Dunkelblau Rescue: 1966 Mercedes 300SE

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While I do love the shilloutte of a classic Mercedes coupe, there are times when even the prettiest of shapes can seem beyond rescuing. However, you may disagree so take a gander at this 1966 Mercedes 300SE here on eBay, which is in desperate need of a deep-pocketed owner or permanent retirement so other owners can keep their W112-series Benz on the road. The Buy-It-Now is $6,000 and there’s just over a day left on the auction.

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The W112 suffers from a predicament like so many high-dollar vehicles when new that can be bought for relative peanuts in dilapidated project form: a high cost to restore (properly) and values that merely keep up with what you’ve invested in a finished car (if not trailing slightly behind). From the trouble-prone pneumatic suspension to an interior filled with expensive wood trim, these are not projects for the faint-hearted or light of wallet. Factor in the corrosion issues this example suffers from and the picture is not pretty – or cheap.

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With plenty of chrome to refinish and lacking a hood, it’s easy to see the expenses start to pile up. It’s a shame, because this seems like an otherwise highly-original 300SE, from the Becker Europa radio still in the dash to its desirable sunroof configuration. Factor in the powerful M189 motor, four-wheel disc brakes and an interior like only Mercedes can design and it’s almost impossible not to be blinded by visions of “what if” when pondering what it would look like with that Dunkelblau paint restored and the red leather interior reupholstered.

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Did I mention the interior is also a disaster? Well, it is, and you can see the seller or someone else in its ownership file has begun removing desirable parts, from the original steering wheel to the gauges. Frankly, I’m surprised the Becker is still in the dash. For $6,000, you’re buying a lot of pain and years of restoration; alternatively, for $2K, I see a wholly usable parts car for someone keeping a similar model on the road. What are your thoughts on the future of this once-grand tourer?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Sunbeamdon

    Guten ruf!

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  2. hhaleblian

    Take two Tylenol and go to bed.

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  3. Dairymen

    Not all cars are mend to be restored and this is a prime example. It can’t be enjoyed the way it is, so it will make a great parts car if he’s willing to take a reasonable price.

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    • Dave Wright

      That is exactly what the junk yard owner said when he sold me a 1955 Porsche Speedster for 100.00 35 years ago. I spent a year and 10,000 fixing it, drove it for a couple of years and sold it for 30,000 when that was real money…….today it is worth close to 300,000. A Cabrolet version of this exact car is selling for the mid 100,000 dollar range today. If it was a little later model 3.5 Cabrolet, they are selling for 250,000-350,000. This car can only go up in value and they are not making any more. I have seen these rusted much worse repaired.

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  4. sunbeamdon

    What I should have said: Ausschluss der Gewährleistung!

    My Canadian/Irish is slipping a bit!

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  5. Alan Brase

    I think it might be possible to change the out the air suspension for the steel springs of the 280 SEL. That would be a game changer. The Mechanical injection (Einspritz) is somewhat troublesome but the fix is to just use the thing and keep clean oil in it. (Benzine/ petrol Bosch pumps need their own supply of fresh oil because, unlike diesel there is no lubricity.) Bill Mashinter (the Bosch pump go to guy in the midwest) once told me the fitting tolerance of the plungers or whatever they were called) and it was a few /10,000 inch.
    And they were available as replacement parts, but not inexpensive. I think in the 1980’s a set of plungers for a 6.3 V8 were about $1000 each. That is, an EXTRA $8000 on top of the bill for the service on the pump.
    The 300 SE only has 6, of course, but still, what maybe just make a manifold and put 2 Weber- Holley progressives on it?
    It could be done. (May lightning strike me dead?)

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    • Dave Wright

      You are concentrating on minor issues. I have owned many of this vintage air suspended cars as well as 300’s with this engine. Neither are the biggest challenge with this car. I just did the air suspension on my 1973 300 SEL. It was quite inexpensive compared with the old days and needed very few parts after siting for several years. I find most problems with the system involve operator error or misunderstanding. I have owned 4 300se 6 cylinder cars from 1965 to 1970, the engines are nearly bulletproof. Never had a head gasket or injection problem, had to change one water pump in 100,000 miles driven. The interior will be expensive……but worth it. I am doing the one in my 73 this fall. It will be around 10,000 total but perfect. The transmission could be costly but the real challenge will be to find a qualified tech. Europe is leading the market on these cars like many others these days and with the quality factory support available this car will come together well. Off course, the cheepest way to do it today would be to send it to one of the Eastern Europe restoration shops. My wife’s Hungarian cousin is a factory trained Ford mechanic and makes 350.00 a week as a master technition outside of Budapest.

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  6. Maurice Mentens

    I call this an Ersatzteilträger and any other plan Wahnsinn!

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  7. Chebby

    Quite obviously stripped for parts, now someone is being sought to restore it….

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  8. jaymes

    I bet the becker is inop

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  9. Rando

    Bag it. SBC. Tremec. 18″ wheels. Gas Monkey it. Sell for huge profit.

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    • Alan Brase

      I doubt Gas Monkey often makes a profit. George H.W. Bush had a name for it: VOODOO ECONOMICS. Without the small stipend from the network, Richard could not keep his lights on.

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  10. Chris A.

    I have a shop manual for the 300SE’s. Every time I get the itch for one of these, I just pull out the manual and read the sections on suspension, engine, brakes and the DB auto transmission. Way beyond my wallet and skill set, but I still want one as they are a beautiful car. This one deserves to be rebuilt/restored as there may be just enough left. Could it be done for $100K?

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  11. 68 fastback

    Sell anything useful mechanically to someone who needs that stuff for their pure resto – then stick in modern easy to service local mechanicals … Drive it and appreciate the beautiful shape every day …. Peace to the purists !

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  12. 68 fastback

    Or buy this fully restored one in Aus

    They are beautiful looking cars for sure !

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  13. Brad

    Auction over, nobody bit. Awfully rough, I’ve seen the same coupe body style (not sure which engine it was) for $9K in serviceable condition in the past couple years. There’s one for $14K near me currently that looks to be in far better shape. This is a very sad little car.

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  14. Steve

    Well it’s sold, so someone took it on for the $6K he was asking. I’d love to see the finished pics but more than that I’d like to see receipts that it takes to get it back to looking/running good.

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    • Dave Wright

      There is an identical Cabrolet version of this on eBay right now with good photos, 250,000.00t. The 300 is the top of the line, best wood, leather and everything.

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  15. Sunbeamdon

    Auf Wiedesehen, sucker!

    Side-bar, my beloved Canucks women’s soccer team just beat Germany – first time in 13 matches!

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  16. Jubjub

    Awesome colors. Sad state though. Hope someone with deeper pockets and more motivation than myself brings it back. Fortunately, many body parts interchange or can be adapted from sedans.

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  17. matt grant

    why buy this one when you can buy a running one for about $20M? the issue with the 300 series is the suspension and the cost is simply outrageous for parts. i had a 66 300SE (non air suspension 108, very rare, only 600 built) and it was delightful to drive. and the ONLY reason i bought the car was that it did not have the air suspension to worry about. my best friend had a 300SEL 3.5 and it was always on the ground.

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  18. Pete

    I bought a great one a few years back for $2000. Lots of fun-great cruiser. This one doesn’t make sense…

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