1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SE (350SE) 4-speed manual

The W116 is perhaps one of the most forgotten Mercedes-Benz S class generations, but even this staid sedan had a few interesting versions. We are all familiar with the beast that is the 6.9, but here is an interesting version with what looks to be a 4.5 V8 and a 4 speed manual. Also included are a few tasteful modifications.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Paul who found this beauty and wrote the post, like the seller and the original importer has been duped. This car is not as the seller states a 450SE, but likely a much more significant Euro market 350SE. It could be the importer called this a 450SE to help ease the importation. A 450SE with a manual was almost unheard of. This car shows its Euro heritage with the Euro bumpers and headlights and also has only had the speedometer converted, the other gauges in the instrument cluster and the climate controls remain the original Euro, German language ones. The VIN number indicates a 350SE. Without seeing the actual engine data plate it is easy to confuse the two models, particularly this one which seems to have an air cleaner like the 4.5, earlier 3.5 engines had a smaller, circular, air cleaner with the intake on the passenger side. The 3.5 liter V8 was marked as a M116 engine in the W116 chassis. The 4.5 liter V8 was marked as the M117 engine in the W116 chassis. Many consider the smaller 3.5 V8 to be the better engine. It was a marvelous piece, very high revving and nimble. Couple that engine with a manual transmission and the short bodied 116 chassis car and this must be quite a fun ride. I would get rid of that particular set of aftermarket rims. Replacing the stock 14″ items with 16″ or bigger is a good idea, but there are much nicer looking rims for classic Mercs. A set of expensive AMG Ronal 5 spokes would complete the authentic AMG look. This is a great find and likely to only be appreciated by those in the know so look for a possible bargain here if it doesn’t attract too much attention. Though the price already is that of what a similar mileage 450SEL can be had for.
~Evan
Back to Paul’s comments:

The seller states:

Hey everyone up for sale we have a mint condition 1978 450SE Euro model with 81k original miles and a manual 4 speed transmission. Not sure if it is a 3.5 or a 4.5 (Bureau of Automotive Repair says 4.5) I am the second owner of this beautiful car, The first owner was an elderly man that drove it seldomly and kept it garaged under a car cover most of its life. It runs great, engine runs very smooth and powerful, absolutely no leaks whatsoever, Shifts perfect, clutch feels like new, temperature is always steady at 80C. The two front windows are electrically powered while the two rear windows are manual (set up available for euro models only). It has Michelin Pilot tires with 85% tread left and an almost perfect interior as you can tell by the photos. The only minor defects are: a slight vibration at 55-60mph and the AC needs to be recharged. I have a clean California title thats ready to be handed over to the winning bidder.

Values of W116 S classes have been notoriously low for Mercedes-Benzes in recent history, except for that of the 6.9. There are 14 bids on this already as I write this with two days left in the auction, so we’ll see if the reserve is met and where the value goes.

-Paul

1992 BMW 850i 6-speed for sale

I was visiting home (Seattle, WA) recently, and went to a fish and chips spot on one of the local lakes to meet up with friends and family.  As I walked through the parking lot I remembered that this was the place I had first seen a BMW 8-series many years ago.  It was a later 850CSi as opposed to today’s 850i so it had a little extra mojo, but the low-slung GT shape is as magnetic now as it was back in 5th grade.  The E24-like greenhouse, sweeping fender flares and imposing rear end make for an unmistakable car and one of the cleanest examples of a BMW halo-car.

The initial 850i models may be the least powerful of the eights, but it’s all relative, and we’re talking about a 5.0L V12!  This decked out 8-series also comes with the rare (and awesome) 6-speed manual.

1992 BMW 850i 6-speed for sale on Craigslist

The bad:  Complex V12 is a beast for maintenance.  Only the onboard computer, one of two, is working.  I never liked those wheels; they look too small and cheap.

The good: 5.0L V12 connected directly to 6 gears.  Timeless, gorgeous shape.  Plenty of luxury, including a car phone! (Can this be connected to my cell number?)

Even with less than 90k miles, if you go into a V12, or a BMW, let alone a BMW V12, without thinking you’re going to spend some money, you’re dumb.  With that established, this is a whole lot of car and engine for $13k that could be spruced up into one hell of a grand tourer.

Clean E36 M3 Sedan near SF

The E36 M3 sedan is the first fast car I drove, and, like a first love, has stuck with me ever since.  Unleashing a couple of 16-year-olds in a Dinan M3 was perhaps a foolhardy move by my best friend’s dad, but luckily we kept it in good shape other than a few check-engine lights due to impatience with the M warm-up sequence.  It was a dream to drive; every pebble in the road gently communicated to the hands, every gearchange a satisfying snick, and every corner was our own railed rollercoaster.  E36s in general are fine, but the 4-door M3 has always struck me as markedly sexier than any of its generational brethren.  I tried to buy that Dinan a few years ago at $14k, but couldn’t make the finances work (luckily it’s being saved for my friend).  These days its not difficult to find them for under $10k, and this nicely modified 1997 sedan demonstrates the accessibility of clean examples.

1997 M3 Sedan for sale on Craigslist SF

I could do without the Supersprint DTM exhaust (Dinan’s looks almost stock but sounds perfect) and I’d raise the adjustable rear suspension just a little, but this is a very clean example with some nice, simple modification choices (I don’t know of a car that looks bad with BBS CHs).  157k miles is on the higher end, but at $9k it’s still a great value, and if the engine goes bad, spend some money swapping in a Euro S52 or S54 and you’ll still have a performance bargain.

Final Note: Thank god it’s a manual.  In my mind, automatic E36 M3s might as well be junked.

-NR