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  #1  
Old 05-27-2004, 06:38 PM
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Looking at 1'75 350 SL, need advice

I've come across an interesting '75 350 Euro that appears to be pretty low mileage. I haven't talked to the owner or driven it yet, so I thought I'd try to get some pointers from someone knowledgeable about this car before I looked at it in detail. Its parked on consignment at a local tuneup/detail shop. The guy who runs the shop said the owner had it in storage for the last 2 years. The owner had him shake the car out so he could put it up for sale, and it supposedly runs good and the owner is apparently eager to sell. The car's odometer shows 91K. It is Navy over Navy, 4 speed manual, roll up windows, AC, has the hard top, and looks in what I would call good to excellent shape for a car of that year. It has the original Euro headlights and bumpers. The interior shows no major problems with tears but is slightly sun faded with some age checking on the Tex interior.

Worrisome are five or six large, about the size of a nickle, rust bubbles under the paint, right around the "350 SL" marque on the rear deck lid, and some very slight rust, about the size of a quarter, showing in the lower corners of the rear wheel wells. Otherwise the body looks in good shape, with three bad parking lot dings in the doors being the biggest body problems. I would guess the car has been repainted, probably some years back, and the paint job is ok but not what I would call Mercedes quality. I know enough about the body work on these cars to know I am probably looking at about 2K to restore the body to a Mercedes-like finish.

I've owned 280 series cars my whole life, and know little about the 350s, let alone the early 107s. Is this model prone to rust problems - am I seeing the tip of a bad ice berg here, or would what I observed so far, be typical for a car like this? What would be a ball park valuation on the car? Is there anything special about this particular car that would make this car worth having as a resto project? What specific problems should I look for on this model? If I bought it for the purpose of reselling, does this particular model have a following or would I have to look at for months and months?

Thanks in advance
Kirk
83 280 SL Euro Astral Silver creampuff
84 Porsche 944
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2004, 11:20 PM
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Your 350 sounds like the Euro parts model I have. Mine is a '72 with a manual 4 spd. and crank windows. From what I have heard the 350 is a great engine. The Euro version has about 50 hp more than the 450 US version. If your car has Euro lights and bumpers I would guess that it is a Euro.

If the car is an SL and interior is good and the car runs well it might be worth $4000. I just put MB Tex seat covers, and horse hair pads im my 77 450slc and there was nothing left out of $1,000. This doesn't include things like the door panels, carpets, console, etc. You could easily put $2,500 into the interior. The rust repairs will probably cost $1,000 by the time you find the other places that need attention.

Watch for rust around the bottom right corner of the rear window. There is a hole under the window seal for the rear window defroster wire to go into the trunk. If you have to get this fixed you will probably need a new window seal, $75 please, plus probably $75 to get a glass shop to change it out. Find one that know how to change a MB rear window. The aluminum trim is installed into the window seal AFTER the window in installed in the seal but BEFORE the whole assembly go into the car.

How is the rag top? That could be another sink hole. It might be cheaper to buy a used trunk lid from www.adsitco.com than to repair what you have.

Check www.collectorcartraderonline.com. They have about 70 slcs listed and God knows how many hundreds of sls. You might either find if your guy is saking a reasonable price or you might find a better one.

Sls have a much beter resale value than the slcs but the slc are a safer and much classier car. Also the slc is a lot easier to AC in a city as hot as Houston. Check that; one, the ac works and secondly that it has been changed over to 134. All these things drive the selling price down and your repair costs up.

I only paid $4,000 for a 77 450 slc in very good condition 2 years ago in Houston and within the first year had put another $4,000 into it in things like front end rebuild, timing chain and slides, seat covers, body work, tires, motor and front sub frame bushings, tune up, head liner, etc. Fortunately I do a lot of the work myself but I also use a guy in Corpus that is the head mechanic for Ed Hicks Mercedes. He works on the side at half the going shop rate.

If you get it and do the work yourself I suggest setting up a mechanic's account with your local MB parts shop. As a mechanic you will get a 30% or so discount on parts. I bought about $1,000 worth of parts fro another MB I have and Ed Hicks was over all not quite as cheap as online suppliers but they are local and everything came in one bag. Also, if it isn't right I can return it.

Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for the detailed response. I'll print it out and bring it with me when I test drive this guy!

I get pretty cold AC in my 280 SL with the hardtop on here in Houston, however the original owner, who lived in Scottsdale AZ, had an aftermarket AC installed right after he brought it home from Germany and since they have 110 degree weather all time I bet its a pretty heavy duty unit. I really only drive the car on the sunny weekends anyway, which I think is the secret of keeping the costs down on a sports car- don't drive it much! I've been thinking of selling it to one of my kids and replacing it with one that's worth puttering around on.

It sounds like a fair offer on this car is around 3k.

Kirk
83 280 SL Euro
84 Porsche 944
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:29 PM
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When it comes to rust I multiply what I see by at least 3 times.

I'd have a good body tech do a PPI on the car. I'd pay particular attention to the underside of the interior carpeting and trunk and pedal cluster. As well as suspension mounting stress points.

I'd also have an independent mechanical PPI done as well.
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'85 380 SL (sold)
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Old 05-29-2004, 01:17 AM
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I guess I've been spoiled by being in AZ but I don't believe I'd ever buy a car that had rust bubbles in the paint like that. The probability that it has problems elsewhere are very high. And the chances of a 30 year old gray market odometer being correct are almost zero.
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:23 AM
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I bet you are spoiled - I bought my current 83 280 SL in Scottsdale. I think I might make a habit out of buying AZ cars. The darn thng looks close to new. The rust worries me too. I might have to make another trip to Scottsdale instead.
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Old 05-30-2004, 11:19 PM
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On the other hand, "perfect is the enemy of good."

This car has got to be a blast to drive. A 107 with a V8 and a four-speed is a pretty rare duck in the US. If the mechanics check out and the rust is not in the unibody, how badly can you get hurt in the $3-4K range?
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'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:53 PM
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That's what I am thinking. The guy still hasn't called me back, so I'm going to go bother the owner of the consigment place again tomorrow. If the mechanics check out and the price is cheap, it might be worth it just to drive it for a while. If I can't sell it for what I paid for it, I can always take it apart and sell it piece by piece on on ebay. That looks like a better way of getting rid of an old SL than selling it outright anyway.
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Old 06-01-2004, 12:36 PM
PaulC
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Didn't early 107's have an issue with rear subframe corrosion?
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Old 06-02-2004, 07:27 PM
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What would I check? Does it occur where it can't be seen in a mechanics check?
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  #11  
Old 06-02-2004, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KirkVining
What would I check? Does it occur where it can't be seen in a mechanics check?
Yes, in my experience most mechanics don't really know how to check for rust. They're mechanics. The best resource would be someone who is experienced in the restoration of that model.
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