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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 09:07 PM
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14 digit VIN for 1973 450se

Friends,

I'm considering purchasing a 1973 MB 450SE (W116 body), which I believe to be a EURO model, given the "small bumpers" & fabric/leather upholstery . - I would like to do a VIN check & hopefully a vehicle history.
The problem is that both the 450's VIN data plate & the Texas title show a 14-digit number: 11603212002362.

EVERY VIN decoder keeps saying that ALL VINs are 17 digits.

Is there a VIN decoder AND a "vehicle history site" for MB cars of the early 1970s that WORKS??

The 450SE has only 118,000 actual miles.
(The S-class sedan has been stored in a closed/locked building for most of the last 2 decades.)



yours, tex


Last edited by satx78247; 05-17-2019 at 09:10 PM. Reason: clarity/typos
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2019, 09:29 PM
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116.032-12-002362

116.032 (W116 450SE)
12 (Left hand drive, automatic transmission)
002362 (Serial number)
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  #3  
Old 05-17-2019, 09:51 PM
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The "park bench" bumpers (U.S.D.O.T. 5 mph) didn't come out on U.S. models until the 1974 model year. If equipped, what type of A/C control unit does it have? The A.C.C. (push buttons with a wheel) or the European manual dials?

The only difference between the versions MIGHT be a slight increase in horsepower and a read of the engine serial number would reveal that.
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  #4  
Old 05-17-2019, 10:03 PM
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If a "VIN check" won't run it's because... well, there was no such thing as a VIN as mandated by the fed until 1981. Your 1974 potential purchase has no VIN, just the serial number you provided.

A PPI would be something to consider. It can tell you if there were any accidents that required body work or respray, any issues from rust, etc. If it's been sitting, it won't be a running/driving car until every rubber piece has been replaced. And I mean every rubber piece. My parents bought a 1972 in 1989, that had sat since about 76. It needed belts and hoses and fluids, obvious stuff, but things that quickly went bad once we started driving... door seals that were hard from sitting cracked once the doors were used regularly, the window seals went bad within 3-5 years of sun exposure, the master cylinder went bad in the first year, brake hoses, shocks, rear axle boots, engine mounts... I could go on but unless you're buying a car that all of this was replaced on, it is a project car with a clean body (presumably - from sitting) and maybe a solid engine.

Oh, and before you actually start driving it on a regular basis, once you do the first oil change, make sure to put in an oil conditioner to try to help swell the old seals, because I guarantee your front and rear mains, oil pan gaskets, etc. are going to leak like sieves, your transmission will do the same, and so will your PS system. Sitting is the worst thing you can do to a car.
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  #5  
Old 05-17-2019, 10:14 PM
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search here for D-jet and d-jetronic for an idea of what you are up against for the fuel injection system. It will need to be gone over from stem to stern. Everything else is easy.

If you are really handy, and if it needs it, you can chuck that for something like megasquirt.

Getting this going won't be a cheap, casual affair, but it will be a memorable and exciting one.

-CTH
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  #6  
Old 05-17-2019, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satx78247 View Post
The 450SE has only 118,000 actual miles.
(The S-class sedan has been stored in a closed/locked building for most of the last 2 decades.)
Don't bother with a Car fax or other for this or any other car for that matter. Noting beats an in person inspection by a good mechanic.

Be aware that mileage is irrelevant on a car this old / parked for 20 years, many systems will need rebuilt.
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2019, 02:25 AM
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Option codes 491 and 494 are US and California versions. That and the license plate holes are the easiest ways Iíve determined to tell if something is a euro.

Add WDB to the front of the VIN to make it 17 digits. But it wonít have a vin check being prior to 1981 anyway.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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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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  #8  
Old 05-20-2019, 02:12 PM
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Arrow

Ask seler to send photo of the plates located under the hood.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2019, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satx78247 View Post
Friends,

I'm considering purchasing a 1973 MB 450SE (W116 body), which I believe to be a EURO model, given the "small bumpers" & fabric/leather upholstery . - I would like to do a VIN check & hopefully a vehicle history.
The problem is that both the 450's VIN data plate & the Texas title show a 14-digit number: 11603212002362.

EVERY VIN decoder keeps saying that ALL VINs are 17 digits.

Is there a VIN decoder AND a "vehicle history site" for MB cars of the early 1970s that WORKS??

The 450SE has only 118,000 actual miles.
(The S-class sedan has been stored in a closed/locked building for most of the last 2 decades.)



yours, tex

The 14 digit VINs were converted to 17 digit VINs in 1983 by adding an international three-letter code to certain VINs.


In the case of Mercedes, it was the code WDB-- for West Germany and Daimler-Benz.


You have to be old to remember this, lol.
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2019, 02:36 PM
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Online VIN decoders won't work with the "WDB" in front as it's not a valid VIN. It's just making it 17 digits. It was done in some states with early computers that only took a 17 character vehicle serial / VIN, but still isn't a VIN
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  #11  
Old 05-21-2019, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomguy View Post
Online VIN decoders won't work with the "WDB" in front as it's not a valid VIN. It's just making it 17 digits. It was done in some states with early computers that only took a 17 character vehicle serial / VIN, but still isn't a VIN


I think you will find that they donít decode any of the older VINs.
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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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  #12  
Old 05-25-2019, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonzi View Post
Option codes 491 and 494 are US and California versions. That and the license plate holes are the easiest ways Iíve determined to tell if something is a euro.

Add WDB to the front of the VIN to make it 17 digits. But it wonít have a vin check being prior to 1981 anyway.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
If you are really in doubt call the Mercedes Classic Center. They can tell you if is an US delivery car.

But looking at the options tag is the fastest way. The numbers will have no designation beside them, they will just be a string of numbers on a plate. But if you do a search for the option codes the numbers will reveal everything about the car.

By the way... Some early cars, like this one, had limited-slip differentials. If this car has one it will be listed on the option codes tag. This alone makes it worth the trouble to learn about this tag and how to decipher the numbers.
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  #13  
Old 05-25-2019, 11:38 PM
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A quick and dirty method is to look at the seats. Leather or vinyl? It's almost always a US car.

Cloth? Almost always a Euro car.

Power windows in front and crank windows in the rear doors? Almost always a Euro car.

The only way to know for sure is to check the options tag.
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  #14  
Old 05-27-2019, 02:28 PM
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By the way... Some early cars, like this one, had limited-slip differentials. If this car has one it will be listed on the option codes tag. This alone makes it worth the trouble to learn about this tag and how to decipher the numbers.[/QUOTE]


If LSD there will be a tag on the diff stating such.
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  #15  
Old 05-28-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumb View Post
By the way... Some early cars, like this one, had limited-slip differentials. If this car has one it will be listed on the option codes tag. This alone makes it worth the trouble to learn about this tag and how to decipher the numbers.

If LSD there will be a tag on the diff stating such.[/QUOTE]

Actually it will say "Use Special Oil" in German. If it is still there.

It was common for non-dealer mechanics to remove the rear plate to check the condition of the clutches in the differential. This is easy to do.

It was also common for them to blow off replacing the metal tag when they did.

I always check for the rotation of the wheels when I am looking at one of these. It is the only way to know for sure without pulling off the cover plate and checking the internals.

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