enthusiast. They spent money on AMG goodies, kept it clean (best as possible) and didnt park it outside very much (no dash cracks) at the end of the day their loss is your gain. It looks great and another 126 bargain. The only real mystery is why it was painted white.....
 
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