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Another week, another case of “I would pay to know the story behind this one“!
What we are checking out today is a 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SE up for sale in Italy with a four-speed manual transmission. That alone is good enough. However, this one also has armored body panels, bulletproof glass, anti-burglary tire valves (?), a PA system, and a fire suppression system! I try really hard not to stereotype, but my goodness this was the owner of this car doing that required all of this?
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.
Prior to the R107 generation Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, your thirst for a V8 couldn’t be quenched. Your only options in prior generations 300SL and W113 Pagoda were inline-six powerplants in various guise. Don’t get me wrong, they were very sweet engines, especially that in the Gullwing, but V8s they were not. However, it looks like there was someone who wasn’t going to accept that. Leave it to the sneaky Germans to pull this one off.
As they years go by, it seems less and less likely that the W116 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will get its due. The newest examples are now 40 years-old, so if they aren’t in full blown classic status might now, they might not ever be. Don’t get me wrong, the best of the best examples still sell for very good money, but this is clearly not a case of rising tides lifts all ships. The holy-grail 6.9 cars struggle to sell if they aren’t in perfect condition both cosmetically and mechanically, because honestly they just are worth the trouble and money of fooling with at this stage. The non-6.9 V8 cars seem to struggle because they aren’t the 6.9 and why invest in one of those for when not much more money you buy a 6.9. I even say this as someone who owns and loves a W116, a 300SD no less, but I see the reality in owning these cars. So naturally when I see a seemingly nice W116 come up sale, I always want to take a peek to see what is out there. This 1978 450SEL up for sale outside of Chicago looks nice enough, but I have some questions.
Update 9/5/19: This 1602 Touring sold for $18,300.
If you’ve missed the most recent bandwagon, it’s been firmly hitched to the back of the E30 Touring. Recently these cars passed the magical “25 Year” importation ban and have begun flooding the market. The reason is simple; they haven’t previously been available here, the E30 market is red hot, and they’re relatively dirt cheap in Europe. But if you really want to show up those bandwagon-jumping E30 hispters at the local show, why not look towards the original Touring – the Michelotti-designed, E10-based ‘E6’ 1600, 1800 or 2000 Touring models. Shortened by about 6 inches and with additional glass, the Touring had modern conveniences like split-folding rear seats and was available only for a short run between 1971 and 1974. It ran the full production line in engines minus the turbo; the most valuable examples are clean tii versions or the ultra-rare Alpina variants, but even a nice clean basic example of any shows just what a neat design it was: