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Old 08-21-2015, 09:58 AM
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1973 280se 4.5 seller's remorse w108

All my friends say "take the money and run", but it sold on ebay for $2500 less $150 in ebay fees and probably another $50 in wasted title paperwork. So I'm letting go of what I thought was a good restoration candidate. I really fell in love with the w108, but have two 107s, one a custom 5.0 convertible SLC purchased for its ability to carry the family of five for ice creme and milkshakes. I recently got the brilliant idea that I should sell my w108 and SLC convertible and aim to replace them both with a w111 convertible. I've seen two not too far from the $50,000 ballpark, and thought maybe I wouldn't have to shell out too much on top of the cash I might get from selling the 107.026 convertible and the w108. So a few days ago, I was renovating my kitchen and the w108 was in my way in the driveway. Instead of logically just moving it out of my way and getting on with my project, I had my first inclination ever to even consider selling it. I figured it might be worth $3000. So I listed it on ebay for $3250 OBO (but apparently I didn't select the Best offer option). Within about 1-2 hours of listing, I got a message from someone in California, asking if I would sell for $2400. I responded saying I can't include any of my spare parts at that price, but he is not too far from my bottom line and we could probably work something out. Later that night we talk on the phone and I state that $2400 in my pocket is my lowest number, and that means $2550 if we are going through ebay. This was all after the buyer tried to say he didn't realize it had the smoking issue and tried to start over at $2000. He worked his way up to $2400 in $50-100 increments, clearly a real haggler. We exited the phone call with a "no deal" and I discouraged him from spending probably 50% of the purchase price on shipping to CA from the east coast. He kept saying shipping is no problem. I explained that the heads need rebuilding due to the oil smoke, and he asked me to go buy some STP "stop smoke" and run the car for 20 minutes. I told him fresh thick oil makes more sense than that. He asked me to do touch up paint where the paint has chipped because he is buying this as a project/gift for his son. I told him I'm not going to mask a problem. It needs to be properly sanded down. He said ok, but again asked me to do the stop smoke. We got off the phone with a "no deal". He texted me again and finally offered $2500, and I said, "fine, click best offer in ebay and I will accept." A few seconds later, he clicked "buy it now", and provided a $200 deposit.

This was a total of only about 4-5 hours from when I listed the car, and maybe 8 hours from the time I decided, maybe I will try and sell this car. Many people say I just got lucky and should be thrilled. Maybe they are right, but...

I've been searching recently to find cars that are comparable, and despite this car having some issues, it has some key features that I would want in a model to restore:

Positives for me:

- nearly no rot at all. There is surface rust around the sunroof and in the trunk, but the only rot at all is in the trunk spare tire well and the opposite side where the flat sheet metal has developed about 4 holes in total, no larger than 1-2" in diameter. This looks like an easy welding fix for a notice like me. All the other stuff is wire brush and POR-15. Is this rare for a 108 in the <$3000 price range?

- power windows: I see this as a luxury car, and manual windows in a roadster would be fine as you can reach them all from the drivers seat, but I just don't feel the 2015 "luxury" with manual windows.

- sunroof: this isn't a must, but a huge plus.


Now, as far as the problems this car has, I had plans for how to fix them all, spending far more time planning than my quick "sell-on-whim".

PROBLEMS WITH THE CAR:

- when I bought it, it needed lots of trans fluid, but simply topping up the trans fluid, it's been fine for several months now with my occasional driving. Not an issue anymore.

- SMOKING: This is the big one. This car smokes SO BADLY UPON ACCELERATION that I roll through stop signs when I'm driving it. It always smokes mildly, and it is definitely oil. I understand it could be valve stem seals, guides could be bad, bad head gasket or stuck rings, but compression seemed ok with the exception of cylinder 8 that wouldn't too 135 psi without some oil at which point I got 150 psi out of it, when all other cylinders hit 150-160 psi on first go round. Cylinder 4 hit 170 psi but the plug looks oily. So I wonder if that's my smoking cylinder and it is always getting higher pressure with the oil sealing the rings. Anyway, I have a spare set of 4.5 d-jet heads from a 1972 350sl 4.5 that I parted out. I also just agreed to buy a 1973 350sl 4-speed manual parts car, with the plans of taking the higher compression heads and putting them in this 4.5 engine, but I would keep a pair of 4.5 heads with the car in case any future owner wants to go back to stock. That's all if the lower end doesn't need a rebuild... At that point I don't know what I would do.

- ripped dark brown seats and cracked door caps: The seats are saggy needing not only recovering, but also new padding. So I bought a 1969 280s parts car and got some pretty nice seats and door caps out of it. The prospective buyer doesn't want to pay a penny for these. I now suspect he owns an auto shipping company and is also a car flipper (aka dealer). So anyway, I had a plan, and now that it looks like I'm selling the w108, now I've not only got the seats, but also a trunk full of w108 parts from the 1969 280s that I will need to box up too. The w108 is a nice mobile storage container for all my w108 spare parts. I lose that with the sale of this car, really creating more work for myself.

- bad paint job: there is paint chipping off all over the place, especially at the panel edges and weather stripping. I would need to use a razor blade to cut the paint off all the rubber around the windows. Then I would have a lot of sanding where there's paint chipping, then prep for at least the touch up.

General good parts of the car:
- d-jet runs well
- all power windows and sunroof work (but passenger front window not attached to the running motor and the sunroof cable needs greasing).
- do dents in any panels, and all seem original except the driver/left front fender
- all the chrome is good except the top left/driver upper rear bumper piece.
- all locks are on the original key except the trunk which I have cylinder from the parts car.
- the brakes look like they were recently done with a new vacuum line and reservoir, and apparently a lot more new stuff.
- originally a Hollywood California car with some documentation.

Anyway, the $2300 money order is on the way, and as much of a jerk-move it would be, I can still refund the buyer and maybe just lose my $150 ebay fees. I couldn't get the buyer to back out nomatter how many flaws I showed him.

There's a nice rust free 1969 280se for $1000 that needs a new lower end. Maybe I could buy that and drop the 3.5 I'm buying into it, maybe even with a manual trans. However, the manual windows and no sunroof are a bummer. However, the paint and interior are REALLY nice. There's a slightly rusty and damaged 1973 280sel 4.5 w sunroof for sale for $1300 too, but it sounds like a basket case with no good interior wood, and body damage to the driver door and fender. I also see a 300sel 4.5 in Arizona on ebay for relatively cheap, but it is also a big project, but has a sunroof and no rust.

Anyway, I feel like maybe I had a good one, and because I didn't even think about just pulling the car out of my driveway for a few hours to do my house work, I undersold my car too quickly. Did I? Is a rust free sunroof w108 hard to come by?

Here is the ebay listing:
http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=252055203866

I really appreciate any feedback or advice on whether I should be a jerk and refund the buyer before he sends a truck to come get it and ship it back to California.
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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2015, 10:31 AM
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I would be wary of the money order. Why didn't he use paypal? It could be fake and by the time the bank figures it out, you will be left with no money, no car.
There should be many 108's available in CA. Not sure why someone would go out to the east coast for one unless it was an amazing deal. Yours looks nice but it needs things.
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2015, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
I would be wary of the money order. Why didn't he use paypal? It could be fake and by the time the bank figures it out, you will be left with no money, no car.
There should be many 108's available in CA. Not sure why someone would go out to the east coast for one unless it was an amazing deal. Yours looks nice but it needs things.
The easy coast - west coast thing was the very first thing I said to the guy. Hell, two rust free CA / AZ examples came along since my listing. It seems very strange, but maybe this shipper has a west-to-east delivery and wants something to make the return trip. It appears an auto shipper is at the same address as the address on the cashiers check or money order or whatever it is.

As for the "cashiers check", originally the buyer wanted to send me a wire, and I said no wire. I'm not providing my checking/routing info. I know it is on every check I write, but it don't normally write checks to people I don't know, or businesses that I don't deal with repeatedly. So he offered to send a "cashiers check". I can deposit it into one of my more empty accounts and ask my bank.

I am definitely on the more cautious side regarding scams.

As far as PayPal, I never offered. He never offered. I got $200 deposited via ebay PayPal. So I know he has an account. I actually think this might be simpler and safer. It gives me more time to mull this whole thing over anyway. So I've got no complaints about the payment method. I realize I may need to refund the buyer for his cashiers check fee if I back out though.
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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:00 PM
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Yeah, I don't know what to say about your dilemma. I don't like doing something unless I'm absolutely sure. I've had too many "lessons" the other way.
Guy gets his money back, no harm no foul. Don't know what shipping reservations he might get stuck with. . .

Do you love the 108? Is it a time constraint thing if you get the 111? If you're looking at a 50 thousand dollar car, the 2500 from the 108 isn't going to do much towards that.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2015, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Yeah, I don't know what to say about your dilemma. I don't like doing something unless I'm absolutely sure. I've had too many "lessons" the other way.
Guy gets his money back, no harm no foul. Don't know what shipping reservations he might get stuck with. . .

Do you love the 108? Is it a time constraint thing if you get the 111? If you're looking at a 50 thousand dollar car, the 2500 from the 108 isn't going to do much towards that.
Right. $2300 in my pocket actually. If I take my time and really fix up the w108, I see people asking much much more for nice examples. Mine has a cracked dash, but I guess all the other things I can make nice pretty easily. I don't know if I could use the 1969 dash pad top as one to restore and ultimately install in the 1973. With all that, I think I could have a pretty nice w108. The engine work comes first though. 3.5 heads on there get
Me a little excited too. It helps me take more advantage of this 350sl 4-speed I am buying too. Mostly I wanted the bell housing from that car for hopes and plans of maybe converting my 450slc 5.0 to a manual trans getrag 265 car. Lots of projects, and I'm only 40, so hopefully I've got plenty of time to upgrade both of those cars to a single w111 convertible. I don't know if the w111 convertibles are "pulling away" in prices, or if the custom 107.026 and a regular w108 will be closing the gap. I'm guessing the w111 may be "pulling away", and maybe it's time to fetch one before they all exceed $100k.
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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:06 AM
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My only advice: don't buy cars that need a lot of work, unless you REALLY enjoy working on them. It's a lot easier to buy something nice and enjoy it. It's still an old car and will still need plenty of repairs, but won't be a huge project with a two page list of things that need to be done. Both of my classics are in very nice shape, but I constanltly have a list of 5-6 things that I need to do on each, so they still need work.
Selling your w108 will give you more time to work on your other cars and if you want one bad enough you can buy a better in the future.
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:26 PM
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I wish I had "seller's remorse" as often as I had "buyer's remorse"!

I agree with you vandor, 100% Of course, buying a great car doesn't mean you won't end up with a two page list anyway. There's always something you think could/should be improved. Part of driving an older car.
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Old 08-22-2015, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by vandor View Post
My only advice: don't buy cars that need a lot of work, unless you REALLY enjoy working on them. It's a lot easier to buy something nice and enjoy it. It's still an old car and will still need plenty of repairs.
I agree. Your w108 needs some things but it sounds like you've accepted the issues. If you buy another car, you'll still have issues to fix but you won't know what they are. You need to decide if you really want a w111 cab while you can. I have one, they're no longer cheap to acquire.

You could, however, call your buyer, say changed my mind, sorry and offer him an additional $300-$500 back through PayPal as the price of the lesson you've learned. He won't be happy if you pull the plug on him.

Your car looks good - not perfect but certainly fixable. I think he bought quickly because it's a good price, the car looks good, and he's probably been looking for awhile. Don't send him the car until you have cash in the bank. I wouldn't trust a money order either.

Time to decide...
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:32 PM
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As for the "cashiers check", originally the buyer wanted to send me a wire, and I said no wire. I'm not providing my checking/routing info. I know it is on every check I write, but it don't normally write checks to people I don't know, or businesses that I don't deal with repeatedly. So he offered to send a "cashiers check". I can deposit it into one of my more empty accounts and ask my bank.

I am definitely on the more cautious side regarding scams.
I currently have a boat for sale, and it seems 4 out of 5 inquiries are from scam artists. Most want to pay me full asking price without seeing the boat!

Apparently even a Cashiers Check (Certified Cheque in Canada) can be a forgery. The banks sometimes don't find that out until the car or boat has gone. I will only deal with people who personally come and see my boat and who I know something about.

But I know you sold one car to an offshore buyer. Presumably that went well?
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:16 AM
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Thanks guys. I actually LOVE projects and wrenching. My wife has accepted this one, and is to upset about it being in the driveway or around. Yes, I've kind of fallen in love with the w108. I either want BOTH a w108 and my SLC convertible, or a w111 cabriolet. I like w111 coupes but honestly think I would prefer a sedan over a coupe for usability and value. Since it seems there really aren't any w111 cabriolet under $50+, I should accept that that ain't happening. There was a nicely done conversion on ebay a few days ago and it had several things going against it in the buying category (being shipped from UK back to the US, buyer needs to pay import taxes, and after all a conversion), but it was really nice and asking $29,000. It seems to have sold in less than 24 hours. I think in order to buy it, you may need to hire someone in the UK to make sure the car is real too, not a scam.
http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=181838680755

I went after this one over the weekend, as it seems to be an upgrade over mine, and I have seats I could install in it as a temporary solution. The winning bidder and I were the only bidders over $2375. I talked to someone who knows these and he felt that getting the car home for under $4000 was a sure win. It my max bid, and with the first shipping quote I got, I would have been into it for over $4500 plus the value of my interior. I stopped bidding at the max bid. http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=331631218616

Here's another closer comp. It's not an SE like mine, but a 280sel, looking probably a little better than mine. I might have gone after it if I wouldn't have shipping on top: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=321830963194

So I am getting to see that there are a hell of a lot of w108/109 out there, and maybe I can get my hands on a nicer one, but I shouldn't expect it to be cheap. I didn't realize how great of a deal I got on this purchase.

Cashiers check has been deposited in my smallest dollar amount account, and it did not clear on the first day of business. The check was overnighted, but I wasn't home to receive it.

If this one leaves my driveway, I'm afraid I will never get another rust free stacked headlight car.

I do love working on the cars, Absolutely LOVE it.
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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:09 PM
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You'll find a good one. They are out there, they just aren't out there when you're looking for one! I like the attitude though - "I'll find a better one." Do that.

And please, skip the cabrio conversion nightmare cars. They're not worth it.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by POS View Post
You'll find a good one. They are out there, they just aren't out there when you're looking for one! I like the attitude though - "I'll find a better one." Do that.

And please, skip the cabrio conversion nightmare cars. They're not worth it.
I think the "I'll find a better one" applies to finding a w111 cabriolet to replace my SLC convertible and w108. Since I would be replacing a custom convertible SLC, I'm not sure it's fair to dismiss a coupe-to-cabrio conversion, especially if it is nice like the $29k one I listed above. Did you see the two ~$25k asking price coupes with NO TOP? That's ridiculous. You can't just cut the roof off a coupe and think it increases it's value.

If you decide to sell your cabriolet, please let me know!!!
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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:02 AM
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After being ripped off by two counterfeit "cashiers checks" the only form of payment I will accept is a bank wire transfer. My bank is able to confirm that the money is in my account before I release the car to the buyer. A routing number with your account number will not allow anyone to transfer money from your account except those authorized to do so in writing by your bank signature card. I even hesitate to accept cash as there are a lot of counterfeit bills floating around. I will only accept cash when standing in front of my bank teller who verifies that the bills are genuine. .
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:35 PM
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If you decide to sell your cabriolet, please let me know!!!
I've owned a lot of cars over the years, but the 250se cab is forever; it's a family vehicle. How about finding a Pagoda? They're getting expensive quickly, but you can still find doable projects out there.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:45 PM
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After being ripped off by two counterfeit "cashiers checks" the only form of payment I will accept is a bank wire transfer. My bank is able to confirm that the money is in my account before I release the car to the buyer. A routing number with your account number will not allow anyone to transfer money from your account except those authorized to do so in writing by your bank signature card. I even hesitate to accept cash as there are a lot of counterfeit bills floating around. I will only accept cash when standing in front of my bank teller who verifies that the bills are genuine. .
It's sad, but unless you know the person you are dealing with, those are the sort of things we must do.
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