1971 Mercedes 250CE: Parts or Project?

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This 1971 Mercedes 250CE here on eBay is right in the middle of the tough decision to part or restore. It’s not in great shape cosmetically and mechanically, but it is listed with a price of $850 and the option to make a best offer. The seller seems very open to offers as he needs the space – and it’s clear his property is overflowing with Mercedes. This is a rare European-market model with a desirable manual transmission. 

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What we’re most interested in here is the presence of a clutch pedal and stick-shift, a rare find in Mercedes vehicles of any vintage. This particular car looks to have been ransacked for parts, so while it may in fact be the more desirable Euro-spec trim, you’ll want to find out just what’s included. It’s obvious the seller has pillaged a lot of the valuable bits like the headlights and Becker radio, so you’ll have to acquire all of those parts yourself.

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Assuming the engine remains original and can be brought back to life, this is still a potentially good deal even with some of the trim items removed. This should have the non-Federalized M130 without all the emissions crap the U.S. forced European-market cars to wear. If it is the correct engine, it will be fuel injected instead of having the somewhat notorious Zenith carbs to deal with. However, the seller spells out pretty clearly  that the engine is seized, so I doubt it’s going to be a walk in the park to bring it back to life (and probably also why he didn’t strip it out).

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These cars came from an era where rust-proofing wasn’t a widely-held practice, and you can see the paint blisters exposing traces of rust throughout the paint. In addition, it looks like a newer top coat of paint is giving way to a duller finish underneath, so it’s safe to say this 250CE is a bit of a rat’s nest of issues. I’d say part it but I’m not sure what’s left to part, unless the seller’s pictures of extra seats and door cards are part of the final sale price.  Does this car have any redeeming qualities or is it too late?

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Comments

  1. L.M.K. Member

    W 114’s are nice cars when set up nicely…This car can be saved but the amount of work needed will be back / bank breaking…. Taking the drive train out of it and related euro spec’d items and placing them in a rust free and nicer W 114 would save a lot of time, money & effort….

  2. Dave Wright

    Any way it goes, it has to be a labor of love. As a huge Mercedes guy, these have always been one of,my,least favorites. The drivetrain is great but this was the first assembly line built coupe in Mercedes history. It always seems like the doors rattle, they just didn’t seem as solid as the sedans. I did see quite a few of them restored on the road and in the dealers in Germany. The prices were 20-30,000 for a nice one. There used to be a lot of these cars in junkyards. I don’t think the sale price of the parts would pay for the labor to take them off. If someone likes the car it could be reassembled pretty easily but I think it would be a case of starting with a lot of money to make a little.

  3. Dan h

    Nope, going to cost too much to do properly.
    Economical access to parts for these cars has become increasingly difficult. Folks have been literally filling up shipping containers with used Benz parts and exporting them. Gone are the days of rebuilding a Benz on a budget.

    • Doctor Solomon

      Very true. I bought a decent W114 for $200 thinking I got an amazing deal… then I got home and started pricing out the parts. It’s a far cry from the much more affordable Volvo Amazon I have in the garage.

  4. Brakeservo

    One of the nicest Mercedes Ive ever owned was a ’70 Euro model 250 CE with five-speed. Somehow an airline pilot got it into the country when it was near new and never had to remove any of the Euro equipment or install Ameri-spec smog parts. What a beautifully driving and fast car it was! You have to wonder about the example at hand, it should have been as nice as the one I had, which also means no one in their right mind would have taken and stripped it for parts, yet that is what has happened here. There is a reason for that, probably not a very good one . . . car will probably never run again.

  5. Speedo

    There is a complete, non-FI 250C on Ebay ending soon bid to $960. Put the 4 speed in it and have a fun car for less than $2K

  6. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    There are a few of these that are complete and drivers for under $1500 in the Portland OR. Craigslist. Need some minor attention, but in way better shape than this. Don’t know why these don’t command higher prices. I think they are really nice cars.

  7. Dan

    The 250 CE is a Euro-only model as mentioned earlier, but it came with the fuel-injected M114 engine of 2.5-liter displacement, not the 2.8-liter M130. The U.S. model 250 C had the carbureted M130.

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