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Old 12-27-2003, 07:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tarzana California
Posts: 111
1981 280SE California smog

I have a 1981 280SE grey market that was imported into the US in Florida (Jacksonville) in 1986. It has passed Arizona smog (according to CarFax) but I now have to smog in it California. I have seen two other 126 body 280SE cars in the area, so I know it has been done.

The car does not have a catalytic converter, and it doesn't look like it ever had one.

Anybody have firsthand experience of doing this?
1982 300SD
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Old 12-27-2003, 08:29 AM
FineOlBenz's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Sonora California USA
Posts: 389
The car likely has a converter on it, it just goes not look the same as the usual ones. My 280 is also a grey car but I have not had to explian that to anyone yet. The car was smoged when I got it and have not needed one since. This county does not require it.
1984 280SEL, 62,000 miles
Euro model in the USA
1983 300D (Totaled out 10/2004)
New Factory Mint Green paint
Palomino int
1982 240D (Steak dinner for two)
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Old 12-27-2003, 02:46 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,745
Tony, I hope you're not trying to register the car for the first time in CA. If so, you're in for a big headache. CA has practically closed the doors on getting CA emissions certification for gray market cars at the individual level. Even cars that have been federalized from day 1. It's even difficult to register federalized gray market Diesels that don't have to meet any particular CA smog requirements.

Your best bet is to contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), not the DMV, so you have a good understanding of the situation. Maybe your car has BAR certification and it's just a matter of getting a smog check station to recognize it.

I know this because I'd like to find a W123 or W124 230E and what I've learned is that if it's not already registered in CA, it's not worth the money to do it these days.

Good luck.

95 S420
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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Old 12-27-2003, 05:23 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tarzana California
Posts: 111
I wonder how the job market in Arizona is?
1982 300SD
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