Thursday, June 11, 2015

5k: Cruise Missile: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL 4.5 W108

The Paul Bracq styled W108 generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class continues to be one of the better ways to get into a vintage sedan for a semi-daily driver.  The performance is acceptable, ride is comfortable, build quality is exemplary, but most importantly -- drive one and you'll look like a boss.  Find this 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL 4.5 W108 offered for $5,900 in Venice, CA via craigslist.

The seller's listing isn't very detailed, but the asking price is very reasonable, if not downright suspicious.  If the car really has zero rust and has been serviced by a trusted mechanic, then I suppose you could pick this up, drive it for a year and easily sell for the same amount. A guy named Tom maintains a website about the W108/109 that has a pretty decent buyer's guide -- see it here.

This W108  is powered by a 4.5 liter V8 that puts out 160 hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque but can cost quite a few Deutschmark to fix when something goes wrong...and something will always go wrong with a 40+ year old luxury car.  The W108 was built to a high level of engineering standards and is a fine piece of machinery that drives like a car 20 years younger...but...some thingamajig will break and cost you thousands if you go to a Benz repair shop. The smart DIY mechanic will just dive in and fix things with his own tools.

See another way to cruise in classic sedan without selling or damaging your kidneys?


  1. As DT says, if this is as claimed, it would be a nice addition to one's garage. The price is probably less than the sales tax on a new Benz, and I would not be surprised if this 40 year old car was nearly as reliable. By the way, that says more about my opinion of modern MBs than anything else.

    Can anyone with experience tell me if the V8 engines more trouble-prone than the big sixes that also are common in this body style?

  2. Price drop! Now $4800.

    This would be a nice driver, if it is as described.

    1. And should that V8 ever need to come out, you can pick up one of these and play 'what if'?

    2. Replica engine blocks?!? Who even knew that was a thing? Thanks Mrkwong, you have expanded my universe.

    3. I love the economics of it, it's $1.50 of expanded foam but of course you've got to amortize the mold production cost over a production run of how many units?

      At $450 you can almost just go buy a used engine from LKQ, but then it's a little bit harder to move around...

    4. Wow, $450 for a foam mock up engine? That's an ambitious price tag.

  3. The hp and torque numbers look awfully low for a 4.5.V8. Perhaps those are 6 cyl numbers? .


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