Feature Listing: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

Recently, I’ve been going on and on about how great a car the W116 Mercedes-Benz 300SD is. This came about from my look at the incredible 1980 with 8,200 miles on it for a not-so-inexpensive price of nearly $60,000. Granted, that is the most expensive W116 300SD in the world and it probably isn’t in line with what the car is really worth at all. Thankfully, there are some nice other examples out there – I’m not talking about Craigslist specials that look like they’ve been housing a family of possums for the past 11 years. One such W116 is this 1979 up for sale in Phoenix, Arizona. Painted in the rare Milan Brown, this 300SD has a cool background story of being in the same family since new, but most importantly, has been thoroughly loved throughout the years.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD at Treasured Transportation

Year: 1979
Model: 300SD
VIN: 11612012006570
Engine: 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 173,829 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

1979 Mercedes 300SD – This beautiful S class has been passed down three generations. We have service records from new. The car was purchased new in New Jersey by the current owner ‘s(Glenn) aunt. She was the executive secretary to the President of Mercedes-Benz US. In 1986 Glenn’s aunt sold the Mercedes to his Mom with 79,000 miles. She cared for the car meticulously until 1992 when she gave the car to Glenn. Glenn received the car with 116,000 miles. The picture in the gallery of it coming off of a car carrier is when Glenn took delivery. It looked very nice before the refurbishment. Glenn had the car comprehensively painted, and freshened up by a professional shop that specialized in Mercedes. I will detail the condition of the car below. Please go to the google picture link to see 300 pictures as well as videos of the car running and driving.

Body: Excellent shape. Complete glass out repaint performed by Ivan of Ivan’s Auto Body in Laveen Arizona in 2007. The work is excellent. The paint into the jams shows as new. The driver’s door shows some color hue difference. We think this is due to the doors being painted separate of the rest of the body. it is possible that the paint mix was off. There has not been paint work since the 2007 application. I noted very little if any chips or scratches. These pictures were taken on a random day not after a major detail. The stainless and chrome shows chipping and staining commiserate with original bright work. Although this car has been in Arizona since 1992 the rockers had rust bubbles. At the time of the paint work Ivan was able to secure factory rocker panels for 800 each. These rockers were professional welded in with non detectable results. The rubber for the doors, windows, and sun roof was all replaced in 2007, and all shows as new. Detailed pictures of the body including the jams, rockers, and the chrome/stainless can be seen at the below google album link.

Interior: Excellent original condition. The seats have been re-stuffed, but the leather is original. No rips or tears. The head liner has small separation at the sunroof. The sunroof opens and shuts perfectly. The windows all work as designed. Door locks are slow. The top of the dash is crack free. The wood trim has very minor cracks visible in the pictures in the gallery. All new rubber seals make the interior very quite while running at the speed of traffic. The audio system has been updated to a Alpine head unit as well as JL power amplifier utilizing a sub and separates for speakers. All of the switch gear and gauges work, and display very well. The AC and heat work perfectly.

Chassis: The bottom of the car is dirty. A major scrub down will show a clean rust free chassis, and most likely still have the Milan Brown color. The rear end is leaking a bit. During the refurbishment the shocks and bushings were replaced. The receipts are in the Google gallery for your review. The tires show as new, but are date coded 2006. A receipt for the tires is in the gallery.

Motor and Gear Box: Proper maintenance intervals have been followed. transmission has been re-built. The motor runs perfect do to the care, attention, and mostly solid design. Details of the maintenance records are documented back to 1979 in the gallery.

Drivability: We drove to the picture site, and it was a pleasure to ride in. Very quite cabin. Smooth, and steady. The interior smells almost new. I hope someone comes to inspect to see just how well-preserved this Mercedes is.

Copy and Paste the Google Picture Link in your browser to see detailed pictures of this Mercedes. If you can not open the link please message or call me with your email address and I will send you an invite.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipOO3k8LxSBO6-4blJ8JUwnui3NIaJfPyfhsKp4l

Please feel free to call me to discuss this Mercedes, or arrange an inspection. My auction almost always end early due to a sale. I am happy to discuss a purchase price with any one who calls. This is a private party purchase which your tax will very state to state Arizona does not have sales tax on private party purchases. You can reach me at 602-908-9267.

When I say thoroughly loved, I wasn’t kidding. The seller does a good job of documenting everything with this 300SD, and it deserves the reading time because it is worth it. The maintenance records go back the entire way to 1979 and even has the photos from when it was new rolling off the transporter. It isn’t a perfect car or even a totally stock car, but that is what you will get today when looking at one of these if you intend to use it. I think this is the perfect example of a car that you can buy to use regularly, as it has enough miles on it where you don’t feel guilty about adding more, but at the same time has so many where it is nearing the end of its life. Granted, there really is no such thing as the ”end of it’s life” when talking about a 300SD unless it is extremely rusty and that is far from this case with this car. It was totally repainted in 2007 and while not Concours-quality, it is good job and kudos to the seller for being honest about the imperfections. The upgraded climate control unit that replaces the evil Chrysler servo is a very nice touch and basically a must-have in Arizona. Like I said, this is a car that can be enjoyed and not fretted over but still be driven with a ton of pride.

I’m curious to see where the bidding stops with this one. It is pretty clear that the days of picking up a nice diesel W116, W123 or W126 for $3,000 on Craigslist are over. All the basket cases are gone to the great junkyard in the sky and all the cars worthy cars, like this one, have been either been refreshed to an extent or kept nice from the beginning. The $5,000 mark is about the floor for a presentable W116 300SD, so you can basically take guesses on value from there. Of course, this all comes down to how badly someone wants one of these, but the bidding seems strong so far. I think this is a very unique car given its extensive service history, and the bidding should recognize that as the clock ticks down on the bidding. I can’t wait to find out.

– Andrew

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6 Comments

  1. Lovely car, although the explanation for the mismatched driver’s door makes little sense.

  2. Yes, that door is ghetto. And unacceptable if seller wants a premium price as I’m sure it will. Also a shame that the wheels are chrome. The ones in the original photo are not. Otherwise, amazing.

  3. What odd looking exterior photos. Makes one wonder how much photoshopping was done. Color mismatch i pretty crazy. What do you do with it? Leave it and the car always looks bad. A quality repaint would cost more than the value of the car. A pox on the owner of the car at repaint for not getting it sorted then.

  4. Andrew, to satisfy your curiosity the auction ended at $4600. I did have a higher bid in but no one was bidding against me. I reached out to the seller regarding the magic number, the reply was $14K. It was a bit surprising for a non-original paint MB with close to 200k miles. I get the whole “this is the break in mileage for the diesel” thing (which its not really – there are tons of other components int he car besides the motor itself) but the asking is way high imo.

    I recall that in the times not so long ago, a repaint on a Benz resulted in a negative impact to its actual value – is this no longer the case?

    to his credit, the seller will entertain offers just in case anyone reading this is interested

  5. You'll never Know

    Milan Brown Metallic was a very common color choice, and is not rare by any means. In addition, any shade of brown with a tan/brown interior is a rather undesirable color combination to the majority of people. $14,000 for a W116 chassis S class is 6.9 price territory. Cars like this 300SD in this shape are usually $2,000-$3,000 cars. I imagine the seller is just another one of many delusional Mercedes owners.

    The W116 has always been considered “the fat girl at the dance” of S class models. There are only a handful of people in this world that really like them. Hence, the very affordable prices we so often see on them. They’re nearly impossible to restore due to lack of parts, and what is available is overpriced. Because of their affordable prices, they now attract bargain hunters that literally drive them into the ground. They refuse to properly maintain them, and they never buy quality parts for them.

    The upgraded climate control is rather overrated. The original Chrysler servo and amplifier system is a very bullet proof system provided no vacuum leaks exist. The truth is that the upgrade costs about as much as another NEW servo and amplifier, and the upgrade won’t work if there are vacuum leaks anyway. So anytime the original climate control system is compromised by being a miser the value of the car decreases. One wonders just how many other short cuts were taken?

    For the transmission to have been rebuilt at only 100,000 miles or less is indicative of deferred maintenance, or maybe abuse or improper adjustment. These transmissions should last up to or a little over 200,000 miles before any major repairs are needed.

    And yes, repainting any car decreases it’s value even if it’s painted back the original color. Mainly because it takes away the originality factor. While a proper paint job would, indeed, cost more than the car is worth, it must be remembered that a cars value should never dictate whether it should be restored or not. If the owner loved the car, then how much it costs to restore the car is insignificant. There are only a handful of cars in this world that are worth more than it costs to restore them. A W116 will never be one of those cars, and restoring ANY W116, even a 6.9, will ALWAYS cost more than they’re worth. Putting more into a car than it’s worth when restoring it is an extremely large part of being an enthusiast. If one is in it for the money, then they’re not a true enthusiast. There is no room to make money on any S Class Mercedes restoration. It’ll always be a losing proposition.

  6. I really appreciate YNK’s comments about maintenance cost vs car value.

    My 1989 200Q, while not restored, has almost no market value despite its outstanding condition mechanically and cosmetic. I have $50k in receipts since 1998 to attest to that, and fully expect 2k per year minimum to keep it running soundly. But it is a magic mount. Capable of gobbling vast distances in rock steady comfort.

    My 2001 S8, which I paid 9k for in 2013, has required an additional 25k in 6 years of ownership. But again, a magnificent car in impeccable (not perfect) condition.

    Have driven both these old tanks cross country and never skipped a beat.

    Car enthusiasm isn’t the same as car investing. It’s about car appreciation, living true details, quality, quirks, of everything about the car that makes it unique…and makes you say thingsnmine “ I will never iartnwith this thing”

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