The King’s car: Elvis’ 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL


Elvis Presley loved his cars. Or maybe he just liked being seen in cars. Either way, he had his far share of flashy automobiles in his life. Cadillac, Lincoln, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz highlighted a list which included other not-so-glorious makes that just looked flashy. Often when we see ”Elvis cars” come up for sale, they aren’t actually his cars. Usually they were bought by him and given as gifts to family or friends. Today’s featured 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL isn’t that case.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Elvis’ 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL on eBay

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1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5

This car is a bit atypical of most of the cars I feature here at GCFSB. I typically focus on the lighter, smaller, sportier cars that attract my attention, which predominantly end up being Porsches. Those are the cars I love, but I’ve always loved a big Merc as well, especially those of the ’70s. Something about their styling really grabs me. There is a certain timeless charm found in their contours and whenever I think of having a big posh car to soak up road imperfections these are almost always the sort of cars that come to mind.

Here we have a 1973 280SEL 4.5 located in California. As one of the last of the W108 generation it came with a 4.5 liter V8 producing 225 hp that allowed for capable performance figures for cars of this size.


Year: 1973
Model: 280SEL 4.5
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 82,310 mi
Price: Reserve Auction (Buy It Now $13,800)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 on eBay

Nice, California 280SEL with the desirable 4.5 liter engine. No issues with this 4.5. Some extra parts go with the car. More photos to be uploaded by Sept. 1. Title not branded in any way, no salvage title. Pre-purchase inspections are welcome.

Call for details: Ken at 916-295-9081 or 916-486-0981. Overall condition: Excellent.

Non-refundable deposit of $1,500 due within three business days after end of auction. Balance due within 7 days after that. This car is in condition 3-2 per the Hagerty Price Guide, No. 21. Value is between $14,000 (cond. 3) and $19,000 (cond. 2).


While silver isn’t the most exciting color on a car, I love the way the 280SEL looks in this color. The contrast of the orange front indicators with the understated paint color looks lovely and the silver paint provides a nice contrast to a fantastic looking cognac interior. The seller of this car has provided very little detail and left the car to speak for itself. While I think the car looks fantastic and by itself that can speak volumes, I’d still prefer a bit more explanation of the mechanical state of the car. However, those sorts of details can be discovered by any interested buyer and with a Buy It Now of $13,800 this car is priced very reasonably. If it can come through with a good PPI, this car should serve as a great alternative to many of the modern day big saloons that, to my eye, have all begun to look a bit too similar.


1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5

Growing up, I was exposed early on to the merits of Mercedes-Benzes. There’s been quite a few of them to pass through my family, with one still hanging around to this day. There’s something instantly familiar about the vintage models. From the way their doors shut with a solid thunk to the way they seem to smooth out the road ahead, seamlessly combining comfortable cruising with sure-footed handling. One of my favorite vintage Mercedes sedans is the late model W108/W109. The forerunner to the S class, these cars gained a new lease on life towards the end of their production run with the addition of the 4.5 liter V8 engine.

I’ve never seen one of these sedans painted in this eye-popping color before. It’s an uncommon choice and one that won’t be to everyone’s taste. But this final year 280SEL 4.5 is an original car, save for a new interior and some exterior touch ups along the way.


Year: 1973
Model: 280SEL 4.5
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 66,704(?) miles
Price: Reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5 on eBay


Before you is a stunning 1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL in 624 Yellow with Dark Brown Leather Interior. This 280SEL was purchased new at Mark Motors, Inc., Illinois in 1973. The original owner then moved to Montecito, California and the car was transported by truck. I purchased this car 10 years ago from the original owner, an elderly lady, and sold it locally (Ventura, CA) to another mature woman. I purchased the car back recently. This 280SEL is truly unique because of its color. In person, it’s magnificent. I’ve never seen another like it. When you drive up in this vehicle, people know that you’ve arrived.

The front and back seats have been reupholstered in dark brown leather. Due to 40 years of age and use, parts of it could not be saved. The exterior paint is probably 75% original. The car runs and drives great. This car comes with all the original books, the new car pre-delivery inspection, a little key fob, the original Protect-O-Plate, and the owner’s service and warranty book made out to original owner. Please see pictures for details – TAB 11.

If you’re serious about this car, you should really call me so we can talk about it and I can give you more of the history etc.: RICK – 805.218.0606. Happy bidding!

PS – A little story about the car… I asked the owner why she picked this color. She said she didn’t. She sent her husband to the Mercedes Benz dealer to get a red with white interior. He called her from the dealership and told her that they didn’t have the red with white, but had the yellow with dark brown interior. So she said fine and bought the car. Then she looked at me with a stern face and said, “now remember young man, colors in the 70s were quite different than they are today.”


As with a lot of cars we feature here on GCFSB, the color is the main issue with this car. The seller isn’t joking when he said “people will know when you’ve arrived.” Some will love this shade of yellow, others will hate it. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea and I could envision people flagging you down in urban areas having mistaken you for a taxi. Disregarding the color, the car has an interesting history and certainly presents well. It’s apparent that it’s been cared for over the years. Similar late model 280SEL 4.5s in good condition can fetch between $15,000 and $25,000. Bidding is stronger than I would have thought for a car with such a loud color, but in the end, it may be a factor that holds its value back.