Here is a revealing inspection of the state of things about the W116. Just have a look at ebay.de, do a "suche" for Mercedes W116. You will find tons of tiny parts and a few complete cars that are sold for next to nothing. the cars are being parted. Why ?
Fuel costs ? yes but there is more to it, German and other Euro national taxes on weight/displacement make a heavy, 30 rear old Mercedes with a "big" engine a very poor purchase for those looking for low cost transportation. They pass up a W116 and buy and old Renault Clio, VW Polo or Opel Corsa.
What does this say ? W116s are worth... nothing :-( AND it's time to buy all those cheap parts. And then what ? well, when the parts are gone and even the 280SE will become rare...(pause)...the W116 will begin to be appreciated...slowly, it's like a W114 250C, nice car but dull interior. There was some sort of low key tone to 70's MBZ that create a "value" problem. Anyone having seen a W109 glove box door in THICK, real wood knows this. The W126 went uphill but with "plastic".
What currently ais W116 in Europe ? OK fellows, dont cry but here goes : it's a car for a turkish family in Berlin, a car for a gypsy family in Hungary, a car for a mafiosi bunch in Ukraine...need I go on ? The W116 is NOT really desirable. I bought mine with service records for 800? and the guy would have taken 500, but the records were complete and he had new brake pads.
The 6.9 ? a bottomless pit for fuel costs with big registration taxes and complicated, expensive parts. Worse still, Euro pollution legislation may eventually punish "big" engines, like the M110 ;-)
Last year, I dared go to the Renault training services in Boulogne, near the old factory on the west side of Paris, with my 350SE. Gypsy car hey (laughs) ? so at break, we got on the internet and I said : Want to see what W116s are good for ? I downloaded the Ronin video clip...(he-he) the car that gets blasted to bits is a ...Renault... (no laughs)?
Ok, I'm going to take advantage of this situation of what is an unrecognised good wine.
Regards to all the aussies enjoying nice weather, it's getting quite cold in France.