Gray Market Import: 1967 Mercedes 250S

This pretty 1967 Mercedes-Benz 250S was imported as a gray market car way back in 1967, which explains why it seemingly retains all of its desirable pieces of Europe-only equipment. Take note of the glass headlights, yellow driving lamps, and what are likely the original European license plates still attached – cars like this don’t come up that often. It also means it likely skipped being federalized, never having all that fun-sapping safety and emissions equipment installed. Find it here on eBay where bidding is at $8,800 with the reserve unmet.

The seller notes the Mercedes spent the last 20 years in a barn, which apparently treated it pretty well considering he believes that’s original paint we’re looking at. The car retains its old-school 1967 Washington license plates, which further validates how unspoiled this car is. When you find a gray market car that hasn’t gone through the federalization process, the most appealing aspect of this is that it hasn’t been fitted with power-robbing emissions equipment, offering slightly better performance than a standard U.S.-spec car.

It also means you get the prettier glass headlights and chrome bumpers, but the big, park-like safety bumpers weren’t an issue yet when this car was new. But finding a manual transmission in one of Mercedes’ larger sedans was a challenge, and a Euro-market car offers much better odds at finding three pedals inside instead of two. The interior shows incredibly well, with clean carpets and upholstery, and tired-but-clean wood trim. The seller notes just one crack in the dash, and that everything in the cabin – including the radio – still works.

Engine-wise, the seller notes no issues and that it starts and runs with ease. All fluids were changed out, and the gas tank was dropped and refurbished. These are long-lived vehicles with the right care and attention, and this one was clearly loved before it went into the barn. I’ve said it before that Washington State just seems to be like an old folks’ home for classic cars and trucks, and this is yet another example of a rarely-seen survivor that was easily returned to driver condition. Gray-market Euro cars will always be hot, and this one is worth a look.


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  1. RayT Member

    Jeff, I’m not 100% sure, so you — or some other, more knowledgeable reader — can correct me if I’m wrong, but all those home-market parts on a 1967 “personal import” really wouldn’t have been an issue unless local law enforcement whipped out the state vehicle code and said “Hmmmmm, no sealed-beams….” I believe requirements for “federalization” didn’t come along until the mid-70s.

    What the buyer of this 250S did get was paint and trim that might not have been readily available to U.S. drivers. I quite like the looks of both the exterior and the upholstery.

    A friend in high school had one of these (I think it was a 220 or 230) and it was a very nice car. I particularly remember the four-on-the-tree, as the only car I knew of at that time that was similarly equipped was my Hillman Minx(!).

    So far, the bidding hasn’t pushed it out of reasonable territory. I may have to watch this one.

    Like 7
    • James H Alton

      I’m also pretty sure that in 1967 “Federalized” meant sealed beam headlights. Consider the “other” cars from Stuttgart: Porsche. 1967 Porsches came to the US with covered sealed beam headlights, no pollution controls, and ineffective bumpers.

      Like 1
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I agree RayT, on the personal import problems. 55 is the speed limit on county roads here, 65 Or 70 seems to be the normal now. I really think the meth problem has them more focused than speed. This is a great rig. I have been searching for an analog BMW fiver with the manual tranny for over a year. Nice ones are few and pretty expensive. Good luck if you buy, take care, Mike.

    Like 2
  3. PDXBryan

    I don’t think there was any US emissions requirements yet in ’67. This really is a beauty, with just the right amount of patina.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      IIRC, only California had emissions requirements in the late 1960s. California cars had things like air pumps that weren’t found on 49 state cars.

      Like 2
      • BTG88

        1975 is the current cut-off for grandfathered emissions in CA.

        Like 1
  4. ken tilly UK Member

    Whoever buys this car will not be dissapointed in any way. Not the prettiest ever Merc IMO but this car, if properly cared for, will last just about forever.

    Like 1
  5. Tom c

    Nice car , love to have it .

    Like 1
  6. Tom c

    There seems to be overspray where there shouldn’t be , I doubt this old girl is in original paint. Still a nice car though

    Like 1
  7. Mark Epperson Member

    It is Saturday so I can’t check our Nazi California DMV on the legality of licensing this Merc in Ca. I have a 73 Jensen Healey and 71 Alfa Spider I had no problems registering. This is a very nice Mercedes and hopefully the reserve is not too high. One hour left and I am very tempted.

    Like 2
  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Dec 07, 2019 , 11:35AM
    Current bid:US $8,800.00
    Reserve not met

    Like 1
  9. John Dunshee Member

    My last tour was in Augsburg, Ger. from 81-84. I drove a 73 Mercedes 280E. I loved that car. I had it up to 225 kph on the Munich Autobahn and it was solid. But that’s where I chickened out. Love to have this car but I should work on my 1956 GMC pickup. Ah, those were the days.

  10. Eigil

    The carburated S model is very reliable, as opposed to the mechanically injected SE versions. The SE injection system is a modified low pressure diesel system and not well designed for gas, as its too dry to lube pump elements and injectors. When the SE’s fail, the injection system is usually wore out and not parts are available. Easiest option is a homebulit megasquirt or carbs.

    • Yohan

      Hmmm ?? Sorry but everything that’s been said above is the exact opposite of the truth, are you talking about the sale model ?

  11. jimmy the orphan

    Believe me in 67 in our state the cops would never know the difference between a gray market car and a import. nor care. Things in those days were a great deal different than things now. BTW our Wa. plates changed in 63′ so the plates are correct on this very nice car. These cars were extremely well made and built to last. At least twice as long as any western car made car at the time. If it hasn’t been driven for so long and looks as good as it does with a 4 speed on the floor! I just hope the reserve isn’t to high cause this is a cool car. later Jimmy.

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