Author Topic: 450 SEL - to buy or not to buy  (Read 968 times)


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450 SEL - to buy or not to buy
« on: 05 July 2008, 11:38 AM »
Hello all,

looked at a 450SEL today. Dreaming about buying a W116 one for a long time and since I'm new to these cars, would like to have the experts weigh in on this one:

-1973 with 156,000 miles
-third owner
-Very little rust, just a little on the underbody and right below the doors. The paint in dark green seems in very good shape overall. The trunk is completely clean. Since I'm in US-Minnesota (where it snows a lot in winter and gets cold, lots of salt), I think the car is probably from the South somewhere, but the owner wasn't sure.
-New distributor
-Engine seemed to run smoothly, no blue in the exhaust or any other obvious red flags.
-Original glass without damages and no cracks in the dash

Hm...thoughts about these:
-Needs a new muffler, the hole seemed to be pretty close to the engine from the sound of it. Any idea on the cost? Does this mean the entire piping is toast or could there be a partial fix?
-There is some oil visible at the bottom of the engine and the owner admitted that he indeed does get a few drops. The top of the engine seemed very clean, so the problem has to be one of the seals further down (sorry, I'm not enough of an expert to describe this more specifically) - any thoughts on what type of issue this may indicate?
-The seats need to be replaced, especially in the back, serious sagging going on. The leather itself seemed mostly OK, so it might be possible to reupholster. Any thoughts on what I should expect to shell out for that?
-How do I find out if the car is genuine in its major components - e.g. if engine matches, etc.?
-The vin issue: I've got the 14-digit numeric VIN, but can't look up a history report anywhere. I've seen a post on Benzforums confirming this - is that still the latest or is there a way to get any type of report on such a car?

If I go for it, I'm planning on renting myself and the car out for weddings and such, so the seating probably needs to be taken care of.

Owner is asking for $3K US. I'll likely go back next week with a mechanic, so anything else we should look for in that year or model? I do realize that the price is good, but need to get at least a rough idea on what else I need to take of soon to keep it in usable condition.

Any advice appreciated.


John Hubertz

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Re: 450 SEL - to buy or not to buy
« Reply #1 on: 05 July 2008, 05:42 PM »

Buy it.  450SEL 1973 is one of the rarest 116s - high output (but still slightly smogged) BIG 4.5 V8 without USA bumpers (1974+)  NO european model in 1973 matched the output - the FIRST 4.5 116- and the first official year of the 4.5 period.

MAX has USA:


Oil is likely PS fluid - and it probably will drive LOOSE.

These things have an "anti dive geometry" that wears out with time or miles. 

Figure backyard mechanic + parts $500 (includes GOOD independent 4 wheel alignment)

Seats are a sisal mat that deteriorates - redo them - if the covers are good just have them WELL stuffed.

And DRIVE man drive....

Here's a couple of eye candy examples:

(6.9 cabrio, euro bumpers, CA, USA)

Gangsters (usa model but still....   ooooooh the charisma)

One of our fellow club members:

Now, HOW could you turn down that for $3000?  BUY IT
« Last Edit: 05 July 2008, 05:52 PM by John Hubertz »
John Hubertz
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
(Hunter S. Thompson) 

1977 450SEL (Max Headroom)