If it isn't the neutral safety switch, I would venture a guess that the transmission linkage bushings are shot. Is this a floor shift or a column shift? In either case, try lifting the lever (column) or pushing the shifter forward (floor). Then while holding it up/forward try to start.
My bushings are shot too, and unless the shifter is very carefully placed, the parking pawl will not catch, this allows the linkage to move just enough that the safety switch does not allow power to the starter.
73 280 SEL 4.5
[This message has been edited by MikeTangas (edited 07-11-2000).]