• Great summary of the W108 market and sketchy ebay sellers. I find the european license plates to be distracting and somewhat offensive when put on a road car in the USA. If you like Germany so much, go live there, eh?

  • Quite a novel, but well thought out. I will only add that the W111 fintail market seems to be similar in its low price/value ratio. The W111 cars look cooler with their fintails, but are much slower, less reliable and more horrible to drive. Personally I will stick to diesel if I want to drive slowly, at least they get good 'gas' mileage.

  • Thanks for posting this. My wife's been shopping for one of these for over a year. Your range seems spot-on from what we've seen. We slept on a mint one that had been listed locally on Craigslist for months at $4500.00 with all new chrome (it probably sold for less) and have been kicking ourselves since. We see asking prices for cars that need work anywhere from 2K up to 7K, with an occasional, well-turned-out one for 13K or up. I laughed when I read your "rabbit out of someone else's hat" line because it sums up perfectly what our reaction is to some of the prices we've seen.


  • Sometimes the market is as fascinating as the auto. Your theories and comments are well thought out and today anyway, with this subject, articulate. Read three times in a row.

  • ~ great analysis. i've reread the article and comments as well. it has been a while since i looked seriously at a Mercedes which wasn't an SL, a coupe or cab, or at the top of the list, a wagon. but for any car this is a valuable buyer research model.
    the take away for me;
    ….There is no better money spent on a car, than the last owner’s!!

    "rabbit out of someone else's hat"
    +1 Hunsbloger & you too, Cris.

  • Very nice write-up, DT. Now on to the 280 SE/SEL. When new, these were about the best highway cruisers on the market. However, they are very maintenance intensive and an oil change at the local dealer would run you $500 back then. Of course, they did more than change the oil but that was the MB way of doing things. The problem now is that even a very nice example these days will get maybe 11 MPG on a good day with a tail wind and it will take that $4.30 high test with no ethanol. Here where I live, non ethanol gas is readily available but in many areas of the country it is not. The local MB club and the Porsche club are regular customers of the station that has non ethanol right up the road from me.

    • David- Agreed on the mileage, I figured anyone looking for one already kind of knew the bad news that they get 20mpg the hard way. (10 mpg in town + 10 mpg on hwy = 20 MPG!!) Agreed on the ethanol… don't get me started with how that fuel should be less expensive than gasoline to boot!!

  • Looks like I let my appreciation of the car (72 280 SE 4.5 at auction) cloud my thinking. The axiom of the first auction typically bringing the best price held again. While statistically it says a buyer should be able to own one cheaply, the seller still gets the final say by deciding whether or not to accept the market's verdict. After all, there are more markets than Ebay. Is ebay just the wrong selling venue for these cars, or is it representing fair market value?

    • ~ i believe the axiom to be pretty accurate. as you earlier pointed out many other factors have some sway, but when i see an inflated buy-it-now i generally presume a strong chance we're watching a fishing expedition. then when the item soon appears again it doesn't mean the seller has come to his senses but that perhaps there is room for a skilled negotiator to make an offer which might at least be considered. negotiation may be the pre-eminent ability required in the car hobby.
      . any chance the 'How to Buy' series will continue?? maybe just as important, a 'How to Sell' series would be priceless, both desperately needed.

  • Hi, I just bought the second 4.5 sedan in my life and thought I would make some comments. This one is double black with floor shift, zero rust/accidents, and nice.
    I love these old 4.5's, 6.3's, etc. The 4.5 is great even if the value is not high. What is "high" about the 4.5?

    8-10,000 points of stamped steel welded body construction – aircraft standard,
    4 wheel disc brakes,
    4 wheel independent suspension,
    single low pivot swing axel,
    seats designed by orthopedic surgeons,
    nice power and torque, classy, elegant, stately design thats oozing with character.

    Its all relative – my neighbor just got an 02 CL 500 coupe – only 18,500 – not even 70K on it. It listed for over 100K new. Another friend bought a yellow 360 modena Ferrari for under 100K – it sold new for just over 200K. – and its a Ferrari .

    When do you lose? If/when you sell it.

    4.5's are awesome cars – they are collectable driver's, — driver's – not queens that go to shows and get sold for obsurd amounts from one ego prick to another ego prick.

    Look at this way – look at what you pay for a nice one. Now look at the 6.3, the coupe, the cab. I would say you got a pretty good deal on a neat old school benz.

    PS: will you people please stop talking about the low mpg, we are talking about a 40 year old S class V8 sedan. Get real. Get one and enjoy the sound, feel, and that smell – don't forget that smell. Leather? wood? vinyl? mb tex, Yeah.
    (its all relative, your in a temporary body/life – enjoy until its time to fly back to the universe)

    Or you could sell everything you have, shave your head, dress in a robe and hand out plastic flowers at LAX.

    • We are of like mind sir! Thanks for your comments, as they re-affirm why we are so bullish on these cars. Nice to hear it from someone who has gone through this same search process and is now driving with a very satisfied grin. Hope you'll stay tuned. As for your friends, they sound like they too share our Profound Appreciation Of Depreciation.

  • With several people referring back to this article today, I thought it was worth commenting that the blue 280 SE at the top of this story, was again put up for sale recently. This time by the owner, rather than by the detailing shop. Its final bid.. no surprises here..$6,600. Again supporting our axiom that unless something about the car or the market has changed between listings, the seller should not expect a significant change in the outcome of the bids…here's a link to last weeks's auction of this really nice car..
    Feel free to leave your comments regarding your thoughts on the market and come back as frequently as you can!

  • You have described a good information about W108. I am very impressed with your hard words. Your analysis is very helpful for me.

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