Star Cruiser: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL


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I love searching through auction listings online, but ideally I would rather stumble upon an unadvertised estate sale with rows of classics up for grabs (for a screaming bargain, of course!) I’m not sure if that’s what occurred for the seller of this and several other vintage Mercedes-Benz SLs, but it sounds like he scored quite a haul of these desirable soft-tops, even if they need a lot of work. Find out more here on eBay (and check out some great pictures!) from the seller located in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Imagine getting a call that your buddy has discovered a long-vacant house that is chock full of antiques and other collectibles. The auction company is coming tomorrow, and everything must go so the property can be made sale-ready. You get there – some china, old Coke bottles, handmade furniture, and a smattering of oil paintings. Then you wander around to the rear of the building, where a single car garage opens up to an expanse of a dimly-lit finished basement packed with project cars, unknown to everyone but the house’s former inhabitant.


While it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure many of you will agree that finding a barn full of Benzes is one of the better outcomes of the dream scenario I outlined above. The seller notes that he acquired this 280SL and several other classic Mercedes from an estate sale in Georgia. The pictures in the seller’s Picasa gallery indicate he made use of a large car hauler to bring his winnings home, which includes at least two other SLs – but that’s just what he has for sale right now. What else did the seller free from the basement of this mysterious Georgia estate?


This 1970 280SL will need a lot of work to bring it back to investment-grade quality. The interior is shot, the body has serious surface rust, and the chassis looks risky at best. But, with the bigger motor and a hard-top included, it’d be a rewarding car to restore to daily-driver status. I’d like to see some European headlights swapped in, along with the slimmer euro-market bumpers. Be sure to take a look at the cars when  they were first discovered in the dank musty basement – makes you wonder what else might be lurking behind closed doors!

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  1. Mark E

    Appears that these were discovered in a pole barn with a dirt floor which partially explains their crusty with rust condition. The seller also appears to specialize in MBs and Porsches which kind of explains how he found these. I mean I owned a Packard and belonged to several Packard clubs back in the 1970s. During this same period I’d run across old Packards for sale quite regularly. Sometimes the sellers would come to ME. Thought it was a part of the times but maybe it works even now if you’re well known and have a wide enough network…

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  2. DolphinMember

    These have ridden the increase in vintage M-B sportscar values and are probably worth at least considering for restoration now, as opposed to years ago when nobody would even consider sinking big money into a clapped out old Mercedes like this even if it was an SL.

    Perfect 190SLs go for $200K and up at auction now, but these later SLs aren’t close to that yet, so lots of specialized experience with these would be needed to say whether it’s worth putting up good money to buy, and then more money to get to the point of use or sale. These are very complex, and good work and parts come at a high price.

    So I wondered what the comps look like…….

    There are some to consider on the Hemmings site right now, like a ’68 280SL with 2 tops that looks like brand new compared to the ebay car, at $42.5K. Yes it’s from The Beverly Hills CC, but take a look before you dismiss it, at least as a comp for the Ebay car:

    I saw many, many other 280SLs on Hemmings in the $40K – 70K range that look really good are don’t need any restoration. There’s even a Euro 280SL that looks pretty good for about $12K:

    The Ebay car is bid to almost $15K with about 2 days left and the reserve not met. It looks to me that, in comparison to the good looking cars for sale on Hemmings right now, you can’t get there from here with this Ebay car.

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    • Dan h

      A renovation on a rusty w113 will set you back $40-$60k. A true restoration will easily surpass $100k.
      Been there done that.
      A far wiser choice would be to buy a clean bodied car for $20k-$40.

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    • ConservativesDefeated

      Totally crazy bidding on this.

      No way can you ever recoup your investment. (He says as 911T’s climb towards 50 grand). But seriously you can buy them all day for 15-40k as Dolphin noted.

      I had a beautiful, admittedly smaller engine, Euro ’67 230SL. A minor fender bender causing the rust to be revealed in the inner fender wall of a front fender…and the insurance company totaled it! It was a beautiful car. Perfect interior hardtop, exterior, engine etc. Daily driver and so I went along with the insurance company. So dumb..

      Buy the best you can afford. This would not be among them.

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  3. jim s

    would i like to find something like this and be able to resell/flip them, yes, maybe. would i like to be the next buyer/new owner, no. but someone is very interested in them. great find

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  4. Rich

    Those floor pans look shot. This poor car is rotted pretty badly. Not worth 15k that’s for sure. Based on my experience, there is twice as much trouble hidden beneath the visible damage.

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  5. BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

    ‘All’ it takes is space, time & money & you got one sweet ride…with the top down.

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  6. Jeff LaveryAuthor

    I’m always caught between the rush of buying a project and the eloquent common-sense approach to saving and purchasing the best you can find.

    Personally, I think I’m always going to be in the camp of looking for cheap projects to bring back to life – just my personality, I guess. But this does seem like a big jump to make into project-car ownership, especially if your goal is to do it “right.”

    Still, I’ll always nod my head sympathetically to other poor saps like me who can only see “potential” in a project instead of “potential for bankruptcy.”

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  7. CharlieMember

    I borrowed a ’72 plus or minus, with the V8,automatic, for a week from a friend a year ago when I needed a car for a week. It was gutless, and consumed gasoline (maybe 11 mpg) at a prodigious rate. It was an unrestored, well maintained, car, maybe the engine needed sorting out, as the Brits say, but was silent and vibration free at idle, so I figured it was emission controls that strangled the engine, but it certainly was strangled. So I would be cautious if you think you are going to get a performance car out of a ’70’s MB. (My Dodge Caravan easily out accelerated it up to 70 MPH or so.)

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  8. RickMNJ

    Charlie: the 113 enjoyed it’s last year in 1971 and NEVER had a V8. The later 107 cars were made in very large numbers. You are not comparing apples to apples.

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