Garage > Test Drive

280" Concourse; Diary of a layman

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So, at that point, I had saved all there was to save on obvious parts, I got the Eris Zebrano, I got the MB rubbers, and GAHH was in, be it I would still need a replacement carpet set in the right color.
I wrote to them, and I was allowed to ship it back if I wanted. Regrettably, that would mean even more losses.
So, I asked for a bunch of samples, and they sent them. This time, I decided, no more multiloop, but much warmer, and better for sound.
Instead of (green) multiloop parchment I will order Champignon velours and creme vinyl headliner.
Haven't ordered yet.

Naturally, as time went by, the countless hours I spent online, in forums, and on the phone with parts suppliers in 5 countries paid off little by little. I was starting to learn.
It also meant my eyes were getting sharper, as well as my sense of the reality of my W116's
Sooo many parts on those cars, so much that wasn't trustworthy or good looking.
I realized that my first W116 could have been made drivable, but never sellable at a profit.
Drivable, without selling, would invite years of tow-trucks, delays, and head aches.
All the faults in the car would never stop irritating me. I am still a Dutchman, and we have automotive OCB written in our DNA.
Imperfections, scratches and noises are an endless torture to our unshielded brain.
I would need to re-think everything.. It was going to get costly, and risky.. and the 6 months restoration time would surely become 1 year.
I was still not ready to accept 2 years.
I had more to learn. Much more!

Finding an W116 in Taiwan is very hard. Since I like internet hunting, I kept at it, and far away, in the very last pages of the browser, under the wrong keywords, I bumped into a model I had not seen before.
I immediately called them, and it was still there. Had been there for 3 years, parked roadside, abandoned, in pieces, with a broken window.
The advertiser clearly had no idea how to list cars online. The other 4 or 5 parties on this island hunting for such cars had missed this car for years, and me, the foreigner who can not read or write Chinese, had found one!
It had license plates, a 280S 1976, and the price was 5000usd, 2000 thou cheaper than the value of the plates.
It had a Yorke airco unit, broken, no doubt, but that added 1000usd value to the car. I bought it.
Now I had 2 cars, one for parts, one for restoration. I also had 2 sets license plates..
Would it not be a shame to simply sell those plates, knowing they would never be available again?

This is where I made the decision to do 2 full restorations instead.
Use both plates, and by doing 2 cars, combi shipping and combi buying parts would be even more affordable.
However, the Parts car was a lost case, I concluded. It looked as if a horde of wild dogs had lived in it for years, and every single part on that car was broken.
(Later I understood that I may have made the wrong conclusion.)

So I started hunting for a restorable W116 abroad, knowing that in the Netherlands, the classic car road tax system had gone from free to intolerably costly, and hundreds, maybe thousands of people were dumping their daily drivable classics.
Prices went tumbling, and the Dutch MOT is very strict. This makes for technically perfect classic cars at bottom prices in 2014, in the Netherlands.
After 6 months of hunting, I found one, and sent my mom to go see it, live on the phone, with camera, and a checklist the size of a roll of toilet paper.
Sold! 1900 euro for a 280SE with a white interior, and scores of mint parts.
Now I had to import it to Taiwan. How does that work?

Cut a long story short, I got it shipped, had a big fall-out with the private Customs/Clearance maffia in Kaoshiung Harbor, licked my wounds, and had it shipped to my restorer.
Now I had 3 cars! The 280SE cost me 6000usd, all in, door to door, still 1000 less than a wreck in Taiwan.
And, it had the white interior, without holes, without cracks. -and a Dutch MOT
This allows me to hang the Parts car plates on the Dutch car. Well, kinda..

We are now one year after my first W116 purchase.
3 W116's are catching dust in the parking lot of my restorer, with only one of them under a tarp.
The second one is nearly collapsing under the weight of the hundreds of brand new aftermarket  replacement parts, neatly stacked inside, in every crevice front and back.

It was getting time to start compiling a list of MB parts required. How I dread this job!
I really don't want to know the cost of all that. I don't want to spend that cash. I don't want to have to go through parts manuals with a fine comb, adding and adding, and adding parts.
Where to stop? What to buy? WHERE to buy all of this?
And, most dreadful, no local help anywhere.

I knew what to do! Stick my head in the sand, and go buy more goodies instead!
Went hunting for Beckers. Found one in the Netherlands, 150 Euros, in mint condition. had it shipped, just to find out it wasn't made for a Benz. It was the wrong size, at least 15 years older, from a 1960's Porsche and MG.
Still, I like the idea of making my w116 older than it is. I will make it fit!
The second Becker I found 2 months later, again, online, in the Netherlands.
200 euros, and it looked good in the pics. But, it's not eBay, and there is no safety net against scammers.
When it arrived, I was very, very pleased. It was new out of a box!. Mint, not a scratch on it! Allows for an immediate re-sale on eBay for 500 euros, but I won't. It's mine!

Then I bumped into a NOS seller in Argentina.
I been investigating how to achieve a full Cruise Control retro-fit, a must on a car like this, and I don't have any, on any of the 3 cars. Argentina had the actuator, 500usd, new in the box.
They also had the sunroof wind deflector, NOS ashtray lighters, chrome NOS exhaust ends,  NOS steering wheel pad, and new instrument panel plastic strip in 5 colors that hides the little lamps, indicating contact, headlights, etc. That one would really make the instrument panel look new!
I bought 2 of each, except for the actuator. I decided to buy the second CC system after the first W116 was done, -and sold. The combi buy/ship worked out well here. Argentina threw in a NOS driver door rubber seal in for free!
I can recommend this eBay shop. Fatone_Inc.

The CC mounting bracket is NLA. Found it in Spain
The Tempomat steering wheel control I found second-hand in Germany. It's not NLA but really costly if bought new.
The other NLA parts are all hidden from sight in the car, and will be built/modified from local parts.

Still, it was this list of CC parts that was the start of my MB parts list.
I knew it needed to be done, and I slowly started adding, comparing parts and prices, learning about what's IN the car in parts, and immediately went on an internet shopping hunt for any part that was marked as NLA.
I now needed a second batch of MB door seals, so they went on there as well.

I use the Shopping Cart from
With your personal login, your cart does not get deleted. It gives you great pricing (indication) as well.
I started using as a Parts Manual.
Regrettably, no engine manuals there.

Some of my shopping:

and more..

and more


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