Nice But No Go: 1970 Mercedes 250

This lovely looking, but somewhat forlorn 1970 Mercedes 250 four door sedan is for sale here on craigslist in Darien, Connecticut. This is another example of those CL ads where sellers somehow expect that saying virtually nothing about the overall condition of the cars they are offering for sale, and also providing very few photographs, will somehow magically draw buyers to them.

At least for me, this sort of sales approach just does not work. This car does have potential, and somewhat surprisingly to me, “classic” Mercedes sedans like this one seem to have appreciated considerably. Hagerty says that a 1970 Mercedes 250 four door sedan should be worth around $9,600 in “good” condition. This one is for sale for only $4,999, but despite the body and paint looking very solid, this car has one big problem. According to the seller, the mileage on this car is about 150,000, and while the engine ran strong when it was parked, lo these many years ago, now it “might be seized.”

According to the seller, it’s got its original hubcaps (wow!) and “little rust” as well as a blue leather interior (not pictured), and he rightly calls this car “stately.” Despite these “selling points,” it seems to me the engine issue might scare off more than a few buyers. MB engines are wonderfully engineered, but some of you experts out there please correct me if I am wrong, won’t rebuilding this car’s six cylinder 2496cc engine just about do in your budget for repairs and make you underwater on day one? I love the looks of this car, and it’s great that the body and hopefully the interior are so clean, but this asking price seems way too high. More pictures and a lower price might get it done. Offers anyone?

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Comments

  1. FLman

    Darien is a playground for the wealthy on the east coast. So explains the asking price for this. Also, since its along the snowy rust belt and Long Island Sound I would expect a considerable amount of rust repair will be needed.

  2. Justin Schmidt

    Did the 250 have leather as an option? Every W114 and W115 sedan I’ve seen have used MB-Tex and I’ve only seen leather interiors on the coupes. My W114 280 has leather front seats only because I poached them from a W116 450 SEL.

    • Dave Wright

      Leather was on the long list of options available on the car but MB Tex is so good most people can’t tell the difference.

  3. Zaphod

    Beirut Taxi. Nothing stately about it: no ride, no style, plastic interior, big US model drive train problems, the 250 was a notch above the entry level and suffered from too many accessories hung off the engine. I can remember when the only selling point was the Becker radio…

    • Justin Schmidt

      To be honest, my malaise yellow ’76 280 sedan turns more heads and gets more positive feedback than any car I’ve owned in the last 10 years except for my ’66 Volvo Amazon wagon.

      There are some things about these cars that you don’t really see anymore; the high profile, large greenhouse, and spacious trunk just to name a few. Where I live, the streets become a lunar landscape after winter and the old Benz floats over potholes in a way that I wish my more modern daily driver could.

      The reputation of the W114 and W115 as a Beirut Taxi is well-deserved; a Greek taxi driver with a 2.8 million mile 240D W115 sedan is nipping on the heels of Irv Gordon and his 3 million Mile Volvo 1800S.

      For a city dweller who owns a classic, the best part about this car is that this that it isn’t that big; it’s about the size of a Civic, and it has visibility you just cannot find in a modern car. My only complaint is that I didn’t start off with a better example. In my defense, I thought I’d flip it a couple months down the road, but I grew attached to my sad-eyed Benz.

  4. Bill

    Ambitious price for a non runner. Nice car. but I’d have a hard time loosening $1k for it in this state.

  5. Mr.S

    The 5K would be a so so value, if it would run.

  6. Eclipse

    Honestly, it is sickening that so many people seem to think Mercedes lined all of their cars with gold. It is an old car, plain and simple. Was it expensive when it was first built? Sure, but so was a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. If you can’t provide extensive maintenance documentation or at least better pictures then this is no different than a mass produced `56 Chevy Bel-Air. A classic? Sure, I’ll grant you that one. But worth $5K non-running, with rust? No, son, just no.

  7. jcs

    Actually, I would be much more interested in the ’56 Chevy. This MB 250 leaves me cold (the thought of a frozen engine leaves me frozen).

  8. Nick G

    Pinched tailpipe(s) is a bad omen. I’ve seen valves burnt by this. Could this be the reason for parking it?

  9. Puhnto

    Has anyone else here ever seen a blue interior in a black Mercedes? Red, grey, and tan, sure, but blue? Seems “off” to me. Anyone else?

    • Rob Stoesser

      Yes. Blue on blue 1970 250 (S?) my parents bought new when I was a kid. 5spd.

  10. Eric Dashman

    I bought this same model from someone in Richmond, VA for $1500 and thought I was getting a nice car. Turns out that the tin worm had done a good deal of work (rockers, quarters, left front fender), the transmission was wonky, and the 2 4 barrel carbs needed rebuilding. It was a really nice driver when I got it put together finally…very comfortable and had the tightest radius of any car I’ve ever driven, as well as handling very well. I always liked this particular body style. Parts were extremely expensive. The carb rebuild kits were in the $150 range. I had to replace the heater fan. A GM fan was $35…the MB fan was $225 and this was 20 years ago. I had to take out the entire dashboard to replace the fan…the worst car job I’ve ever done (I used to think replacing an MGB brake master was the worst). Needless to say, I lost a bundle on this ride. Sold it for what I paid. BTW, my car was brown with a tan/beige interior. I’ve been a lot more cautious with my automotive purchases subsequently.

  11. Woodie Man

    All valid criticisms. The Trumpian nature of the car’s location certainly indicates an individual who thinks highly of his own stuff. That said, I always liked these early seventes 250’s. Prefer a C two door with a sunroof and floor shift…but I could live with a 4 door ( no 4 dr hater here…at least when it comes to Benz’). Me thinks the top end of the price range for this car, if it ran and was damn near perfect would be 4500.

  12. Dave Wright

    Lots of experiance with these cars. As said above, these were Taxies even today in many parts of the world. I would prefer a diesel with a manual transmission. This is mostly a pre-plastic car…….a good thing…..that has great build quality. Once fixed, they stay fixed. I am old, so price seems really high but I tend to avoid commenting on price. These are simple jewel like utilitarian cars, a really pristine one might have some collector interest at the right price but they are best when driven and used. On the hardtop version of this car, Mercedes was trying to build a les expensive coupe that would help there sales. The base car is the same but in non typical Mercedes fashion, they were not done very well. The usually rattle free bank vault doors rattle. The 280e engine used in many was not the best. When they broke, the cost of repair vs the value of the car send many of them to the junk yard. The single overhead cam 250 was a more robust engine even with its lower performance.

  13. Keith

    Currently own a 1970 280s four door. White with blue interior. About the same condition as the one in the posting, possibly better since his photos tell us little to nothing. Have had it for sale at $3k and can’t give it away. This guy is simply asking too much.

  14. Rustytech Member

    If it ran when parked, and now seized I’d have to ask, how hot did it get before they decided they better shut it off?

  15. David Frank David F Member

    As for expenses for repair of these old Mercedes, my 1965 220S is similar in many ways to this 250 and has been reliable and inexpensive to repair. I restored it over 20 years ago and it’s been a great driver since with no real problems. Parts are easy to get from Classic Mercedes and some are surprisingly inexpensive. (New bars for the grill were $2 each, the outside mirror glass, including spring and bezel was $13, full Mercedes list price). I’m sure prices have gone way up by now, but they are still not that bad.

    • Dave Wright

      I am with you. Many times I see shops taking advantage of the owner because he is driving a “Mercedes”. These are quite simple cars with solid engineering. Most work required can be done by an average mechanic with few special tools. Mercedes also prints incredible manuals. I have owned them so many years, I don’t find the parts that expensive with a few exceptions. The internet has helped to bring the prices of parts down. Many of them are made by outside contractors like Bendix, Bosch, ATE and are available without going through Mercedes. With a little shopping parts cost should not be a big problem and like I said earlier, once properly fixed…………they stay fixed.

  16. Jeff Surratt

    I own a 1966 250 SE with the gasoline mechanical fuel injected motor with the 4 speed. Purchased 4 years ago, for $2,500. NOS parts are out there for cheap. I purchased a starter and alternator for $50 each free shipping out of CA. I live in MT and the car starts in subzero temps as long as I remember to plug it in. I love driving it around my town, I get the Fonz 2 thumbs up from every one that sees it.

    • Dave Wright

      That is a different car. A large (S) body. It is off course a great one, not a taxi cab but an entry level large car with a small motor. It is more related to my 73 300SEL 4.5. I love the fuel injected engines as well as the large bodies. Yours is the first year, I had a buddy in Germany with one like yours with a manual transmission. Many came without air conditioning. Nice car.

      • Dave Wright

        They never installed a Diesel in your S body……large body Diesels didn’t come along until after the next (1974) generation S bodies.

  17. Rolf Poncho 455

    I like a good strong car that’s what a Japanese man
    said to the press at a car show in Japan he owned
    a Mercedes benz

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