Fabulous intro! I too understand your Saab love. Over the years I had 4 of them, including a 1966 2-stroke 95 wagon in Maine. In winter you had to heat up the oil so it would mix with gas. Anyway, hope you stick with it on the 300SD. Everybody loves these old W116's. Cheers,
My name is Robin and I am new to the forum but I have been reading and researching a lot on here. I figured I should go ahead and join. I recently acquired a 1979 300SD. For the last several years the car has only been driven periodically. It has mostly sat neglected out in the Texas sun. I do not know much about the car's history prior because the title was never properly transferred and so I am going to have to apply for a lost/bonded title for the car. Kind of a headache, but I have had to do this with another car in the past, so it shouldn't be too bad.
Long story long...
It all started when my brother purchased this car from a mechanic shop about 4 years ago. He had the title but he never transferred it correctly. Instead, he sold it to my dad. My dad drove the car maybe twice before deciding it was too hard for him to get in and out of. My dad was given the title but also never properly transferred it. Then he ended up moving to a retirement community and lost the title somewhere in the process.
My nephew was going to buy the car from my dad and remove the engine for a truck he was working on but never came up with the time or funds to buy the car. He did drive the car for a while and kept the oil changed. He bought a few parts (some new motor mounts, a rear window gasket, etc.) but never installed them. He has several project cars, old trucks, and race cars, this was not a priority for him. He also never paid my dad for it.
Anyways, a year ago my dad called me and told me that he wanted me to have the car. At the time, my nephew was still convinced he was going to buy it and do all this engine-swapping. So, I just let it go. I wanted the car but I didn't want to start drama with my nephew over it.
Fast forward to just a couple of weeks ago, my husband (who works with my brother and my nephew) said that my nephew told him he should take that old car (meaning the Mercedes) and work a deal with my dad for it. The car was still parked at my brother's shop. It has been this whole time. The next day my husband charged the battery and it started right up. He drove it home and now I have a Mercedes parked in my garage. A Mercedes that I have been wanting and painfully watching deteriorate for several years now.
My history with cars...
I used to have a Mercedes 280SLK. This was many years ago and it was basically showroom new when I bought it. It had less than 15k miles on it. I loved that car. That was before the financial crisis of 2008 or what I like to call "the second great depression." My husband and I lost everything in 2008. Our business, our house, my car, my horses. We lost everything. I am just grateful we didn't have kids at the time because our lives drastically changed. It was rough for a while. But life goes on and we learned some valuable lessons.
A few years later, I ended up with a green 1998 Saab 9-3. At first, I was not proud of that car. I thought it was one of the ugliest cars I had ever seen. But, somehow I ended up falling madly in love with that old Saab.
When I had more money I replaced it with a newer Saab. I bought a 2011 Saab 9-3 that I ended up trading for a 2010 9-3 convertible with fewer miles on the odometer. Then I bought a 2002 Saab 9-3 just for fun. To have as a project car. I began the process of rebuilding the engine and restoring it. Something I never in my life would have thought I would be doing.
I found a passion for cars that I didn't even know I had. I was so obsessed with Saab. I even had a nice vintage leather jacket from Saab. I am still heartbroken that GM did what it did to Saab. Truly unforgivable.
Everything, I know about cars and engines I learned by tinkering under the hood of my Saabs. It was a hobby I truly enjoyed and life was pretty good.
But as luck would have it our home was destroyed by a flash flood.
The flood happened very quickly. I have never seen anything like what we saw that night and I hope I never do again. There was a creek near our home and we were watching it because it would get high during heavy rain but nothing like what happened that night.
By the time we realized what was happening the situation had already turned dire. My convertible, which had been parked in our driveway at the time, was already underwater. It took seconds for things to escalate. With a death grip on my young daughter and my dog, we waded through fast-moving waist-deep water to get to my husband's truck. We just barely made it out. We also rescued two neighbors along with their dogs that night. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I still get upset thinking about what could have happened. Water is very powerful.
We watched from higher ground as many of our things were swept away and/or destroyed. The next day we went back to assess the damage. It was bad. My convertible was a total loss and the insurance didn't pay me anywhere near what it was worth. Just enough to pay off the small loan I still had on it. My project car which had been in a separate single-bay garage on jack stands was demolished. Of course, it was not insured. The water had not only destroyed the garage but had knocked the car off the jack stands and caused irreparable damage. Many expensive parts yet to be installed were swept away in the water never to be seen again. After some time we were able to move back into the house but we did not want to stay there. Every time it looked like rain we got nervous.
In the end, I was left with no car and was stuck borrowing a minivan from my dad to get back and forth to work. My husband took a new job working for my brother a couple of towns over and we ended up moving to that town and into a house where we don't have to worry about floods. But this made my commute to work and getting my daughter back and forth to school much more difficult. Then Covid happened and I got laid off.
Since Covid, I have become a stay-at-home mom. I home-school my daughter and telecommute to work and I haven't owned a car since losing my Saabs. Until now.
I will not lie. My original plan was to sell this car and see if I could find an older Saab. I can't promise that I won't possibly still do that one day. My heart will forever belong to Saab. (It's an illness for sure)
It runs. It almost runs well. There are some issues that need to be addressed. It's not rusted. The body is straight. (It has one door with a ding from my brother backing into it with a truck and the front bumper appears to have been knocked at some point, it's not dented or bent but it just sits a little crooked.) It's all there, mostly. (I am missing the aluminum trim for that rear window) The front seats and carpet are all in good shape. (Although, the seats feel a little wonky. Like they need new cushioning.)
The paint has been destroyed. Parts of it look okay but the trunk and hood had peeling clear coat. My nephew decided to take a super high-powered pressure washer to it. As you might imagine that took off some of the paint along with the peeling clear coat. The rear and front window gaskets need to be replaced. The front is not as bad as the rear window. That one was leaking onto the rear deck. I pulled the back seats out along with the original carpet/padding from the rear deck. That carpet and padding were rotten, covered with mold, and totally gross. It had to go. The back seat bench has been eaten up with rust. I don't believe there is any hope for it to be saved. The seat backs can maybe be sandblasted and recovered. Luckily the rust seems to have been contained to the seat springs. The rear deck, floor pan, and all around the trunk are in good shape. Other than a couple of areas with slight surface rust, there doesn't appear to be anything major. The front dash is cracked. The wood is intact but the lacquer is peeling up in some areas. Nothing works. The windows don't work. The AC which was retrofitted with R134 doesn't work. I was told the heater works periodically. Although, I am not sure how. And something is draining the battery. So if you park it you have to unhook the battery or it will be dead the next time you try to start it. Even if you only have the ground connected. You have to completely disconnect the battery or it will drain it. Not sure how but it does.
So the car has some problems, but has a free car ever come without a host of problems? Probably not.
The car talks. I know I sound crazy but it talks. I thought it was just me but apparently, it talked to my husband too. I don't know how to explain this but he drove the car once and was hell-bent on keeping it.
I was cleaning it out and it talked to me the whole time. It was so grateful to be in a nice garage and so happy to be getting some TLC. It said to me, "I promise if you treat me right, I will treat you right. Just give me a chance."
So my husband and I have both found ourselves weirdly attached to this car and I guess the plan now is to completely restore it. Crazy? Yep. Stupid? Debatable. Am I having fun? Absolutely, I am.
This last week I have found myself spending several hours a day with this car cleaning, tinkering, and learning about it. I have been playing music from 1979 and on into the early '80s when I am in the garage. I think the car really likes that music. (Look I know I sound nuts but it does)
Anyways, sorry this was so long but I wanted to give a proper history and introduction to my car and myself. I am sure I will be hanging out on here a lot and for a long time, lurking, learning, and asking questions here and there, until I have something of value to add. Glad to have found this place and I am looking forward to absorbing as much knowledge as I can. If you made it to the end of this then thank you for reading my story. You're a real MVP for making it through the whole thing.
it's been a sad week...my beloved 300SD "Gertrude" has passed, a few days ago...without warning she threw a rod straight through the side wall, I've decided to let her rest and parse out her good parts (she had many good parts).
Please let me know what you guys need and I'll try to respond with pictures and prices, unless it is a small item I will not be shipping anything due to costs, we are located in Orange County California.
For reference she is painted Mercedes Plum with a Chestnut interior
Just thought i'd share my success with the method explained in the video below -->
It worked to bring back the shine and removed much, if not all, of the surface gunk. Of course it did nothing to help the pitting or the chrome fog on larger pieces but on smaller chrome items that you see and interact with everyday (interior bits, door handles, etc) this method worked great! See the side by side of my side mirror adjustment plates below -->