Barn Find: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

For every 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe that Wayne Carini finds in barn, there are hundreds of other cars sitting in barns — usually for a reason. The thing about the barn find is that the hunt is usually the best part. Once you actually find the car, reality sets in and your left with a ton of unknowns with maybe a handful of logistical issues. It’s tough to separate the emotions of finding a gem and really stepping back and thinking through whether or not you should actually buy a barn find car. This 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE in a barn outside of Jackson, Mississippi isn’t a ’38 Bugatti but it’s not exactly a Chevy Chevette either. So lets take a look to see if this W108 is worth saving.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on Jackson, MS Craigslist

Year: 1972
Model: 280SE
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 81,288 mi
Price: $5,000

$5000 OR BEST CASH OFFER WILL GET IT!!!
True Barn Find! Discovered in an abandoned shop, this beauty has been untouched for over 20 years! It will be sold AS IS, where is, and you must arrange for your own pickup. Inspection before purchase is welcome, but remember this is an AS IS auction, and there will be no refunds after the sale. It appears to be complete, and all original untouched not restored. The only visible flaw is the front driver side headlight casing is missing, see pics.
We have not attempted to start the vehicle, but I’m certain it won’t take but a simple service to fire it up. We were told by the family that owned the property, that the owner passed away some time ago, and his children left it untouched as you see it. According to them, it was in running condition when it was parked!
A thick layer of dust covers the whole car, but I can just tell you from close inspection that the body appears to be flawless! If there is any body damage, it is minor if found at all. The only visible defect seen on the exterior is the front drivers side headlight casing to be missing. It may be in the shop/barn still, and we will continue to look, otherwise it is missing. The car does appear to be a shade of brown, with leather brown interior.
The interior seems to also be pretty dusty and dirty, but nothing a good cleaning can’t solve! The tires are all flat, but should be able to be aired up for transport when purchased,
If you have any questions prior to buying, please ask us and we will respond quickly. Bare in mind we are NOT mechanics, and will NOT make attempts to move or work on the vehicle. We can assist in setting transport up with you with local tow truck companies, that is it.
Clean clear title in hand!

This 1972 looks free from any obvious rust but it’s really tough to tell with it being covered in a layer of dust and dirt. Being a Mississippi car surely helps its cause but there is a lot of work to be done here. Molded over interiors always scare me and this one doesn’t look too bad, but again, you can’t make any kind of judgement without seeing it in person. As far as mechanicals go, this one will take some effort. All the fluids (if there are any left) would need to be drained and the motor would need to be turned by hand to see if it’s free. I’d probably even go as far as pulling the valve cover to see if there are any sludging issues before even thinking about throwing parts at this car. Usually cars that find themselves deep inside a barn are there because there is some kind of issue with them. With 20 years of sitting, there is just so many things that could be going on with this car.

In my opinion, $5,000 is a pipe dream. You have to assume that this W108 will never run again and is a parts car given it’s current state. It would be really easy to dump $10,000 into this car to get it road worthy and you’d be left with a $12,000 car at best. I’d be surprised if this thing could even be rolled if you put some tires on it. It’s probably closer to $2,000 and that would even make me uneasy.

– Andrew

1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

You might of heard the story of the Colorado man who had a little affinity for Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3s. (You can read the story here if not.) I understand where this man was coming from because if you really like something, go get four more of them. In his case, the M100 powered W109 just happened to do it for him and I don’t blame him one bit. Now that all five of these 6.3s have been saved and rejuvenated, one of them is up for adoption. Unfortunately, though, the adoption fee is quite steep.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 on Hemmings

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Roll the Dice? 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

Every time I see a car that is usually expensive, selling for a price that is inexplicably inexpensive, the gears in my head start turning. Could I buy this one on the cheap, fix it up and perhaps not lose money on it? Better yet – could I buy it, not do a thing, let it sit and probably not lose money on it? Thank goodness I physically can’t fit another vehicle in my garages and driveway because when I see cars like today’s, those damn gears start moving.

The W109 300SEL 6.3 has quickly become a collector car that everyone in the Mercedes circles are rushing to snag up. Prices have been going up at an alarming rate thanks to folks like Jay Leno proclaiming his love for it.  I understand where he’s coming from because the 6.3, in my opinion, is one of the finest sedans Mercedes has ever made. It’s also generally considered one of the first “super sedans” – the prototype for not only later AMG models, but cars like the M5. Sticking the M100 V8 into the handsome W109 body and building it to a standard of above average durability and reliability made this car a winner the day it left the factory. The only problem was all the greatness is that it costs a lot of money upfront and even more to maintain at a reasonable level. This is where some solid math skills and judging your mechanical ability come into play when deciding whether to take the plunge on a project like this 1969 6.3 up for bid in Eastern, Pennsylvania.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 on eBay

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Barn Find: 1971 Porsche 911T

We’ve shown a couple of cars like this one recently: Porsches from the ’70s that are in need of a lot of love so that they can be enjoyed again. The Heap of the Week I featured a couple of weeks ago would have been more suited for a full restoration seeking collector status. That car is remarkably similar to the car featured here and this one should probably be approached with a similar ideal. Here we have a Red 1971 Porsche 911T located in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

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Year: 1971
Model: 911T
Engine: 2.2 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 71,395 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Porsche 911T on EBay

You are bidding on a 1971 911T 5-speed coupe w/o sunroof. It was manufactured 10/70. This is a “behind-the-barn” find that shows the results of being left out in the elements for too long. The car is all original and intact with 71,395 miles with matching numbers. Original color was Pastel Blue #2020 but now has a poor repaint to red. This car will require extensive restoration. The lower portions of the front pans have extensive rust. Full replacement of the front pans, right and left battery boxes, gas tank (?) and forward portion of the floor pans is required. The structure and pans to the rear of the mid-point, torsion tubes, shock mounts, etc. are clean and rust-free. Rockers show some minor rust, but seem to be intact. Rocker trim is S type. Door jambs, hinge mountings and surrounds are intact and still serve up that Porsche “ping” when closed. Headlight bowls are intact and are not rusted. All glass is original and present with some slight delamination showing in the front windshield. Some rust is present in the body panels as shown in the photos; the underside trailing edge of the rear deck lid is the worst. Original front seats will require recovering; rear seats are in good condition. Radio is not original. Door panels and hardware is all present. Top of the dash and rear deck panel will require replacement due to sun damage. Headliner is intact with original visors. All trim is present.

This is a roller (not a driver) with working steering, clutch, trans and emergency brake (main brakes are not operational). Forward mounts for front torsion bars are weak so some care in moving the car is required. Car can be easily loaded onto a flat bed or trailer. Engine does not run but turns over easily and is fully intact. Engine is stock 2.7, no AC and has original Weber carb setup and original air filter box. Wheels are original Fuchs (5). Body serial # is 911 112 0880 and engine # is 6115054.

The photos and the details outlined above present as best I can the present conditions of this car. Further photos and info can be provided on request and the car is available for inspection. There is a clean and current title for this car issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Willing to sell to buyers in Canada, Europe, Germany, UK and USA on the condition that payment is received in full and all shipping arrangements are made by the buyer prior to release of the car.

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This car isn’t in as good a condition relative to the car I posted for the Heap of the Week. There’s quite a bit of rust on the body, the dash is shot, and this is only a roller, rather than a driver. But for a barn find those “features” aren’t necessarily unexpected. There also appears to be some confusion over the engine. The seller states that the car has a stock 2.7 liter engine, which of course is not the standard 2.2 of a 1971 911T. I would presume this is merely a typo, but it’s certainly worth investigating just to be sure. This car is offered on auction for No Reserve and ideally it could be had at a discount relative to the $21,000 price of the Heap. We shall see. These cars command very good prices when restored to excellent condition so even a car in this shape won’t come cheaply. With bidding currently at $4,500 this is surely something to keep one’s eye on, and while we’re likely to see that rise quickly, for someone interested in a project this could make for an interesting investment.

-Rob

Heap of the Week: 1973 Audi 100 Coupe S

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If last week’s “Heap of the Week” Karmann Ghia T34 was a great restoration candidate because of it’s rarity, today’s 1973 Audi 100 Coupe S is as much deserving of that if not more. Luckily for you, if you’re interested in one of these cars and a restoration project, step one (take apart and turn it into an unrecognizable heap of parts) is already done for you! Completely stripped and ready for body work, this car appears to be a solid platform for a build – something that’s hard to say of any earlier Audi due to rust issues. You’d also be building what is decidedly the most rare post-war Audi in the United States, with only 5 known of here. Get out your elbow grease then for today’s Heap of the Week:

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Year: 1973
Model: 100 Coupe S
Engine: 1.9 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: N/A mi
Price: $2,000

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Audi 100 Coupe S on Audifans.com

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1973 Audi 100 Coupe S. 1 of 5 in the US. Was brought to the US in about 1976 and has not been on the road since the early to mid 80s. The car is 98% complete. What is missing that I know of are the windshield, headliner, carpet and engine mounts. The body is remarkably solid with only a minimal amount of surface rust due to the car sitting in primer for at least the past 5 years. The unibody and all bolt on parts are very solid and there are no rust holes on the vehicle. Will need some more body work before painting. I believe the original color is marathon blue. This car also has a manual (crank operated) retractable sunroof which was apparently a rather rare option. Engine is 100 HP I4 carbbed pushrod engine. All engine parts are included as well as new gasket sets. Transmission is 4 speed. Brakes are inboard on front (new rotors and pads included) and drums in rear. Seats are in quite decent shape without any major tears or rips in the fabric. Seat color is dark blue. All interior pieces and exterior trim is included as well. Dashboard has cracks in it as does the vinyl hood around the instrument cluster. All the windows except for the windshield are in great shape and already wrapped very securely in bubble wrap. Grille, headlights and taillights are there. Bumpers are US spec sedan bumpers and not the original European coupe bumpers. Extra hood in perfect shape included. Front suspension is dual wishbone and rear is beam axle with torsion springs and panhard bar. 2 new shocks are included. Car would be a good candidate for restoration to original condition, or a rather unique platform for some fun go-fast modifications. Comes with clean Maryland title. Reason for selling is that I bought it four years ago and have not done anything with it since, and I think it should go to someone who has the time to do something cool with such a unique car. To see the true potential of the car, check out the April 2013 issue of Hemmings Sport & Exotic car where a 1974 Coupe S was featured. Area code on phone number is 410.

These are rare, rare, rare cars, even in the Fatherland. There just aren’t too many left kicking around in good shape. Certainly , when they are presented well, they draw a crowd. The design shows links to some of the best looking cars of the 1960s and 1970s, like the BMW Glas GT , Fiat Dino and even Maserati Ghibli. Below is an example of what this car can look like, as this is Rob Petschke’s impeccable award-winning example:

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I also put an image to a similar colored car to this car’s original shade in the gallery. Most of the major parts are included (though not shown), and despite what you might think, some of the parts for these cars can still be had, though you better brush up on your German. Some major components are also shared with the sedan, and when you were done you’d have a much more valuable platform, so you might even consider finding a not-restorable 100 and pilfering parts. Ready for a project? You’re getting in on the bottom floor of one of the most rare Audis ever!

-Carter

1968 Porsche 911S Coupe Barn find

In the early 60’s the 356 was nearing the end of its life, and was starting to be considered antiquated. Enter the 911, Porsche had developed a totally new GT car that was the higher evolution of the 356, but did everything just a tick better. With more interior room, better handling, and more power the 911 took Porsche to the next level. In the ‘60’s the highest evolution of the 911, was the 911S. In 1968, the 911S was not available to the US market, making these cars very rare on our shores.

This barn find for sale in San Francisco, CA is an example of an all original ’68 short wheel base 911S, and a rough one at that.

1968 Porsche 911S Coupe Barnfind on pelicanparts.com

Rare numbers matching 1968 Porsche 911S Coupe. A true California barn find hidden away for many years. A rare Euro only model and 1 of only 227 produced. A California car, since early 1970’s. Original Burgundy Red color. Odometer showing 80,170 kilometers. Original 2.0 liter 911S engine number . Very rare original Sportomatic transmission. The value of the short wheelbase 911S is rising rapidly. $24,995 obo.

No one can deny that barn finds are cool, it’s any car guys dream to be the one that exhumes a piece of automotive history from some old timer’s garage that is just the way it was when it was tucked away decades ago. I for one fantasize about it every time I’m on a road trip in the country. The more you watch the market, the more popular these types of cars are becoming, but where’s the line between barn find, and lost relic? To me the quintessential barn find has 3 major elements, originality, collectability, and preservation. While original, and collectable this car lacks the one element that I would consider to be the most important in a barn find; preservation.

The market for these early Porsches is certainly strong, as these cars are very desirable, with a full concourse ready ’68 911S commanding as much as $92K. That being said, any Porsche 911, especially early models are expensive to restore, since parts are so rare. So where does a car like this fit in to the market? At $24,995, this is a purchase that would have to be made as a labor of love. This car is priced far too strong considering that a restoration on a car like this could spiral out of control very quickly, and could far exceed the $92K high market value.

While few things are cooler than a barn find, but in this case I would say that it’s best to consider a sound, more complete car.

-Brian