I am looking at purchasing a 1976 Mercedes 280S Sedan. It has 80,000 original miles and I could get it for $3,000. Am I crazy? Will I be constantly repairing?
what shape is it in now?
If this is a hobby car, and you want to tinker with an antique from about the worst era in terms of pollution controls, mpgs, and performance that will need lots of TLC, you’re not crazy. If this would be your daily driver, and you think you’re getting a luxury bargain, you are crazy.
A Money Pit…
One more thing, the 280S had a carb, not fuel injection. Carbs from the mid '70s were very troublesome because of all the pollution regs. Now add almost 40 years…
Agree! If you have a triple garage, this would be a good “hobby” car to keep you busy. I had a chance to buy a 1 1/2 year old 1970 Mercedes 280 with red leather upholstery in 1972 for $4700! It had only 17,000 miles on it, but I turned it down because of the extensive maintenance needs and I used the money as down payment on a new house.
No car that old is a daily driver unless you have two daily drivers. One you rive while you fix the other one. If you are looking for a commuter car, look elsewhere. And before you start, all luxury cars are very expensive to repair, and that does not change as the car ages. If you are on a tight budget, look at midsize or economy cars. An early 2000s GEO Prizm or Chevy Cavalier are inexpensive and can be reliable if maintained well since new.
If you live in California or any other place that has smog checks, they you probably should avoid it. If you don’t have to deal with smog checks, you can take off the current carburetor and replace it with a Weber 32/36 carb. That will eliminate most of the vacuum lines and other little devices that are the main source of problems.
This was a very reliable car until they started trying to make it meet pollution standards. Dialing back to a simple Weber will help greatly. I think you could use it as a daily driver and Weber kits aren’t too expensive.
But, if you need a fuel pump or a starter or any other part that will eventually wear out, it will not be cheap.