FOR SALE


     

1972 MERCEDES BENZ 280 SEL 4.5

 


 
       

 

History

I can not imagine a better genuine classic car for less than $25,000 and I am only asking for $21,900!    Classic cars are generally considered to be those vehicles built before 1973 when  new strict Federal emission and bumper laws ruined car design forever.  A 1972 test in Road and Track magazine declared the Mercedes 280 SEL 4.5 to be the best overall “regular” car you could buy,  even though it costs twice the price of a new Cadillac or Corvette.  The cost was mainly due to the spectacular build quality resulting from the best engineering and materials used, and the fact that the W108 chassis, introduced in 1965, was the last of the hand built Mercedes, each car assembled by a team of 10 mechanics and one quality supervisor.  Mercedes moved to a new factory in 1973 that used faster assembly line methods. Quality suffered after that.  The W108 chassis all looked similar on the outside, but offered a range of 6 cylinder OHC motors ranging from 2500cc to 2800cc and later offered fuel injection instead of carbs. Finally, starting in 1971, Mercedes offered their first regular production V8 motor with the new M117, a 4500cc V8 of advanced design using alloy heads with OHC and the first generation  Bosch electronic fuel injection system. In fact this motor was so advanced that it was used in Mercedes cars until 1992. Also first used with the 4.5 V8 was a new 3-speed automatic transmission that was basically a German copy of the GM transmission.  So, the 1972 Mercedes is the perfect combination of a classic 1960’s design by the famous Paul Braq, and totally modern engine/transmission plus advanced independent suspension for very nimble handling. The brakes are four wheel discs and will slow the car quickly, which is important because this is a fast car designed to run 100 mph+ all day on the Autobahn. Top speed is 130+.  In 1972 Mercedes offered the 280SEL 4.5 as the top W108 4 door sedan model, but also offered a similar mechanically, 280 SE 2-door coupe and a 280 2-door convertible Cabriolet, each also offered the new V8 motor. Today at auction, a 280SE coupe in similar condition to my 280 sedan, would fetch at least $75,000. A 1972 Mercedes 280 SE Cab would get $150-175,000. No, I really don’t understand why removing the rear doors make the price skyrocket for basically similar cars. Mercedes is by far the best auto manufacturer for  support for their older models through their Classic Center, which makes sure that there is almost no part that is not available for even a 42 year old classic.


 
 

This 1972 Mercedes Benz 280 SEL 4.5, with original Tobacco brown paint and original cognac leather interior, is the fourth W108 model Mercedes I have owned. I learned some hard lessons on  previous Mercedes W108 and W109 cars. Number one is to get a car that is totally free from rust. The Mercedes W108 and W109 cars are famous for their stiff over-built chassis due to the “uni-body” construction where the body panels are part of the load bearing chassis. This is what creates the famous bank vault like door “whoong” when you slam shut any of the doors. While Mercedes used the best steel available 40 years ago, their rust prevention consisted of a wax/oil based under coating, which usually dried out and cracked after about 10-15 years. Then it acted to create rust when water got in the cracks and was trapped. These cars rust from the inside out, so by the time you see rust on the outside it is too late.  After inspecting dozens W108 and W109 Mercedes in the past ten years or so, I don’t think there are many, if any, rust free examples in the central or east coast USA.  To make a long story shorter, this totally rust-free car lived most of its always garaged life in Los Angeles until the service manager for Atlanta’s largest Mercedes dealer bought the car for his collection in 2006. Then in a brokered deal, I bought the car from Neil Dubey who owns Star Motors in New York - probably the best shop in the world for the air suspension Mercedes 300SEL 6.3. This was Neil’s personal car for several months and so he made sure every thing worked as it should or his mechanics would fix it right away.

This car comes with complete documentation from the day it was purchased in L.A., in January 1972. The car currently has 125,612 miles and since 116,485 miles in about 2008, the following is just some of the work with receipts that has been completed: new motor mounts and sub frame rubber mounts, new flex disc, new Bilstein shocks, steering coupler, rebuilt and resealed steering box, and power steering pump. Complete brake system is new or rebuilt, calipers, new discs, master cylinders and booster, brake hoses. Replaced tie rods and align. Transmission service, air condition rebuild including new compressor, drier, convert to R134. New heater cables and lube heater valves. Timing chain in motor changed, new trigger points, new rubber hoses in fuel injection, new alternator, new ECU. Star motors re wrapped the wiring for fuel injection. 4 new Michelin tires.  Cosmetic items; new Mercedes windshield, refinish wood trim, replace any cracked or damaged interior pieces, replace all window seals (fuzzys), new door and trunk seals, paint trunk and rear panel. Replaced carpet pieces as necessary. Entire car is stock, as delivered in 1972 including excellent Becker four speaker AM/FM radio. 

After all of the work was completed, I drove the car to a couple of national Mercedes Classic concourse events and cars shows. I thought it might be a fun automotive hobby to replace racing, but even though we won some, I found the events kind of boring.  I have run out of things to do on the car and can not think of anything on the car (except the clock) that does not look and work as it would on a well-maintained year old car. I really am not aware of a nicer original 4.5 in the U.S. It is ready to be driven to any classic car event and show well. I am afraid if I keep it, I may start doing things to it that would horrify Mercedes purists, like installing a modern sound system and maybe some alloy wheels and fat tires. Stop me before I molest this lovely Classic! Please call or e-mail to discuss. $21,900 OBO

     

     

1991 Swift DB5, sports 2000

 

1999 TIMBERWOLF 24 FT BOX

 

     
   
     

1991 Swift DB5, sports 2000.  Just finished total ground-up rebuild, fresh motor, polished tub, Penske shocks by Ove Olsen, improved motor mounts, front rocker supports. Spares package including suspension, 12 gear sets, three sets Techno wheels. This must be the freshest, nicest DB5 in the country. $36,500. Spare motor available.

 

1999 Timberwolf 24 ft box. Very low miles, verifiable under 4k total since new.  Beaver tail, ramps in door, D-rings in vinyl checked floor.  Factory lights, tire rack, work bench, electric brakes. Will fit GT1 Camaro or any formula/sports racer.  Perfect shape except small scrape on side of box and side door has slight damage on bottom of door, easily fixed. Comes with hitch and ball. $4,550 or trade for 20 foot trailer.

     

VanDieman RF93, FC/F2000

 

1997 Tatuus, FC/F2000

 

   

 

 

 

1997 Tatuus, FC/F2000. 2 races on total ground up rebuild and paint, fresh strong iron-head Pinto motor, Ohlin shocks, low drag and high downforce wings, narrow-track and wide-track suspension, 12 gear sets, three sets of Techno wheels with rains. With an aluminum head this car could be the secret weapon for the pro F2000 series.   $21,000   we also have two fresh motors at 6,500 each.


1987 Crossle 65 FF

1987 Crossle 65 FF, This car is currently being raced in the East/West FF Challenge series and is available for rent in series races or testing. We are in the process of modifying the bodywork for improved aero dynamics.  Rental cost is $1200/day with crew, plus track expenses or the car is for sale for $11,800 with a comprehensive spares package. Photos coming soon.


   

VanDieman RF93, FC/F2000, This is a very special car. Chassis has very few races.  This VanDieman was last raced by Mark Dismore Jr. and was totally rebuilt by Indycar winner Mark Dismore Senior for his son.  The car was last raced by the Dismores in 1999 at the SCCA Runoffs at Mid-Ohio where it qualified on the front row and then led until a minor "off" ended the run. This car is very fast, 2.16 at Road America, 1.27 at Mid-Ohio, the Elite motor was a "special favor" to Mark Dismore from follow Indycar driver Steve Knapp at Elite Motors. Chassis is dialed in using Penske 3-way shocks and the spring sets for all of the Cen/Div tracks. So, back to the story, right after Dismores Runoffs run, my buddy Brian buys the car intending to dominate SCCA Nationals the next season.  Brian has Elite freshen up the motor, enters two regionals and then GETS MARRIED. After five years and two kids, the car has sat in Brian's lovely heated garage under a cover as Brian slowly realized his racing days are over. Because this car has not raced in five years, we are planning on  taking this car apart and inspecting everything, but do not expect to replace any major components except seat-belts and battery. Due to other rebuild projects we will not be able to start this car until late September, so we will sell the car as is until then  for $13,800 after the full race prep we will offer this car for $19,500.   Car comes with a spares package including rain tires on Techno wheels 6 gear sets, wings and nose.

 

Crossle 32 FF

Crossle 32 FF. Currently undergoing a complete ground-up rebuild that includes fresh powder coated frame, new aluminum panels, all new fiberglass bodywork, plated suspension, fresh rebuilt motor with new crank and head, rebuilt gearbox and brakes, new fire system.   This will be a "brand new" classic 1977 Crossle FF with a complete spares package, this will be the car to have at next years FF 40th  anniversary race at Road America in July 2009.  Car will be available mid August 2008.   $12,900.  Photos coming soon.

     

 
 


 

NOTE: For any of our racecars for sale, we can easily arrange shipping to UK (Liverpool, Thamesport) or EU (Frankfort, Arhus), $2500 +/- per car.  Australia, New Zealand will be $3500+/- per car. These prices are to the dock and do not count import tax or duties.