Author Topic: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?  (Read 697 times)

505SEL

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FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« on: 01 February 2021, 02:52 AM »
Hi everyone -

New to the forum (so apologies if I've posted this in the wrong section) and would be very grateful for your (fairly urgent) insight. I've long admired the W116 and was immediately taken by the color and (at least at first glance) solid "cosmetic" condition of this example:

https://www.worldwidevintageautos.com/vehicles/6021/1973-mercedes-450sel

I recognize of course that beauty is more than skin-deep and that cars of this age (even those as sturdy as the W116) can suffer a litany of issues not always visible in photos to the casual (and in my case not exactly mechanically inclined) observer. So I'd welcome the wisdom of this community in assessing this example. I'm not looking for a show car--but one in decent enough shape to get me reliably around town (as an initial matter, it would need to get me from Denver to Albuquerque). The stunning blue over blue combo, and the slimmer early-model (for US-spec) bumpers make this one particularly appealing to me. But if this is a "lipstick on a pig" situation I think I'll pass.

For additional context--and one of the reasons I am hesitant here--this particular dealer seems to have a very mixed reputation. From online reviews it seems they have a tendency for flipping cars without addressing underlying mechanical issues and selling them to online buyers sight-unseen (acrimony often ensues...). Some of the reviews are pretty savage and that would normally be enough to dissuade me but this gorgeous blue, coupled with the generally stalwart construction and (what I hope to be) relative ease of access to parts and knowledge for these cars have prompted me to reconsider.

Leaving aside the price (which even assuming a straight car strikes me as somewhat high, but which I'd consider negotiable), I was hoping some of the eagle-eyed experts on this forum would be able to opine on any obvious issues you may be able to see from the photos. The body *appears* to be in good shape, I see no obvious signs of rust/bubbling/repair, but then if they've just repainted the body/underbody maybe these wouldn't be obvious. Witness the wheel covers, which seem original and where the paint seems much more worn--I wouldn't know whether paint wears more quickly on the hubcaps or whether this is a good indicator of what the rest of the car looked like pre-respray. More concerning to me are the photos of the engine bay and the wheel wells--there is some obvious rust but in my limited knowledge I can't tell whether this is a concerning red flag or just par for the course in a 47-year old car, and whether the presence of rust in these areas indicates a likelihood of rust elsewhere. Also looks like the valve cover may have come off a parts car (see the white writing)? So a lot of questions here, and this is admittedly not my strong suit.

The interior seems fairly well-sorted cosmetically--seats, dash, door cards, even rubber trim. The trunk, less so--the liner is collapsing on the sides (a common problem in these cars and my father's R107 did the same thing), rubber trim is in poor shape, and looks like the carpet on the floor has been replaced. Like the wheel covers, I simply wonder whether this is normal wear, or whether this is more indicative of the car's earlier condition.

I've also reached out to a couple of specialist shops in the area to conduct a pre-purchase inspection for me, but obviously it would be great to identify any serious and obvious red flags before pursuing that.

THANK YOU ALL! I'm extremely grateful for any insight. I love the car in theory, and my heart is saying YES, but my mind is telling me to slow down...

 

BCK1963

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: 01 February 2021, 05:31 AM »
Hello,

my overall impression of the car is that it appears inconsistent: Like-new areas contrast with sloppy parts.

The pics 51 - 55 suggest that the car got a very hasty paint job, possibly with a lot of filler. Looks like the trunk handle has not been removed, as seem the door trims. It may be a reflection but it seems like the upper few mm of the trim have been sprayed, pic 34, 35.

The wheelhouse in pic 49 looks authentic.

The front end of the sills appear to be porous and close to a rust break-through, 45, 46. Fixing those is more than a cosmetic job.
Some parts of the underbody are sprayed and waxed, others are not. Strange.

The interior looks very good, like new in the rear part. Blue dashboards are notorious for sun cracks, in particular right from the instrument housing. There is only one small crack visible around the right side speaker cover.

Easy fixes and eye-catching details like the trim stripes in the grill or original metal wiper arms are often neglected by sellers.

I wouldn't worry too much about the wheel caps, but much more about the condition of the body.

   Good luck    Bernd
Bernd

1976 Merc 6.9  since 2013
1974 Caddy CdV   since 1992  (for sale)

505SEL

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: 01 February 2021, 06:38 AM »
Thank you!

Incredibly helpful and precisely why I brought my questions to the experts! ;D

You raise some excellent points that I would have never identified myself.

I agree that in all likelihood they repainted it for a quick sale, and to a standard that looks good in internet photos but may not stand up to closer scrutiny. The overspray on the trim that you pointed out (there also seems to be some blue overspray in the wheel well) is the most obvious tell.

Your observations about the potential rust on the sills are what concerns me more. Like I said, I'd want this more as a fun occasional driver than as a show queen, and so I am willing to overlook minor cosmetic issues (wipers, grill trim can be easily sourced and replaced), but the prospect of serious rust repair is something I'm not sure I'm ready for, especially at this price.

I do love the color, though (really, a W116 in any shade of blue--or green--is a dream of mine), and the interior as you mentioned seems to be in very good shape. I just wish I knew what this car's story was and this dealership is very light on details.





Nabstud

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: 01 February 2021, 07:42 AM »
I can’t see too much detail on my phone but the bubbling on the sills, especially around the jack point would potentially stop me buying it. The fact lots of common rust areas have new black paint on them is also a red flag.
1975 280S - Australian delivered

daantjie

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: 01 February 2021, 08:01 AM »
I would personally pass on this one.   You are paying at least 5k over market due to dealer premium.
There are still nice ones around if you're patient.  I would also personally avoid the early DJET cars.
Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

505SEL

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: 01 February 2021, 08:16 AM »
I can’t see too much detail on my phone but the bubbling on the sills, especially around the jack point would potentially stop me buying it. The fact lots of common rust areas have new black paint on them is also a red flag.

I would personally pass on this one.   You are paying at least 5k over market due to dealer premium.
There are still nice ones around if you're patient.  I would also personally avoid the early DJET cars.

Thank you all for your time and input. I think from all of the above I've been sufficiently scared off of this one. I agree that the recent paint (on and below the body) could very well be hiding some nasty (rusty) surprises. And yes, from all I've seen the price seems way over market (although I suspect they are open to offers). I'm taken by the color combo but I'll keep my eye out for a more promising example and anyway, the hunt is half the fun  ;D

rumb

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: 01 February 2021, 11:15 AM »
#45 makes me wonder if they put another sill over the old one.

I think it is probably repainted, thought to me looks fairly decent.

If you are real serious I live and hour north of where it is located.
'68 250S, '77 6.9 euro, '91 300SE, '98 SL500 '14 CLS550

Shelbyeuropa

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: 01 February 2021, 12:12 PM »
Maybe I’m wrong but If you zoom in on photo 50 the redline starts at 6k, on a 6.9 this should be 5k.

505SEL

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: 01 February 2021, 01:07 PM »
thought to me looks fairly decent.

If you are real serious I live and hour north of where it is located.

Oh, now don't make me start reconsidering...   :-\

Maybe I’m wrong but If you zoom in on photo 50 the redline starts at 6k, on a 6.9 this should be 5k.

Yes...they definitely mislabeled this as being a 6.9--just an ordinary 4.5.

adamb

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: 01 February 2021, 02:00 PM »
The VIN tells us it's a regular 450SEL lhd and the serial number matches up with it being built early in the W116 life. The 6.9 variant came in late 1975. This car has been restored to an unknown standard. For USA it's quite a high price I think.

Jed

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: 01 February 2021, 06:18 PM »
Don't reconsider. Walk away. Too many concerns on this car.  If you really want a w116 just keep looking you will find a nice car for good money, just be persistent. 

thought to me looks fairly decent.

If you are real serious I live and hour north of where it is located.

Oh, now don't make me start reconsidering...   :-\

Maybe I’m wrong but If you zoom in on photo 50 the redline starts at 6k, on a 6.9 this should be 5k.

Yes...they definitely mislabeled this as being a 6.9--just an ordinary 4.5.
1979 Mercedes 6.9 #5206 - restored
1979 Mercedes 6.9 #6424 - ongoing restoration
1976 Mercedes 6.9 #484 - restoration?

505SEL

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: 02 February 2021, 01:33 PM »
Don't reconsider. Walk away. Too many concerns on this car.  If you really want a w116 just keep looking you will find a nice car for good money, just be persistent. 

Completely agree--the hunt continues!

ClassicCarRepair

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: 02 February 2021, 07:05 PM »
I've replaced at least a hundred of engines in my mechanic years.  I can say with almost certainty that I've never found a reason to replace a Mercedes aluminum valve cover.  I would suspect that the entire engine has been replaced with a salvage yard engine, based on the inventory number on the valve cover.  As well, you can see some very unprofessional results as you notice the radiator upper tank is mashed due to unprofessional mechanics wrenching in the engine bay.  The interior driver's upper door trim is missing and broken, probably due to someone trying break in with some tool.  No one repaints the bottom of ANY car, except a speciality show car, unless there is something that doesn't look good to the seller.  Period.  Lastly, do you really think this car, being an average sedan of age, really has that few miles?  This 116 has the easiest speedo cluster remove and replace with a lower mileage example, almost more than any other car on the road!

Just my opinion.

Brandon


505SEL

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: 04 February 2021, 01:29 AM »
I've replaced at least a hundred of engines in my mechanic years.  I can say with almost certainty that I've never found a reason to replace a Mercedes aluminum valve cover.  I would suspect that the entire engine has been replaced with a salvage yard engine, based on the inventory number on the valve cover.  As well, you can see some very unprofessional results as you notice the radiator upper tank is mashed due to unprofessional mechanics wrenching in the engine bay.  The interior driver's upper door trim is missing and broken, probably due to someone trying break in with some tool.  No one repaints the bottom of ANY car, except a speciality show car, unless there is something that doesn't look good to the seller.  Period.  Lastly, do you really think this car, being an average sedan of age, really has that few miles?  This 116 has the easiest speedo cluster remove and replace with a lower mileage example, almost more than any other car on the road!

Just my opinion.

Brandon

Completely agree--and your opinions are precisely why I brought my questions here!  :D Dodged a bullet with this one, I think. All of the suspicions you mention seem pretty par for the course with these guys, given the reviews I've read...


ClassicCarRepair

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Re: FS: 1973 450SEL -- Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: 04 February 2021, 11:11 PM »
I hope you find a decent car you want.  As a Mercedes enthusiast and mech, I've been thru many of them.  The one that got away from me back in 1993, was a 1961 220se.  I sold it being young and needed cash.  After total rebuild, the man I sold it to, crashed it 2 weeks later.  He was lucky to survive.

I now have this '78 450se euro, but the body is a little bit rusty in strange places.  The interior is dirty, as the car hasn't been used or started since 1994.  I bought it for the driveline to put into another chassis, but the more I read about the 116, the more I keep thinking it might deserve a second chance.

I've restored a lot of Mercedes cars, but never a 116.  I guess we'll see if this euro unicorn gets a second chance in the coming months.  If so, it will be personal ride.

Brandon
Automotive Restoration Of Lubbock