Autobahn Star: 1965 Mercedes 300SE

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When someone paid the down payment on this 1965 Mercedes 300SE, we bet they never imagined it could end up like this. The 300 was a top-of-the-line autobahn cruiser when new and it wasn’t cheap. Over the years it was somehow neglected and forgotten after only chalking up 74k miles. It is now listed for sale here on eBay with bidding currently at $5,100.

The seller does not mention anything about the mechanical condition of the car in their listing, other than it is equipped with a 3-liter inline six. It looks complete in the photos and hopefully can be made to run again if it doesn’t already. Remember, this car is from 1965. All that fuel injection equipment makes it look much more modern than its build date suggests.

That grey exterior may seem drab, but it is claimed to be original. We always prefer original paint to a respray because you can get an honest assessment of the rust and you are less likely to find nasty surprises hiding under the surface. These were handsome cars with their subtle tail-fins and generous chrome trim.

This red interior adds some much needed flair, but it has seen better days. It is rough in here and it is going to be pricey to set right. This was a comfortable car in its day with an air-conditioning unit under the dash and an automatic shifter sticking out of the column. You may want to contact the Mercedes Classic Center to get some estimates before bidding though.

The 300SE was an expensive car new and we have a feeling it is going to be very expensive to get this one back on the road. Someone should save it though because it represents a time when the three pointed star meant something. Anyone up to the astronomical task?

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  1. Stephen Walton

    74,000 miles and the interior looks like that?

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    • Grant

      Leather, wood and damp simply don’t go together!!!

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  2. Lemble

    Hemi Time !!!!!

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  3. twwokc1

    That was a beautiful car in its day. Still could be but its going to take a fortune to do it. Getting that air suspesion sorted out will be a nightmare. Only the brave need apply.

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  4. GST

    That’s all the $$ for sure! If it hasn’t run in a while then the fuel injection distributor and injectors will be all gummed up and a nightmare to clean up, hours of work. The suspension air pump is another nightmare. Complete new drivetrain is in order. Good looking car though.

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  5. J. Pickett

    The paint looks salvagable with a good buffing as a drivable unrestored, the cost of the leather and air suspension repairs will need deep pockets. Don’t know about the wood but the dash looks mostly ok. I’d worry about unibody rust on the bottom from sitting so low. A wonderful and delightful car if put right and prices are going up. The 300 model coupe is rare. But even the 280 3.5’s are getting big money.

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  6. Superalfisti

    Stephen Walton, I am with you on this since the odometer has only 5 digits I think it maybe 174,00 instead, and I totally agree with you on the interior. This is a very rare 300SE because it has the same engine as the gullwing…. at $5100 that is not bad and if I recall the W111 coupe or convertable can be $XXX,XXX worth in this case.
    Love seen the stuff that comes out of barns here!



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    • ross w. lovell

      greetings eric,

      this engine shares some of the same dna as the gullwing but the engines are different. the 300sl gullwing is a slant six block, this is an upright straight six. the gullwing was dry sumped this one is not.
      that being said, this car is still a blast to drive. suspension can be an issue but now at least they are making parts for it again.

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  7. Alex Tye

    What’s up with the LR wheel?

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  8. William Robinson

    My grand mother had one of these way before I came along. My grandfater told me she hit another car with it in 68-69. I was pulled home and put under the house in the garage untill 1993 when it was pulled out and sold. My grandfather had no interest in fixing it maybe because by that time his wife had taken him to the cleaners. I never liked these cars as a youngen, but In time I have grown to desire them. whish I had the funds for this one as its the same in every way as the one from the basement.

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  9. paul

    The prices of these have gone through the roof. Big $’s to fix but big $’s if you ever wanted to sell.

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  10. Eric Killorin

    These pricey luxo models from Benz featured air suspension hence the unhappy present situation the car finds itself today. The air bags lose their cool after a while and, together with the massive overall resto costs, I’m afraid only deep pockets and shallow minds will prevail.

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  11. Chris

    This one needs everything. But a beautiful, rare car from the mid ’60s that should be saved. Whoever buys this will need very serious money to do a complete restoration. The MB fuel injection systems can be rebuilt without bankruptcy, but the air suspension system is beyond expensive and complex. As the engine drives the air suspension compressor, even the order of restoration is a factor. Can it be done to MB standards for under $100K, I doubt it.

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  12. Rancho Bella

    I am rather taken aback that someone/s would let this car get in such a state. I love em’…always have. It probably should go back to the father land for a proper restore, Mercedes has that service for the ones that can afford it.
    In SoCal I see the 280 SE but never the 300. They are so lovely but I see an easy $50K, or more.

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  13. Marc Robertson

    Save the body and put modern suspension and drivetrain in it. That will be cheaper than a restore.

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  14. retrodave111

    has anyone noticed it is an american spec car

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  15. chris

    The resto on this would top at least 70K. The interior alone is gonna cost about 15k.

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  16. Forrest

    FYI for whoever picks this one up: I have a ’72 300SEL 4.5 (V8) parts car, largely complete, brake problems. Runs and drives although not safely, air suspension works like a champ (!). Spokane area, come and get it.

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  17. FRED


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  18. Horse Radish

    Fantastic car, but certainly NOT for the faint of heart pocket books.
    Top of the line model for several years for 2 door Coupés from ’62 to ’67.
    A lot of the ingredients are what made Mercedes so successful in worldwide Rally racing back in the day (Engine) and were also used in the 600 (Air suspension), Mercedes Flagship for 20 years.
    The level of technical sophistication rivals some cars even to today.
    But, obviously all these gadgets now need attention after some 45 + years.
    And these cars still largely don’t get the appreciation that they deserve, mostly because the majority of people don’t understand or know what these cars are all about.
    Ask me how I know …..

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  19. Horse Radish

    @ Stephen Walton
    @ SuperAlfisti

    Assessment of a car is difficult in person let alone by photos, as these can be shot very subjectively.
    Having said that I don’t think that to be the case here. Just point and shoot……
    The interior on these cars are very sensitive to moisture and Ohio isn’t necessarily dry.
    Mileage could be accurate, but at the same time irrelevant if there is moisture in the engine/-compartment, or as observed in the interior. And of course 40 years don’t go unnoticed.
    Only close-up inspection will reveal, if the parts are repairable/restaurable or need replacement.
    There must be a reason, why the car was parked (most likely the air-suspension) and that problem still exists, although compounded by decades of storage.
    SOME corrections are in order:
    THE ENGINE is NOT the same as in the Gullwing.
    Concept and part design maybe, probably as close as two, let’s say BMW, engines from different decades. THIS engine is an ALL-ALUMINUM block with steel sleeves and therefore expensive to rebuild, so it would be important to examine the cylinder wall, if at all possible, it could mean a difference of thousands of dollars to be spent.
    As for the Air-suspension, it’s not that complicated, but needs more attention than your conventional coil springs of course. However more rewarding in ride comfort AND handling.
    And lastly: it is silly of the seller not to sell internationally.
    Somebody will buy it and just flip it overseas.
    These cars are all going back to Europe, as there is not enough appreciation for them here…..

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  20. Horse Radish

    @ paul
    @ Eric Killorin

    $$$, Therein lies the dilemma.
    But hey, it’s only money, right ?
    As they all came here in the seventies and eighties, these old Benzes were cheap (strong US Dollar to the German Mark) and fancy transportation in whatever used up condition they arrived at these shores. and not holding up to Autobahn standards.
    Now that American affluence and the value of the dollar (I am as sorry about that as anyone) has faded they are all going back.
    Has nothing to do with shallow minds, just with the above mentioned appreciation.
    Compare this to a 1967 Pontiac Firebird or a Chevy Camaro SS/RS.
    What would you spend more on ? a Mercedes or the above ?
    It’s all about opinion/ angle…..

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  21. Grant

    Did this one have the pneumatic rear end suspension? If so, it looks like its totally shot now! still a good looking car and mechanically generally robust. With that low mileage its just about run-in. My old FINTAIL 230S had twice that mileage and still went like a bomb!

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