1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SEL

Fresh off last week’s 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL, I happen to run across another European-market example, although this one is already in this US. This is a 1985 380SEL that marked the final year for the 3.8L V8 before switching over the 4.2L V8 in the 420SEL. These are generally forgotten in the W126 world as if you are going to buy one, a diesel or the 560 are the best bang for your buck. So why look at a lowly 380SEL then? How does 2,900 miles since new sound? Well, how does it look is more like it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SEL on eBay

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1980 Mercedes Benz Euro 380SE AMG very early

This is a very early W126 380SE, perhaps the earliest in the country.

The W126 wasn’t available in the states in 1980 so this car is a grey market model so you get the nice flush headlights.

The car has had an interesting past as the owner says it was sold by the the Southern California Police Department. It appears the car has seen some extended time in storage, but has since had some maintenance work, $3,000 worth, to get it back to road worthy status. It has covered 77,000 miles, always questionable with imported cars without good records.  The car has some AMG parts, rims, body kit, AMG look steering wheel. It also has white faced gauges and upgraded front seats, as well as a rear sun curtain. The stereo has been replaced with a more modern unit. I’m not a big fan of white cars, particularly ones with gold accents as this one has with all the gold badging. I do like the monochromatic look though with the painted grille, window trim, and wheel faces.

The ad is pretty weak, the seller doesn’t once mention the model Merc this is. The vin indicates it is a 380SE. Under the hood you can see the compact V8, it is missing a piece of the intake snorkel. There also appears to be an aftermarket alarm siren on the left side. It looks like a little cleaning under the hood could make things look a little fresher.

The oddest thing I notice from the pictures is there appears to be something funky going on with the passenger side panel fit. Maybe this is a photo artifact, but things look a little wavy and I’d want to look at that more closely and judging by the description that comes off as a little inexperienced, I’d want that looked at in person or by an agent rather than by the seller.

The ask price is $7,500 with a reserve. The seller will not get any bids at that price. Maybe a $5,000 car at small time classics dealer lot with an in person transaction as an impulse by. On eBay, even with it being early, under 100K, and with the AMG parts, $7,000 will not be happening for at least a few more years.

Good looking car that still doesn’t seem 32 years old.

1980 Mercedes Benz Euro 380SE AMG on eBay


1981 Mercedes 380SEL Koenig Specials Widebody

Coming out of a Florida estate sale is this nice looking Koenig Special. The car has a bit over 100,000 miles on the 3.8 liter V8. The seller doesn’t come off as an expert on Mercedes vehicles, but does provide what sounds like an honest and fair description of the car in a video overview posted within the ad.

The paint is showing some expected wear, but in general the widebody kit and the interior look very good for a car like this. Those of you who follow the big Benzs with the “Miami Vice” style kits of this era know that most that come to market these days have many cracks, dings, chips, and defects. This one looks fine as is; a new owner could make it exceptional with a strip and high quality respray. Other than this being based on the lower output 3.8 instead of the 5.0 or 5.6, this one appears to be a good candidate for preservation. The 3.8 does make this a bit more uncommon in terms of other Koenig models. The car is a Euro model and was imported through proper channels, it has the correct importer markings.

The seller makes a mention of this car having a twin timing chain setup, which is nothing special, but a common conversion on the 3.8 as a preventative maintenance measure. Outside of the paint problems, its missing part of the climate control system, the speedo doesn’t work, there is a modern radio (good or bad depending on your purist intentions a period correct Alpine unit would look great), and lastly for some unknown reason the gold trunk Mercedes emblem has been replaced upside done.

The ask is $8,500 with bidding up at a reserve not met $6,200. Lots of depreciation on a car that cost over $100k when new. Even with the flaws and the less exciting engine, I have a real soft spot for these cars and the presence they command out on the road.