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Old 08-15-2007, 07:23 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 18
Got 1980 450SL for 18th Bday, what can I improve?

Hey guys,

I was frantically searching the net for some info on this car, and then i thankfully landed here. I hope you guys can help me out =).

I turned 18 on December 17, 2006, and my dad gave me his "old" 1980 450 sl. A month later his 2007 550 arrived, lol.

Anyways, I've had great times with this car already, it's got an awesome color (bright yellow). It's the american version, imported to Austria, where i live. Now, half a year later, I have to go to civil services for 9 months, because thats what all 18 year olds have to do when they finish school. I get paid ~650/month, and I want to let all that go into the car.

Now here's why i'm here: I've consulted the mercedes guy in my town, Graz, and a car pimper, or whatever you wanna call 'em.

The chrome is deteriorating on the tires and on just about all the chrome parts on the car (trunk, grill, 450sl sign :-( ). The covers for the metal pieces of the seat are partially missing. The roof has some holes, it can't be tightened (because it pops out if you tighten it), and if there's a really hard rain, it will soak through. The radio system sucks. If I ride with the roof down, theres a whole lot of wind in the driver's area.

Now, those are some of the issues concerning me. The color itself has a lot of small scratches etc., but I'm not gonna go pay 4000$ to get it repainted. Here's what I want to ask you:

What would you guys suggest? Get a new roof, get the old one repaired? Get a new stereo system? Can the chrome be repaired, or do those parts need to be replaced? Is there a wind stopper for behind the seats? How much do repairs like this cost, I do have some money saved up.

I hope there's at least one person out there who wants to help me, =), thank you in advance,

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Old 08-15-2007, 04:17 PM
karburn's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Posts: 99
First, what a great car to have!! Congratulations. My first suggestion would be to use the SEARCH feature to look for answers to your many questions. It will pay off - this forum is a wealth of information if you have the time to look. There are a lot of care care sites out there, but a particular article from Griot's Garage has a lot of info on how to restore the luster to paint and the subsequent care for it.
Naturally, this handbook specifies their products, which are great, but the techniques and principles of car care are there.

I have heard that there is a wind deflector available for SL's of this vintage (I have a 560SL myself and it DOES get windy!), but from what I've seen they cost about $450 American (334 Euro). A lot of money for a screen.

Just pace yourself and enjoy the car. It will eat up every spare Euro you have if you let it.
Kevin Arburn
Overland Park, KS
1987 560SL
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:01 PM
KCM KCM is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 625
"Got 1980 450SL for 18th Bday, what can I improve?"

Your Income. Did I get the answer right?

Seriously, you will find that parts for an SL are more expensive than a sedan or lower end Mercedes. So you should start fixing what definitely needs fixed first (such as a leaky top) before working on cosmetic items. Pace yourself on the repairs. It doesn't take long to dump a lot of money into one of these cars. I don't know how easy it will be in Austria, but for the USA SL's, most parts are available from the Mercedes dealer, and many private parts sources, if you have the cash.

Here's my opinions:

1. If the roof has a lot of holes, but you just want to keep the rain out, have it patched. If you want to do it right, have it look like new, and have the money, get a new top and have it professionally installed.

2. Stereo system: replace it. New stereos are much much better than the original, and you can get a good one for not much cash. Keep your old one, and don't hack at the original wiring, in case you want to ever restore the car to original condition.

3. The chrome comes in three variants: Chrome plated metal, polished alumimum, and chromed plated plastic (plus some stainless steel). The chrome plated metal can be polished up or rechromed. The polished aluminum is very hard to shine back up (so some seaches on the site for more info), and would be easier to replace. The chrome plated plastic should just be replaced. The stainless can be refurbished with the right knowledge. But of course any replacement add cost.

4. Wind stoppers: I know they exist and have seen them here in the US, but that's about all I know. They mount behind the seats with no permanent modifications from what I hear.

My $0.02.

Have fun with your new toy.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:54 PM
ScottinSoCal's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 252
Originally Posted by KCM View Post
It doesn't take long to dump a lot of money into one of these cars.
Yeah, I've had mine 8 months and so far I've averaged the other side of $1000 per month. But it's almost done, the only thing left is paint. That's why I just bought another 450SL and have all the new suspension rubber in the garage.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 158
You're going to have to make a decision on what is important and not important to you. The most important thing is to keep water out of the car because water and metal = rust. From the sounds of it the top you have on it finished and that would be my first job - replace the roof. The rest of the issues you mention are cosmetic.
New radio - maybe but don't spend too much on it. You won't get great sound in a convertible and its prone to theft as its pretty easy to break into a convertible. So why tempt somebody to cutting your new roof with an expensive radio.
Windblockers are available and are under $250 or so in Europe. I have a price of 137 Euros stuck in my head but I could be wrong. Go to the german Ebay and you will find them there. They are well worth having. I made one for my car for about $60 and it was the best $60 I spent.
It's a nice present you got there and, if kept in nice shape, it will likely be worth a few bucks in Europe as most of the W107 got shipped the U.S. My understanding there is now a reverse grey market for these cars where Eurpoeans are buying nice examples of these cars and shipping them back to Europe.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:56 AM
Dee8go's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 7,190
Yeah, make it water-tight first. Get all the mechanical stuff up to snuff, then work on the cosmetics. The temptation is to do what shows first, but what good is it if the roof leaks and it doesn't run?

Congratulations on the "new" car.
" The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do."- Warren Buffett

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1998 Lincoln Continental - Sold
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