It's not every day you come across a professionally converted W123 convertible, but for today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe, we've got a Brickyard Benz you might just Indiana jones over.
Yesterday's ode to ostentation, the '86 Roller Camargue seemed to offend both visually and financially, with many of you voicing the opinion that the massive Roller was proof that even Pininfarina could have an off day. Not only that, but the
velvet underground and nico Niko-Michael Coachworks convertible conversion didn't seem to sway 73% of you from finding its price unpalatable regardless of how much Grey Poupon was slathered on it. Perhaps the Sultan of Brunei will give it a good home, and some hummus.
Niko-Michael didn't just behead the rich and famous, they did the deed to more plebeian rides as well, as today's Brickyard-based '79 Mercedes Benz 280CE convertible proves. The W123 series of Benz genuflected to the stately S-Class, and represent one of the last of the brand to have been nearly hand-built. Those hands built the W123 in sedan, coupe and, eventually, wagon body styles, but it wasn't until its successor – the W124 – arrived that you could officially go topless in one of MB's malaise-era mid-sizers.
But that's not the case here, as Nico-Michael has raised its roof. Hopefully in the process they added enough reinforcements so that it won't also shake its boo-tay. Mercedes Benz engineered the W123 with the same kind of stoutness you might expect of a bank vault or Megan Fox's underwire. And while it's not as visually appealing as Ms. Fox topless, the decapitation still looks pretty factory. Top up is usually where conversions – and many factory jobs – get a bad case of the fuglies, but this 280CE maintains enough glass area and an attractive enough roofline to have seemingly dodged that bullet.
Under its hood the 280CE came with the 185-bhp M110.984 2.8-litre six, and although the seller says it's a 3.8, that's probably just a typo. The twin cam engine features Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and is about as bulletproof as they come. Much like Alfred the Butler, the rest of the car is there to coddle you, what with an automatic transmission, power everything, and seats that are claimed to be leather and look to be about as comfortable a place to nestle as the aforementioned Megan Fox's cleavage. There is something funky going on over on the driver's side, however, where the typical Queen Mary tiller of a steering wheel has apparently been replaced with some kind of bumpy three spoke affair.
That wheel, and the chrome wheel arch lips, are about the only douchie parts marring the appearance of this beige Benz, which even comes with the nicer looking Euro headlamps. The bumpers are U.S. spec unfortunately, and the rubber snoods on these things typically suffer from enough age and pollution related degradation that they become even greater eyesores. A nice set of Euro nubs would rectify both of those issues nicely however. Another potential issue is the plastic rear window, but with a one-off convertible, getting glass is probably not in the cards, and this one's about as clear as you could hope for.
With only 124,000 miles on its clock and Niko-Michael Coachworks authentication plates on its sills, this unique 280CE should have a long and relatively trouble free life ahead of it. For you to be part of that life, you'll need to come up with five thousand dollars, for which you'd get the car and a Lincoln in change. What do you think, is this convertible conversion not just proportionately cheaper than yesterday's Rolls, but is it also a better deal?
And just for giggles, here's a W123 convertible conversion I spotted at the U-Pull one weekend.
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