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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1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL 3.5 V8

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL 3.5 V8 at Classic Cars GmbH

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL on eBay

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1972 BMW 1602 Touring

Update 9/5/19: This 1602 Touring sold for $18,300.

If youíve missed the most recent bandwagon, itís been firmly hitched to the back of the E30 Touring. Recently these cars passed the magical ď25 YearĒ importation ban and have begun flooding the market. The reason is simple; they havenít previously been available here, the E30 market is red hot, and theyíre 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 Ė 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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 1602 Touring on eBay

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

In case you missed or forgot about the totally rad 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive, take a look again at a big piece of the 1980s projected in a car. That C126 is a well-preserved look back in time at how extreme popular aftermarket car styling was, and how much our tastes have changed over the years. I was most impressed at how well that car held up because once that kind of styling fell out of favor, often they were dumped off and left to fester. Today’s car, a 1987 420SEL, is one of those cars. This car at one point was probably just as stylish and cool as that 560SEC with its massive fender flares and high dollar wheels, but sadly has fallen in to disrepair and probably won’t ever recover. Let me tell you why.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL on eBay

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Last week I looked at a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL with just 1,500 miles on it. I was pretty underwhelmed with it because of the presentation and the fact that it looked like every other R107 that wasn’t beat to death. I was even more underwhelmed by the $75,000 asking price. To no one’s surprise, the car didn’t even up selling and they actually relisted it for $500 more at $75,500. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Today, I thought I’d present another 380SL at a much more reasonable price and actually in the same ballpark in terms of condition. The best news? This is a European-spec car so there is much to be excited about.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL on eBay

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Like anyone, I love rare and interesting colors. So when I saw this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL in the great China Blue, I just had to take a closer look. Upon taking that closer look, things got even better when I found out this car was a federalized European specification car. From there, it got even more interesting, but maybe not for the best…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL on eBay

Year: 1983
Model: 380SL
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 158,800 km (98,673 mi)
Price: Reserve Auction

 

VIN Number: WDB10704512000498
498th 380SL off the assembly line
Ultra rare factory optioned China blue paint (color code 934)
True grey market import european version
Owned by German Mechanic and maintained to highest standard
158,800 Kilometers (About 98,700 miles)
Functioning Vacuum headlight adjustments and working clock on the gauge cluster
Dry, Rust free, Accident free Car
$8,000 spent in professional rebuild of a Mercedes 420 engine with the original euro 380 heads (the 380 heads have bigger valves and mechanical idle system with no idle computer.) This solves the 380s issue of being underpowered. It is now very responsive, yet still nimble and light. Giving the car 215HP vs 185HP (380SL). Just as powerful as the 500SL. The car was previously owned by German Auto in Phoenix, the largest independent Mercedes mechanic shop west of the Mississippi. The shop owner personally rebuilt the engine and spared no expense. This car has power!!!!
$25,000 in records dating back to 1983 when it was sold new in Scottsdale, AZ by Young Motorcars. Original loan documents, purchasing agreement, and sale documents included along with the other stack of records. Over $3000 in work in 2017 alone.
Ice cold AC
New kenwood head unit
Clean Arizona Title
Located in San Diego, CA
Overall this is an amazing car. I purchased it for personal use, however it is going to cost too much money to get it smog legal here in California. The car is extremely tight and so well maintained. Just about everything has been done to this car and it could be an amazing daily driver or weekend cruiser. Minor cosmetic issues that come with a 35-year-old car. Being sold ASIS. International buyers welcome.

Cosmetically, this isn’t a bad SL at all. It does have a cracked dash and some fairly weathered wood, but the big picture of this R107 looks really good. It has it faults, but the total package presents well. One thing to note is that this car doesn’t have headrests which might bother some, but they can be added without too much trouble. I don’t mind the chrome Bundts on this car as it is more of a period correct thing as long as they are in decent shape, which they look to be.

Mechanically, this is an interesting car. The seller says this is a 4.2 liter with the 3.8 liter heads. Thing is, the 420SL never made it to North America and we didn’t get the 420SEL until 1986. I guess sometime after 1986 they sourced a 4.2 liter and kept the 3.8 liter heads, which is totally possible. I just wish the seller would be clearer on this or at least provide the invoice so everyone could read what exactly was done. On the other hand, it does have invoices for timing chain work so that is a huge plus for everyone. What isn’t a huge plus is that this R107 can’t pass smog in California. Seeing as the car is currently for sale in California, this poses a problem for possible bidders. Unless you really love China Blue, most people are probably going to move on from this one.

I think bidding will suffer some with this one because of smog issue. I do think it will sell rather easily, but it just won’t have all those California bidders raising the price with every click. Getting it over $10,000 shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but anything beyond that, who knows.

– Andrew

 

1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE

Now that we are just about done drooling over Craig’s new 300SE,¬†it’s time to take a look at another W126. This 1985 380SE for sale in Kentucky offers up another shade of blue on the S-Class, the darker Nautical Blue Metallic. This one also has two extra cylinders with the M116 3.8 liter V8. Fortunately for everyone, this Gen 1 W126 has been highly cared for and shows only a hair over 45,000 miles. But are you willing to pay the price?

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

Model: 380SE
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 45,100 mi
Price: $8,900

‚ÄúONE OWNER! Garage kept Only 45k Original Miles! Owner invested $6400 in upgrades recently…you will NOT find this year and mileage anywhere on the internet. Near perfect condition! Very Very minor paint chips…almost cannot see them. Trunk appears to have never been used. Leather is perfect and the overall interior is pristine. This is a one of a kind car and there is NOT anything like it on the entire internet for this year, make, and model. No fading in paint and the tires are newer. Chrome has no blemishes. Just a beautiful car. Mechanically it runs and drives like new. You will not be disappointed.‚ÄĚ

From 1980 to 1985, the 380SE was sold along side the 380SEL, 500SEL and of course the diesel 300SD in the US. In 1984, the M116 in the 380SE/L was upgraded to a dual-row timing chain to fix chain failure issues that the earlier engines suffered from. The dual-row 380SE/L only lasted until 1985 until it was replaced by the 4.2 liter V8 M117 that birthed the 420SE/L that carried on until the end of W126 production. This being a 1985 car, it’s a far more desirable car in the eyes of enthusiasts and anyone who just wants to maintain these cars to go forever.

This car specifically looks to be a great example of a short wheelbase 380SE. Inside and out the car looks like a true 45,000 mile W126 should look. Another great sign that this car was cared for is that it rides on Michelin Defender tires which is the premier tire for 14-inch Mercedes wheels. (Unless you are insane and buy Michelin XWXs for $370 a tire!) People who don’t care about their cars usually don’t spring for the expensive Michelins when it comes to replacing their tires. The over $6,000 in recent repairs that was done in one swing is another great sign as well.

The Buy It Now on this one is set for $8,900 and while I can’t argue against it, you are paying a premium for a 380SE at that price. You can probably go find a nice Gen 2 560SEL for that kind of money or find a really nice 300SD if you want to go the diesel route.

– Andrew

1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

4I¬†have an itch to buy a¬†W126. Yesterday I test drove a 420SEL¬†that popped up for sale on my local Craigslist (not today’s car¬†– we’ll get to that in a moment). The one I drove was offered at a fair price and when I noticed that it was parked only a few blocks away from my house, I felt obliged¬†to take¬†a¬†look.¬†I had never driven an SEL before. Here are my first¬†impressions: 1. They really are huge. The hood alone seemed to stretch out for miles in front of me. I dreaded to think how far back the trunk extended. “What a nightmare this must be to park in the city,” I thought to myself, as I delicately threaded¬†the¬†car through DC morning traffic. 2. They look glorious in person, even when a bit dinged up, as this one was. 3. When you push down on the throttle you don’t so much surge forward, as waft gently toward the horizon on a magic carpet of dignified torque. Despite being smitten with the car I let it go in the end, concluding that, with snow and ice season just around the corner, I couldn’t justify picking up a RWD,¬†nose-heavy V8¬†as a daily driver. But I did spend the afternoon gazing wistfully¬†at other 420s for sale on the internet. That’s how I stumbled across this lovely, low mileage example for sale in Florida.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL on eBay

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1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC

Last week I took a look at Kermit’s convertible – a early production run R107 450SL that was all green. Today’s 1981 380SLC represents the end of the run – but not for the 107 chassis in its entirety. As Mercedes-Benz moved to the new W126 chassis, it moved the big, personal coupe from the SLC to the SEC in 1982 and 1981 was the last year of C107 production. By the end of the run, there had been some changes to the lineup. Gone was the 4.5 liter M117, replaced by the smaller displacement M116 3.8 liter V8. With a single-row timing chain which proved problematic and low compression generating only 155 horsepower, they might just be the least desirable Mercedes-Benz V8. The later U.S. cars also enjoyed the added weight both physically and visually of the DOT-mandated 5 m.p.h. safety bumpers. It was as if Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron were playing out with automotive subjects. But there are a few reasons to like this SLC. Like the early 450SL I covered a bit over a week ago, today’s 380SLC comes to market looking like it could be Kermit’s personal luxury sports coupe:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay

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