1965 Mercedes 220 SEb: Sleeping Beauty


Few cars are more confusing to me than the ones that were previously restored – or at least refreshed – and then allowed to fall back into the condition they were in prior to rejuvenation. This 1965 Mercedes-Benz 220 coupe here on eBay with bidding at $7,500 and the reserve unmet has supposedly been fully restored, yet garaged most of its life (although it is currently in a storage facility). Making it a bit more desirable is the manual transmission, as many of the ones I’ve seen have been equipped with an automatic. The interior needs work, which is a shame because they are handsome and durable when cared for; this one looks like it needs new carpeting, at the least. I believe this model was fitted with Bosch fuel injection, which proved more fiddly than expected and may hold this one back slightly compared to those cars fitted with carburetors. Still, with a set of European headlights and some spit and polish, this car could be a stunner once again. Have you ever let a restored car fall back into hibernation?


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  1. Horse Radish

    I know these cars well.
    This is a European car, and comes most likely with the common rust in places.
    And you would have to take the paint off to see how bad it is.
    European Headlights are gone, because they are usually more expensive to replace.
    Interior is a cheap vinyl redo and not befitting the level of sophistication that these cars represent.
    Chrome is pitted and shot. Carpet redone or not present.
    Mechanically worn out as you can tell from the engine bay photo.

    This looks to be a $2000 parts car OR AN UPSIDE DOWN RESTORATION.

    You would be better off finding an unmolested original car even with rust.

  2. Rich

    Pretty sure the seats are original. My old 280 had similar seats.

    • Horse Radish

      No,just a very close pattern to the original (sedans).
      Coupés did neither have these patterns nor did thy come in MBTex.

  3. rover

    ZEA injection pump like this one has and the original 127.984 I design extra large intake plenum, coupled w/ lack of bullet turn signal lens in the centers of the front fenders says this one is older than 65. Never know unless you see the VIN of course, Would be nice to see some underneath shots especially front bumper cross support, rockers, floors and spare tire wells. Owners doing well with the bidding so far and good for him/her.

  4. DT

    I think the sedans had the bullets,but the coupe didnt, European turn signals were in the original lights this car is missing,this is a rare car. This car looks to be early production.I had a very early 220sb it did not have the bullets,but it was from Italy,no rust at all

  5. David Frank David Member

    Being an injected model makes this 220SEb worth so much, as well as being a 2 door. The fuel injected cars had four wheel disk brakes (instead of front wheel disks) and a higher ration dif.

    For example, my 1965 4 door was completly rust free when I restored it 20 years ago. (Engine, carbs, brakes, door and trunk seals, everything except the interior which is very nice) It still very nice, but it’s probably worth less than $8000 even with the sunroof because it’s a four door carbureted car.

  6. JimmyinTEXAS

    Restored in 1992 and it looks like this??? As much as I want one of these I wouldn’t buy one from this seller. Looks like it has been well abused. Nope, not for me. Still lookin…

  7. retrogreg

    From one who sadly reports (see pic) from experience – check the electric fuel feed pump – new from MB $900+, and check the oil level in the mech injection sump – if it appears over-filled then the seal between engine and pump has likely failed – take it out & rebuild – you’ll find the fuel pump had been ‘cheap’. A correct redo of the interior can easily exceed $2500. I am in HR’s camp yet, ……. even after all the money I am still lovin’ the styling. A fuel injected L6 with huge sunroof and a floor mounted stick – nice! Greg

    • Horse Radish

      Your car looks sharp.
      I know it’s easy to spend more than the car will be worth when finished, but I agree, it’s well worth the effort.
      Don’t get me wrong :
      These cars are beautiful and timeless when done right.

      Next comment by rover hits it right on the nose too.

  8. Doug M. (West) Member

    I am confused by these coupes. I know where there is one for cheap. A 69 with 4 speed. Not bad for rust. However, I keep watching the sales on ebay and they don’t seem to support decent prices unless they are original or completely restored! I am afraid to take one on for fear of going completely upside down in the process! And I know it would take me a year or two to work one of these over… yet they still keep calling to me!?! (You can send me the bill for my counseling session… thanks! See you next Wednesday)

    • rover

      Doug M – not to worry – a very common “calling” today and yesterday as well considering between market intro in 1961 till end of production in 1971 MB sold some 35,000 of these “opera coupes” in 220, 250, 280, and 300 variations at what were 1961-1971 high dollars prices. There was obviously a demand – and once you have driven one…they are highly addictive.
      Go on…. feed the need, barring complete global financial meltdown they can only go up in value…its always fun driving an auto that’s appreciating as you own it instead of depreciating. Your other “sense of going upside down” is correct, the subject “barnfind” 220SE will need lots of tender loving care as its been sitting, and unless you are able to do R&R on Bosch injection pumps, fuel pumps, M127 tune ups, diagnostics, w possible valve adjustments , along with the possibility on cutting in new rockers and other sheet metal at home it will cost a fortune in outside labor alone….still .driving your tight W111 or W112 Coupe’ or Cab on a few hundred mile weekend cruise will make it all worthwhile

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