1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SE

450SE1I don’t see many W116s on the roads these days, although they do seem to be ubiquitous in certain kinds of Hollywood movies (usually those set in the middle east, in which they feature as the preferred ride of the terrorist bad guys). Produced between 1972 and 1980, the W116 was the flagship of the Mercedes lineup during the period and was the first car to be officially referred to as an “S-class.” Penned in the 1960s, the design looks remarkably more modern than it really is, probably because many of the car’s styling cues were carried over onto models built for a decade or two to come.

This particular example isn’t the range topping, high performance 6.9 SEL model. Instead, it’s a short wheel base, low mileage version of the ordinary 450. Nonetheless, it looks glorious and stately, which is exactly how an S-class should look.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SE on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Hard to believe though it may seem with today’s plethora of topless options, back in the early 1980s your selections were quite limited. Bucking the belief that the convertible would be killed off, Volkswagen emerged with a Rabbit Cabriolet that featured a massive rollover hoop for protection. Porsche entered the fray in 1982 as well, bringing back the cabriolet model that had been missing since the 356. But the only choice if you wanted a luxury convertible was the Mercedes-Benz SL. From 1971 to 1989, this car was the undisputed king of open-air motoring, and for good reason. This weekend, I walked by a Buick Cascada and thought “Wow, that looks cheap”. Though the 1980s were accused of being the era of rampant consumerism, the reality is that it was a very narrow window of incredible products. In the 1970s, for a new car to last a few years and maybe up to 100,000 miles was semi-miraculous. Yet suddenly in the 1980s we as consumers were presented with a number of cars that would run for three times that amount with little difficulty. They started every time, were mechanically well engineered and even got reasonably good fuel economy. It was the brief period where the engineering overtook the penny pinching accountants, when cars were made well and to a standard that would last. By the 1990s, cars had become much more disposable again – the reality of keeping a car company afloat, unfortunately. But looking through the photos of this 1985 380SL, I happened across the sticker bearing the signature of Gottlieb Daimler. The sticker is a bit worn and peeled around the edges with a slight discoloration, but on that sticker are the words “a DAIMLER-BENZ product”. That meant something in the 1980s, because these were simply the best engineered and constructed cars in the world. You were buying one for a lifetime of service, not two years of commuting. They were expensive, but they were the benchmark by which all others were measured. I still remember when the Cadillac Allante debuted in 1986, aimed to compete against this very car. Now, by that time the R107 was 15 years into production and probably 20 years from original sketch, so it was pretty tired as designs go. But Car and Driver compared the two and walked away saying that the Mercedes-Benz was still the car to get. You know what? They were right, because here we are 31 years later and this 1985 380SL still looks lovely, fresh and ready for top-down action:

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Honorable Mention Roundup

We get a lot of submissions from readers – something we greatly appreciate! But the reality is that we don’t get the chance to write up all of these cars, and some deserving examples slip through the cracks. For some time I’ve wanted to do a roundup of all the examples we missed out on, so today I’m doing just that. Here’s a group of neat cars that we didn’t get a chance to look at in more depth. Thanks again to all of our devoted readers who have sent in some of these suggestions – we really do love getting your suggestions, so keep sending them and tell us if this “Honorable Mention Roundup is a good idea!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

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1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC Euro-Spec – REVISIT

While prices of the E24, 928 and Mercedes-Benz C126 models continue to rise, the C107 still offers plenty of Mercedes-Benz build quality, some racing heritage and European style on an affordable budget. The styling of the big coupe isn’t for everyone, but European models such as this 380SLC really clean up the lines in my mind. On top of that, it features the hotter Euro 380 motor with 215 horsepower – some 60 more than the U.S. version. With a price drop of $3,000 since this summer to a Buy It Now of $11,900, this looks like a very clean example that offers a lot of unique, classic car for the money.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site June 19, 2015:

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1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC Euro-spec

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the C107; most I see seem to be tatty, bloated and tired. They appear forlorn and forgotten, the model that Mercedes-Benz made to fill a gap that probably didn’t really exist. Mercedes-Benz reversed engineered their roadster R107 SL into a fixed-head coupe – something they very, very seldom do, and the result was…well, let’s be honest, not the best looking Mercedes-Benz product ever produced. That’s especially true of the U.S. bound examples, which were not only laden with the U.S. mandated circus funhouse bumper-car bumpers, but additionally had emissions equipment that turned powerful V8s into anemic gasoholics. How bad was it? Well, not as bad as some of the “muscle cars” coming out of Detroit like the Mustang managed 140 horsepower out of the 4.9 liter V8 under the hood. Slightly more powerful was the Pontiac Trans-Am, which managed to eek 155-160 horsepower out of 6 liters of V8. From that perspective, the 155 horsepower that the U.S. bound 380SLC produced wasn’t that bad – but it was far from impressive. Remove the constraints of the U.S. borders from the SLC, though, and it emerged from it’s Harrison Bergeron-esque chains as a competent sports-coupe. The top of the heap were the 5-liter equipped models, with aluminum hoods and trunks meant to lighten the car for International Rally competition. But even the lowly 380SLC in European guise wasn’t a slouch, with 215 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft of torque. Those numbers were near identical to the obvious competition – the BMW 635CSi, though the E24 was a few hundred pounds lighter and more fun on the back roads. On the Autobahn, though, the trip to the Alps with your small family would be achieved just as fast and with more luxury:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC Euro-Spec

While I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of current Mercedes-Benz products, driving down the road the other day I stumbled across a European specification 500SEC. Now, W126s amazingly aren’t an uncommon sight by me, perhaps a testament to their build quality and enduring appeal. But that big coupe that I saw just stood out – it was as if 18-odd feet of 1985 had been transported back in time. Unlike many of the beaten and tired looking SELs that clatter along the street, a subtle V8 burble crept from under the hood of this pristine time capsule. It was shiny and looked near new and was a reminder of days gone by. Is the W126 Coupe the best looking Mercedes-Benz? Not by a long shot, at least to me. But the package which is the SEC may be one of the best, balancing comfort, style, speed and dependability with affordability. Add the Euro-spec items to that list, and the package is a home run:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC on eBay

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