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Old 06-28-2004, 04:39 PM
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FS 79' 280CE- Nice car

I'll probably wait until after the weekend of the 4th to run this car on E-bay, but thought I'd give the forum regulars a shot first. I hope the photo attachment works. Regardless, have more photos I can e-mail you. I have over $4000 in repairs into the car in the last year, but if someone offered me $3500, I'd say yes. Here's the draft copy of the description I wrote for e-bay (my contact info is at the bottom):

1979 Mercedes 280CE

This lifelong Southern car was imported from 78-81 and besides the uncommon 2dr. hardtop coupe, it has the gasoline 280 dual overhead cam, mechanical fuel injection 6cyl. engine; making the car especially rare in the 123 body style as most coupes for the US market were diesels. With nearly twice the horsepower as the non-turbo diesels, this car is nice and quick and still gets 20+ MPG at highway speeds. I have tried to describe it honestly below. This is a great looking and running daily driver that still turns heads. But understand, it is not ďmintĒ, and Iíll do my best to provide a complete description.

MECHANICALS: There is 148,000 miles showing on the odometer that are not original as I replaced the entire instrument cluster. Best guess is around 170,000, with recent adjustment to the valves, timing chain check and new cover gasket. Normal oil consumption on a 280 is about a quart in 1000-1500 miles, yet this one does better than that. Other than a slight puff at startup, it appears to burn no oil, but it does drip a tiny bit I suppose due to dried out old gaskets.

Iíd intended to fix up the car at my leisure as a hobby/toy, but due to a teenager borrowing my Buick and a guardrail, I had to take it out of Winter storage and drive it. That meant fixing stuff right now to make it a dependable daily driver. Arguably, there has been more recent work on the car than its value, but cost was kept down by careful parts shopping (thanks e-bay) and only using professional labor for more complex jobs, and a lot of weekends in the garage when I could have been doing something else. Starting at the front and working back, here is a list of new/repair/replacement in the last few thousand miles, which if you add it all up cost more than I am asking for the car:

1. The entire front suspension is new. Every part except the lower ball joints have been replaced. This includes new upper control arms and that knuckle joint and BRAND NEW Bilstein Comfort shocks. She glides down the road now just like a Benz should.
2. New radiator
3. New brakes all around AND a rebuilt master cylinder
4. Replaced transmission and vacuum modulator. You get the old tranny too.
5. New shifter gearbox
6. Replacement crack free dashboard (wrong color brown instead of blue, looks ok, but a can of the correct SEM paint comes along if you feel adventurous)
7. New instrument cluster. Old one had a stuck odometer thus the mileage guess but you get it too for parts.
8. A/C has been converted to R134, but the compressor clutch isnít kicking in. Wire problem? 6/30 Update. With a friend's help, we ran a hot wire directly from the battery to the compressor last night and the A/C came on. Ergo the problem is either the wiring to the dash switch or the toggle switch itself. Repair will be minimal effort.
9. Rear motor mounts replaced and driveshaft bushing checked
10. Rear 2/3 of the exhaust system is new
11. Differential/rear axle
12. Two tires are new, 2 about 70%.

Whatís left? Other than the A/C; the sunroof needs a new cable and worm gear drive (motor works fine) I have a new cable, but its for a sedan and will need shortening, OR I know where there is a parts car for the right cable and gear drive.

After the alignment needed with the new suspension, the steering wheel is one notch from squared up and I don't have a big enough socket wrench to loosen the nut and re-set it. On left turns, you have to come back a tiny bit past straight for the dir. sig. to turn itself off.

The hold open mechanism in the driverís door doesnít work. No big deal, as the replacement part is only $36.00 just a pain to install.

The vacuum locks are iffy, and lockup needs to be done with the key.

The car always starts right up in the AM and did so even at sub zero temps. It will also start instantly when warm. But if it sits for an hour or two, and you touch the gas pedal, it floods easily (certainly a dripping injector or two). Not bad enough to bother to fix, but new injectors would cure it for another 25 years.

THE BODY: The car had never seen ice or snow until this Winter. I bought it in Florida, driving it home to Minnesota without incident. It is rust free. Nearly all the original undercoating remains intact. Even the various bolts underneath remain unfrozen. However, the car has suffered sun damage and at some point has been repainted to the original metallic silver. The previous owner, a Mercedes hobbiest, told me it came to him with a poor repair where someone had left the gas cap door open and hit an obstruction when backing up. Accordingly, the re-painted (again) right quarter panel is slightly off color and noticeable in certain light. There are a few minor imperfections in the finish and a couple of very minor dents that were painted over but overall only one or two minor post-paint door dingles. All chrome is bright and mark free, but the aluminum trim has typically aged to dull. All in all the body is in pretty nice condition for a 25 year old car that isnít restored and in someoneís collection.

INTERIOR: Not too bad, but not perfect. The blue MB Tex has some loose stitching in a spot or two, but there are are no open seams rips or tears. Seat springs are ok and passengers remark that the seats are comfortably soft. The sun cracked dash has been replaced with a crack free one, and the replacement is dark brown but comes with a blue carpet fitted dash cover (I colored the lower dash and glove box cover, but lost my nerve over masking off the innards to spray the upper dash. A partial can on SEM vinyl coating in the right color comes with the car if you feel adventurous). All gauges and power windows work, but the small rear windows are sluggish from lack of use. The car has had perhaps two stereos installed and then removed, and when I got it, an original Becker Europa was back in place, but the rear speakers, console fader wheel and cig. lighter were not re-hooked up. Nor could I detect juice to the Hirshfield power antenna so I replaced it with a black rubber whip one. Headliner is intact with only one small repair. Wood trim is about 70%. Fancy burl walnut, but the shades do not match on all pieces and there is some lesser than average peeling of the polyurethane coating on the console and switch controls. Upholstery over the door post humps into which the seat belts retract, the left top of the driverís seat and the top of the rear seats were sun damaged. New upholstery was patched in where needed, sealed with vinyl coating and SEM colored to the correct blue. The rear seat tops now look more like aged leather than MB Tex.

WHATS IT NEED? Nothing to be a good looking dependable daily driver. To make the car showroom mint will require a professional for the interior and a higher quality re-paint if that is the goal. A new radio would be nice but the Becker works. The previous owner who installed the replacement dash, forgot to reconnect the glove box switch so the light stays on when the car is running (have the switch) so I took out the bulb. As mentioned, the vacuum locks, A/C and sunroof, but thatís about it.

EXTRAS? I kind of like the original look of the MB hub caps, but the deep dish aluminum wheels were an extra cost option in 79í and a set of four ďbundt cakeĒ Mercedes wheels also come with the car including the correct lug nuts. There are a number of misc. parts, switches, extra upholstery, carpeting etc. and a pint of the silver paint used on the quarter panel. There is a Mercedes shop manual on CD plus a Chiltonís Manual, the old tranny (easily repaired, one of the pistons lost itís flange, causing band slippage)

E-mail or call me with any questions. (Rick 763-300-7457) Buyer arranges shipping, or Iíll pick you up at the Minneapolis airport. One doesnít have to read many e-bay car ads to understand some bid with no real intention of coming through. Please donít. Iím flexible on deposit terms to hold the car and open to any reasonable suggestion to make this a positive experience for both of us. Thanks.

Attached Thumbnails
FS 79' 280CE- Nice car-280.jpg  

Last edited by yorktown5; 06-30-2004 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:09 PM
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I've run ads for the car locally for 2 months now at $4200 with only one looker who was close but chose another car. A few weeks ago I lowered the asking price to $3500 OBO and haven't gotten a single call. As you see from my meticulous description (I probably went overboard) it is a decent car, well worth passing to someone who will properly enjoy it. For the last 60 days its been driven sparingly, and after weeks of using a Nissan daily driver, I hesitate because the Benz is so much nicer a cruiser that when I DO drive it I try and talk myself into keeping it. But the $100 in monthly gas savings with that 40mpg econobox keeps me from switching back. I have more photos, and will now entertain ANY reasonable offer. Best to contact me by cell phone at 763-300-7457 Thanks, Rick

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