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4.5 Liter V8! 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE

I’ve always thought that Mercedes of this 1973 280 SE’s generation had a stately bearing about themselves – light green or not, which we are told is its born-with hue. Documentation from the original owner comes with this 62 K-mile sedan though the listing details are light. Regardless, let’s examine this Beverley Hills, California resident. It’s available, here on eBay for $2,550 with the reserve not yet met.

So, in doing some digging, we discover that this is a Mercedes 280 SE is built on M-B’s 108 platform and was produced between ’65 and ’73 – total output exceeded 380K units. The ’73 version, such as our subject car, is a North America-only offering powered by a 195 HP, 4.5 liter V8 engine – a tidbit that would be listing-worthy but never made it to publication. A three-speed automatic transmission was the only available gearbox with this powerplant. There is no authenticating the mileage but the seller states that the original owner sold it to a family member in 1984 and then this Benz experienced little use over the next 38 years. It was sold again in 2022 and it is claimed to “run beautiful“.

While maybe not the most enticing shade of green, I still like it! It’s faded in places, mostly on the horizontal surfaces, but it’s still passable. As to how original it is, is a debatable matter – there’s some overspray evident in the rear driver’s side wheel well so it could be the result of a touch-up or something more adventurous. The stainless trim, chrome plating, and prominent grille all show well – it’s all there and that grille is unkissed. The white stripe tires and color-matching wheel covers seem quaint today but I really appreciate the look after a generation plus of some sort of five-spoked alloy wrapped in an outrageously large diameter, low-profile black wall tire. The single included image of the underside reveals a sound-looking structure.

The interior, at least the driver’s seat, could use some help. It’s not in bad shape but it has been patched and the white upholstery, overall, could really use a deep cleaning, it’s a bit grimy looking – though some of it may be due to age-related deterioration/yellowing. The dash pad checks out though the wood veneer facing is showing what appears to be some delamination – it’s still in nice overall condition, however.

Well, I may have spotted a Mercedes of this generation in this rather ouvert shade of green (code 860 which M-B simply referred to as “Green”), but I don’t recall it. Regardless, I like the visual statement that this sedan presents and the 4.5 liter V8 engine makes this car that much more of an exciting find. It’s taken me a while to appreciate Mercedes’ line-up from this era and if these cars are not considered collectible, they should be, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. alphasud Member

    The 108 series is a collectible and the M116 engine was the beginning of a long life for this engine series up to the end of the 4 cam M119 engine. This engine makes due with the Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection where the D means fuel delivery is calculated by measuring air density with a analog MAP sensor. This one looks to be nice enough to continue to enjoy as you gradually bring this car back to its former glory. I don’t mind the green and I have seen this color on a number of Mercedes of this era. There will be a lot of money spent on the interior however. Restuff and reupholster the seats, fix the door cards and restore the wood. One thing for sure about a old Mercedes is they have no lack of wants and needs. Are you passionate enough to take on the challenge?

    Like 11
  2. chrlsful

    A car I’d love to give my 26 y/o daughter. Safe, comfortable, she’d B ‘stylin’! Shes old enuff to B over the fender benders and such, might B of age to understand/appreciate. Can afford gas, oil, parts (I’d wrench on it). Love to go to a different car w/her than the ford we worked together on. Not sure if this radicala change would work for our ‘garage meetings’. Probably miss this one but got me thinkin now~

    Like 4
  3. HC Member

    I owned a 1971 4.5 like this one, except it was tan color and it was a great car. Before I got it belonged to an oil executive in Texas, and had a rebuilt engine, new interior and even had an early Motorola car phone. That 4.5 was sure a pleasure on road trips.

    Like 2
  4. Homer

    I was the accounting manager for a MB dealer from 72-82. At some point early on a doctor came shopping for his new ride. A butt ugly green MB coupe was on the floor and when he sat in it, he said it made his complexion look green.

    MB did have some colors only a mother could love.

    Like 2
  5. Jack Quantrill

    Resembles the car in “Marathon Man”, that ran into the fuel truck!

    Like 2
  6. Robert D Matteson

    This is the kind of car that should prompt Uber or Lyft to offer a “Classic” class of transportation. Older four-door cars that present well enough to be used for ride sharing.

    Like 0
  7. Gordo

    My dad had a ’72 280SE in brown. It had a console shifter vs. on the column like this example, and a thick pile carpet, which seems to be missing from this one. The SOHC V8 had an amazing power band. It was so smooth around town and being a 16ish yo kid, I put it through it’s paces on some rural 2-lane blacktop. It would lauch to 100 so quick and at 120 MPH it was as if on a rail and would corner like a slot car. Had the old Blaupunkt radio with great sound too. Even back then though the parts were astronomical and I have a project on the go, otherwise, am quite tempted.

    Like 2
    • Greg in Texas

      I had the 250C straight 6 coupe. It was pretty much as you say “smooth and on a rail”. Yet also like on a cloud on the freeway. Really dumb of me to sell it. Unlike the V8, the coupe a little lighter not just no extra doors but L6 much lighter. So it handled amazing. Minimal body roll and better on cornering. Still I bet that V8 pulls like a tractor. Idling maybe what, 1200 rpms in top gear at probably 70mph. Might actually get decent gas mileage on the freeway going light on the pedal after it gets in that highway gear.

      Like 0
  8. Mike

    Beautiful car! Our neighbor growing up had the exact same car. It drove soo smooth. A true classic!!

    Like 0
  9. Sean Howard

    Yeah…I don’t think $9,500 for something needing $30+k in work is justifiable. And good luck to the seller, getting a bidder with a “2” rating…🙄

    Like 0

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