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1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5

I love a good ownership story as much as the next person. The majority of the time, they have some kind of celebrity tie simply because the nature of the cars we deal with. We’ve done Lennon, Elvis (twice), actual kings, the Great One, Sweetness, Air Jordan, and both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. For every giant name, there are not so giant names that still have a great story behind them. Today’s car, a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 up for sale in Colorado, is one of those stories.

This W108 was purchased new by the seller’s mother in July 1973 to park beside her 450SL where she proudly posed for photos looking very stylish in proper 1970s clothing. It has remained with her ever since and she still takes occasional rides in it at the ripe old age of 102. It isn’t a pristine example or even a very nice one, but I really don’t have much of a problem with that. To keep a car over 45 years and continue driving it over that time is no easy feat, even for something as solid as a W108. Sadly, the time has come for this car to find a new loving home for the next 45 years. I just wish I was closer.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 on Hemmings

Year: 1973
Model: 280SE 4.5
VIN: 10806712020567
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 105,000 mi
Price: $12,000

One of the last 280se – 4.5 sedans sold in Boulder CO.
My mother purchased this car new, in June of 1973, and she still likes to ride in it at the age of 102!
We need to sell it to get a car she can get in more easily.
She put all the miles on it herself, up to 100,000, now I drive her around once a month.
It is all original and has had the fuel lines replaced to accommodate the new ethanol fuel mix here in Colorado.
It has its quarks just like mom, but it is still faster than my ’73 – 450SL.
Looking for a new loving home!

Like I mentioned, a concours example this is not. The paint looks very tired and the original leather could use a nice cleaning and conditioning. The good news is that it doesn’t look too far gone and could probably be saved without much trouble. Mechanically this car is a bit of a question mark, but the fact that it is still moving under its own power and reportedly still driven is a good sign. The M117 is a hearty lump as long as you look after the timing chain guides.

This car priced at $12,000 is about market value for one of these in this condition. One interesting thing about the story is that the car was bought in July of 1973, which means this was sitting next to the all new W116 that launched in late 1972 to replace the W108/109. I’m a little surprised that these lasted on the dealer lots that long and I’m curious they discounted them any to get them moving. Nonethless, a great story that I hope gets to live on.

– Andrew


  1. Lwb250
    Lwb250 March 27, 2019

    Love the provenance, that’s something I always look for in the cars I buy.

    For a $12k ask you would think they could take the time to wash it, wouldn’t you?

  2. Brian
    Brian March 27, 2019

    I love the story too. It is difficult to assess the condition of the paint because the car is so filthy. This isn’t a 250 GTO that has been found in a barn after 40 years. There is no excuse not to wash it.

  3. David Newell
    David Newell March 27, 2019

    Ah, nostalgia. I had a car EXACTLY like this EXCEPT 1) it was “Signal Red”, 2)it had a 3.5L MB V-8, 3)manual transmission 4) manual roll-up windows and was 5)Fast, and fun to drive. The unfettered-by-DOT machinery OHC engine was much quicker than the 450, even though 1 liter less displacement.

    But then, I had to “fetter” it with steel in the doors, cats., and ridiculous timing.

    Fortunately, shortly thereafter, a neighbor’s girlfriend was pulling his F-250 into their garage, but accidently put it in reverse and dumped the clutch, T boning the passenger side and totalling the vehicle. The insurance company tried to depreciate the grey market car to virtually worthless, but I had the records to show it was “as if” it was intended for this market,
    ……………..which resulted in a cash money payoff almost 2X what I had in it.

    All’s well that ends well!

  4. E88Guy
    E88Guy March 27, 2019

    Man, what’s in the driver’s footwell? Rodent droppings?

    I agree with the paint assessment – who can tell with how dirty it is.

    If it were closer to the Denver area, I’d love to take a look.

  5. jchouston
    jchouston March 27, 2019

    Does no one actually go to the sale site? Pics on the Hemmings ad look beautiful and present the interior and exterior in much better fashion. So much so that they make me want to buy the car.Shame GCFSB didn’t post them here.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew March 28, 2019

    @jchouston Those clean photos weren’t added when I wrote this. The seller must of just added them.

Comments are closed.