Wednesday, April 1, 2015

5k: The Weezard of Ah Come On! 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300CD with 5.6 Liter V8

 -- by Hunsbloger.  Upon seeing this W123 Coupe with a modern V8 swap, my heart sang as this is one of my unicorn swaps.  Never mind that its using a slightly older (read lower horsepower) 5.6 M117 which the owner says is rated at 170HP and 380/ftlbs, its still an improvement.  The seller credits a now closed European Precision Service with the installation.   I was all set to fall in love, but like a termite infested home in Southern California it all looks great until you start opening the doors.  Find this 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300CD with 5.6 Liter V8 currently bidding for $2,025 here on eBay with just under 2 days to go.


I personally like the metallic adobe exterior and brick interior which the seller identifies as Champagnermetallic over Nappa Red leather.  I was anxious to see what's hiding under the hood but settled in for the slide show of the exterior.  These are nice pics and they deserve my full attention (another cup of coffee please).


The 300CD is a perfectly proportioned personal coupe for a daily driver. Leaving the diesel badges in place allows everyone at Trader Joe's to admire you while feeling sorry for you all at the same time. Minor points off for the missing three horizontal chrome dress ups on the grille, but the beauty shots presented in the 360-degree walk around are actually that...beauty. The Texas plates lend reasonable assurance that the frame and underbits are not one speed bump away from folding the car in half and so far the lowest point are the driving lights which remind me of all those wonderful Huskies with one dark eye and one blue eye.



Open the driver's door to settle in but....what's that?! An exposed passenger's kickpanel? Well that's not so bad, the rest of the car is still looking good, so like a date with a run in her hose, I'll still play for a bit and see how this plays out. But open that driver's door a little further and what's this... Looks like someone was just a bit too dedicated in their attempts to retrieve that quarter for the toll both as they've kind of destroyed the driver's side map pocket. Waviness and reddish tint along the bottom edge of the door side weather stripping sets off some alarm bells...but I don't see any flame yet...just smoke.

 
But lets take a look at the bidness end of this thing. We're gonna be sailing down the highway and need some gauges to read, but for the sake of all that sacred in Stuttgart who mounted that huge 'mericun tach on the dash?! But, still not dissuaded, after all if this is hiding major horsepower, we want to keep track. But, man, that Carpenters pencil stuffed in the passenger's side kickpanel is making me wonder if this wasn't engineered in pencil rather than in pen.



Well, in spite of a few flaws in a few spots which aren't going to be seen by most, we open the passenger's door which now reveals that our date is slightly less well kept on the inside than her party dress suggests! Check out that underdash shot!  I don't see a lot of zip ties or chunks of black electrician's tape, but you gotta wonder if you NEED to have daily access to that mess-o-wire just to get this thing going every morning.


Lets open the hood and see what's left. C&R Radiator. They know where to source quality afterbits, and then there's the hot rodder's favorite air breather for low profile engine swaps and a k&n valve cover snorkel, but the rest looks like stock Benzus, but should I be concerned when the water temp gauge on the dash is reading normal, but the water temp sensor is not hooked up under the hood?  The photos could have been taken at different times, but the bigger indicator of the car's ability to regularly move on its own power is the fuel pressure gauge hastily added via a brass t-fitting on the driver's shock tower.  As someone who has driven around with fuel pressure gauges zip tied to windshield wipers, this can only mean that some fiddling was/is required to get this thing to run correctly.




But now the party is in full swing and someone has to smile and reveal horrible dental decay! The base of the windshield on the drivers side is evidencing some serious (old) rust. No so much because of the size, but because it appears to be rusted through on the interior side of the firewall. I'm also seeing some sign of what appears to be leftover tape painted bold where the door trim meets the front fender suggesting this has been resprayed.


All said and done, when I first saw this car I couldn't believe how low the bidding was...but now, I understand. Still...for $3k, this wouldn't make a bad beater.  See another V8 powered ex-oil burner? tips@dailyturismo.com

35 comments:

  1. Another one of those where the concept is great and the execution is probably an amazing dickstomp.

    Love the air-filter hat on the K-Jet air meter.

    Why on Earth would anyone swap a K-Jet-equipped motor into anything? That SOHC motor makes about the useful BHP of a 2.8 Chevy V6.

    I'll pass..

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  2. Every now and then, you come across a car that makes you go, "Huh?!?" If nothing else, this car holds tremendous entertainment value just pondering it. In a sea of blandness, it's refreshing. Nice find, Kaibeezy and a nice writeup!

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    1. shhh... jeez... no one is supposed to know i'm also the handsome and distinguished hunsbloger

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    2. [img]http://i.imgur.com/ChHNZ.gif[/img]

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    3. Doh! Sorry, Hunsbloger. I don't recall why I though Kaibeezy wrote this piece. Brothers from another mother?

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    4. No worries, but we're easy to tell apart. Vin pays KBZ for his wit, he pays me by the word.

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    5. It's high time we take up a collection for Kaibeezy then (just kidding!).

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. well, heck, anyone know how to get a vine video into comments? - click here bro

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  3. Thank you for featuring my V8 W123. It's a good looking car, and despite your snarky review, I made an effort to portray it honestly in the listing. The pluses and minuses are clearly called out - I would much rather have potential bidders know up front what they are looking at, warts and all. Stock W123 coupes are starting to appreciate, but with this car having the engine swap, I felt as though a no reserve auction was the best format to let the market determine the value.

    Thanks again for the feature.

    -bch3

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    1. Welcome to DT, bch3! Obviously, whether we're being jerky about it or not, we find your car fascinating. Can you give us more background? How was it living with the car after all of the modifications? On my screen, the paragraph that begins "I’m thinning..." is blocked by the first image of your car. What does it say? One question that's driving us all crazy; is that really a carpenter's pencil or something else in the kick panel? Also, what other cars do you have? With such an interesting car like this, you've probably got some others kicking around! Thanks for speaking up!

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    2. I don't find the feature jerky at all. I'm a regular reader of the blog and always enjoy the daily emails and the commentary. This coupe is a pretty nice car all-in-all. It drives well, but does need a little TLC. The previous owner drove it sparingly, as have I. It has general old car issues, but I haven't found any issues particular to the engine swap. The rust in the cowl is real, and the pictures portray it accurately. It is what it is. And that's not a carpenter's pencil in the kick panel - it's vacuum lines that are routed I guess under the sill to the back of the car. What you see under the dash on the passenger side is box stock MB, there aren't any hacks. I left the panel off when I was trying to sort the ACC and left it off as I didn't want to risk damaging the plastic of the panel by repeated R&R. It's in good condition and in the trunk of the car.

      I have two other older Mercedes (W124 400E and W116 450SEL) and a Triumph TR6. According to my significant other, that is two old cars too many. This coupe is the first to go, and I'm trying to decide between the two other Benzes. Both are nice cars, just don't have the time and space to keep them all.

      -bch3

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    3. Oh no, the plight of the gearhead! Sorry to hear you're having to get rid of a couple of your cars. Which will it be; the E or the SEL, do you think?

      And thanks for the answers to our questions. By jerky, I meant snarky. Just trying to use another word because if I didn't it might have appeared that I was making fun of you. Which I wasn't, for sure.

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    4. bch3,
      Glad to hear you "enjoyed" the snarky review, and we Californians are suckers for diesel title vehicles with big gasoline V8 swaps. For the current $2k bidding, whoever buys this is getting one heck of a deal.

      -Vince
      DT E-i-C.

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    5. BCH3- Thrilled to have the back story on this! Be clear, if I'd thought it wasn't worth someone's time to check it out, I would not have submitted it, so forgive us if we tend toward the snarky. If you're a daily reader, you already know that's how we roll. If you're not a daily reader, join us, we need more submissions from TX.

      The story as I wrote it was the way I do all of mine (Vin's are far more literary and hip, mine tend more toward the rambling), I opened up the ad and was instantly drawn in by the photos. I should have given you proper credit for the photo of the cancer because it was expository, which is what we look for. Good luck with your sale, I wish it was closer. Had it been closer, I probably would have just driven over to look at it, bought it and never written word one about it. Hopefully someone else will soon.

      PS..I vaguely remember that shop and had an inkling of a memory that they also did V8 conversions of XJ6's back in the 80's. Am I thinking of the right one?

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    6. I appreciate the feature and the exposure, absolutely no offense taken. The car sold on ebay for $2,326 to a gentleman in Florida who is thrilled to have it. The beauty of a no reserve auction - the market decided the value.

      Not sure about the shop that did the original conversion. They've apparently been closed for a few years. A shop in Richardson did the second swap and other work on it from '96 on.

      I really can't decide between my two other Mercedes. The 400E is a good runner. I'm the third owner (second had it from '94 until last year) and has been very well maintained. It shares daily driver duties with my Land Rover. The SEL is just a nice old cruiser and is much cheaper to maintain than my departed Silver Shadow. Decisions, decisions.

      Cheers,

      -bch3

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    7. Sincere congrats, bch3! That's fantastic and I'm sure a load off your shoulders. How has your experience with your E been, other than what you mentioned and which Landy? Did you see my recent Landy questions here on DT recently?

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    8. The W124 is a great car. All older Mercedes can be a bit "death by a thousand cuts" to properly maintain, but the build quality is superb and parts prices are pretty reasonable. It is quick, very comfortable, and a clean, timeless design. The M119 V-8 is one of Mercedes' best efforts, in my opinion.

      I have a Discovery I LSE. It's a low mileage cream puff and has been a good truck for me. I saw your post on the P38 Range Rover. The general wisdom is that those are awful. I looked at over a dozen Discos before buying mine. There are wide variations in quality on trucks that generally trade in a narrow price range. Definitely buy the best, as a bad one will absolutely break you. The build quality and fit and finish is pretty appalling, especially compared to a pre-1995 Mercedes. All that said, if the right Range Rover Classic LWB came into my path, I'd buy it and sell the Disco.

      -bch3

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    9. Disco wins again! That seems to be the creme of the LR crop. I never got an answer about the LR2, 3 and 4 from anybody though. Any thoughts on those models, bch3?

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    10. I don't have any direct experience with any of those. My understanding from a Land Rover mechanic acquaintance is that the LR2's are junk. People seem to like the LR3 and LR4, other than primarily air suspension issues that you read about on the LR forums. I like my Disco. It's pretty uncomplicated. Discovery 2's with the 4.6 seem to be problematic (slipped cylinder liners, blown head gaskets, etc.) I drove a leased '04 Disco 2 as a company car when it was new and thought it was a good truck. But it wasn't on my dime!

      -bch3

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    11. Anonymous, I know how hard it is to see my flawed beauty abused based on a few photos- http://www.dailyturismo.com/2014/07/1k-seller-sub-1972-bmw-bavaria.html - but my car sold within 6 hours for the asking price. Living with the car and understanding its joys and foibles is one thing, expecting buyers to overlook obvious issues is quite another. I got a good laugh out of the review, yes the photos were awful due to IOS7.2 killing the camera on my iPhone and having to take pics with the selfie cam, but the results were worth it. The important thing is the exposure to more than a chance viewing on eBay, especially for an out of the ordinary car like yours.

      Good luck with your car- if I still lived in the US I'd be all over it.

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    12. So, the LR2 is out. I wonder how the 3 and 4 stack up against the Disco long term. I'll ask my pal Steven Jackson.

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    13. Good thoughts there, Brian. Thanks for those. The best revenge is a quick and easy sell! Shows you what we know (not much)!

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    14. Okay! Here's my take on the info Steven has gathered. Take it or leave it.

      The LR3 seems to be one of the better models offered by the brand. While still highly erratic in quality and reliability, some owners have actually lucked out and experienced very few issues. But it's still automotive Russian roulette.

      Steven hasn't gathered any North American data yet on the LR4/Disco 4 and Evoque, so those are still up in the air but not likely to be tremendously more successful. It's too bad. I'm sure that DTers that own or have owned these vehicles found them to be full of character, as the previous comments have attested too. We need more vehicles with that quality, not less. Hopefully, Jag/LR have figured out how to deal with that with the new models. Time will tell!

      In the meantime, I'll go drive my Chinese station wagon and you drive your Indian SUV. One world indeed.

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  4. Those plastic map panels typically double as kick-panels when you're getting out of the car (accidentally, of course). I'd say that would be the reason for the breakage vs. the over zealotry (over zealousness?) digging for a toll.

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    1. Most likely, RyanM. It will be interesting to see what bch3's reply is. And I hate digging for trolls.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvwEyHeRSvE

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    2. Unless of course, you bought this car, RyanM. Did you?

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    3. The map pocket was like that when I bought the car, but I buy Ryan's theory. Thirty-something-year-old plastic meets knee is the likely culprit.

      -bch3

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    4. I've gone through a stack of those door pockets in my fleet o'heaps (80's Volvo wagons). It's such a problem that ipd (Volvo parts house) sells (sold?) map pocket reinforcers to guard against it. All fell victim to my pushing the door open with my foot as I carried junk in my arms exiting the car.

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    5. I think we're talking about two different areas. The panel I was referring to is not on the door, it's under the dash to the side. Bch3 cleared up what the item was (a vacuum line).

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    6. I know you're referring to the kick panel in the p-side footwell. I didn't reply to your comment about it, I replied to the part in the article that reads: "Looks like someone was just a bit too dedicated in their attempts to retrieve that quarter for the toll both [sic] as they've kind of destroyed the driver's side map pocket."

      I know the above paragraph reads as snarky, but trust me I'm typing this with a smile on my face as I do pretty much everything else on this site.

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    7. Aha! Sorry about that, my bad. No worries!

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  6. What exactly is an M117 5.6-liter Mercedes V8 engine with 170 hp? The M117 5.6-liter in its lower state of tuning in the U.S. was the version used in the 1986-89 560 SL with 227 hp. Where did a 170-hp version come from? Also, the 380 lb-ft torque figure is around 100 lb-ft more than a U.S. 560 model had.

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