1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5

Illustration for article titled 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5

Last time we saw a Mercedes-Benz in this series, 86% of readers polled indicated they'd like to see some 70s Benzes down on Alameda's street (and speaking of The Island City That Forgot To Kill All Its Old Cars, congrats to fellow Alamedan Jimmy Rollins for winning the National League MVP award). I would have gone with this car regardless of poll results, since it represents the end of the W108 era and is in such nice shape. However, as is so often the case with older German cars, I can't figure out the exact year on this one. I'm pretty sure it's a 1971 or 1972 model, but that's as close as I can get (though those bumper guards look like they're off a later car). Mercedes-Benz fanatics aficionados, help me out here.

Illustration for article titled 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5
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What I can tell you is that the '72 280SEL 4.5 had a sticker price of $10,634. That's three grand more than the cost of a '72 Eldorado convertible (and about $53,154 in 2007 dollars). But you got a smooth-running, 230-horse SOHC V8 (not to mention Mercedes-Benz build quality) for that price.


Illustration for article titled 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5


Unlike most of the old Mercedes-Benzes in town, this one still has its hood ornament. That may be because it lives on a quiet side street in the East End, where life is a bit less urban than on the rest of the island.


Illustration for article titled 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5
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Looking at that exhaust, one can't help but wonder how the 4.5 sounds with Cherry Bombs. More important, how can one be made to fit in a Manta?


Illustration for article titled 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5
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Now those are some nice lines- maybe a bit conservative, but this is a Mercedes-Benz. This car's styling stands up well after 35 years, especially when compared to its contemporaries.





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DISCUSSION

scroggzilla
MechaScroggzilla

W108's are awesome cars, and the Merc of my dreams since I first saw one new back in the day. All Mercedes passenger cars built prior to 9/72 were hand assembled, and nearly indestructible. Even snow/rust belt Merc's of this era die very slowly. While I like the 4.5, the V8's thurst and extra weight in the nose messes with the overall driving experience. If you have to run one on a budget, the 6 cylinder versions (250S/SE, 280S/SE or the very rare 300SE) aren't a bad way to go.

If money is no object, go for the W109 with the 6.3 V8. Same body, trick(y) pneumatic suspension, more wood, chrome and leather and a 385 cubic inch, aluminum overhead cam V8 which lazily makes 300hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. Your inner-plutocrat will thank you.

Here's one doing the 1/4 mile:

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And here's the "Red Pig", which won it's class and finished 2nd overall at the 24hrs of Spa in 1971......on street tires.

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