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Old 12-22-2019, 10:13 PM
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81 merbenz 380sl conv for $2800, is it worth it?

I found this on Craigslist in Spokane, it has the 3.8l v8, with only 135,xxx miles on it. Everyone I talk to says Mercedes is reliable, but I need an opinion from a knowledgeable Mercedes fan. I know parts ain't cheap, and we get a fair amount of snow in North Idaho, but in the prairie the roads are plowed and salted. All I've driven are rwd vehicled. The ad says it leaks tranny fluid. Should I even look at it? If I should what do I need to watch for? The ad: https://spokane.craigslist.org/cto/d/spokane-1981-mercedes-benz-380sl/7039265869.html

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Old 12-22-2019, 10:43 PM
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Mercedes are only reliable if you stick to the manufacturer's, dealer maintence schedule and replace parts and peform maintenances as they prescribe them.

Treat these like you would a Chevrolet or Ford of that era and it would be a good idea to keep your AAA towing membersip up to date.

As far as purchase price of a 40 year old car, it's worth what you're willing to pay. Just be aware that parts for these things were and are costly.

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Old 12-23-2019, 03:53 PM
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Sounds like a 40 plus year old money pit. Turn around and run.

Never was fan of mercedes myself, working on them sucks.
Fact is stranger than Fiction
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Old 12-24-2019, 12:38 PM
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I'm not a fan of the SL's of that vintage. BUT. The going rate on them is $15k or so for a real nice one. A tranny leak and having to go through it due to not being used would not keep me away from it if it is still nice enough, for $2,800.

And yeah, Mercedes cars from that era were pretty darn reliable. But they made a better diesel than a gas engine. Not that the gassers were actually bad, but they used rudimentary EFI. It wasn't very good. That and all of the door lock switches ect.. are vacuum operated which after 40 years will need some attention to the plastic lines

302/351W will fit right in/ many have been done. Then you get a very nice reliable car
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:43 PM
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I've owned one, and STAY AWAY, these are the R-107 chassis.

Unless it is RUST FREE (RARE), with the a 280C 6 cylinder manual transmission, and Manual Heater Controls, which are pretty much limited to European imported models.

The V8 Model in excellent condition can be purchased for a few Thou, but still an expensive nightmare to keep running. Repairing this engine can cost more than the Car is worth...

The V8 engine are a Nightmare to work on, part are outrageously expensive and the FI unit is a piece of $#i! , and very very difficult to troubleshoot.

I have '78 280C W123 chassis, a 4 speed manual transmission, 2 door Hardtop, European model with 98,000 Kilometers. These are nice car, lighter, easy to troubleshoot, and a great smooth ride.

If you want an old MB, look at the '78 and newer W123 models...

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