W114 Survivor: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280

This seems like an incredible deal for a running classic Mercedes-Benz that is largely solid and still presents very well despite ten years in storage. The seller notes he has lost his storage arrangement since discovering this 1973 280 and beginning its reconditioning, so he’s listed it here on the Barn Finds Classifieds to help it find a new home. There are some isolated rust spots and the seller notes it will need a carburetor rebuild. That said, it’s the last year for the prettier small bumpers and the first year of the twin-cam engine, and it still goes into all the gears as it should. The asking price is just $1,995 and it’s located in Plummer, ID.

The W114 sedan may not be the most sought-after car on the food chain of vintage Mercedes, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive as a fun winter project. The 280 just needed its gas drained and a fresh fuel pump before the seller was able to fire it up once again after its decade-long sleep. The interior still looks quite handsome, with that unmistakable MBTex upholstery tha seemingly survives even the worst of conditions. The wood trim on the dash and glovebox has clearly seen better days and often perishes after prolonged exposure to the sun, moisture, or both. The Mercedes features a column-shift arrangement, which I believe was up to the customer’s choosing whether they wanted the shifter here or on the floor.

The engine bay is very presentable, and overall, this 280 sedan presents as a car that wasn’t necessarily neglected before going into storage. The seller reports there is no smoking on startup and that the engine warms up without issue; while he doesn’t go into specifics about the carb faults, it’s pretty easy to guess why he recommends a rebuild or replacement. It’s a good opportunity to upgrade to a Weber, or perhaps skip the carb altogether and switch to an electronic fuel injection system like the Holley Sniper EFI kit. The good news is you won’t spend much time chasing rust, as it’s limited to the areas behind the front and rear wheels.

Those smaller bumpers make all the difference on these compact sedans, which also got smooth taillight lenses as opposed to the later design with the ridges. I actually sold a set of those lenses off of a junkyard car for a pretty penny a few years back, and always kicked myself for not grabbing the bumpers, too! The seller is including some desirable spare parts, such as new door seals, front and rear windshield seals, trunk seal, and window channel seals, along with a new windshield. This is an easy-to-revive project that doesn’t need much to be a classic European car you can begin enjoying almost immediately once the carb is sorted out.


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  1. alphasud Member

    To clarify things on this car. I am the 4th owner but the car to the best of my knowledge the car was bought and used in the north Idaho area. I saw this on CL a couple years ago and thought this would make a nice project. My original intention was to install a 3.2 inline six from a 95 W124. Had the power train and a lot of the parts lined up but like everything in life I couldn’t find the time. As Is the Solex 4a1 4bbl. carb needs gone trough to make it run properly, rear calipers need rebuilt, and I saw the front subframe bushings need replaced. The rest of the suspension is tight so no work there to make it safe. The A/C was never changed over to R134a so probably charging with a R12 substitute or propane as some do would be all that needed. The previous owner did pay to have the radiator rebuilt. I purchased all the rubber needed to keep this car leak and draft free and the windshield was difficult to find and I got the last one on the west coast. Minimal rust and the black spots are where the previous owner painted POR-15 to keep surface rust from spreading.
    I hope this car finds a good home as there is a lot of life left in this one.

    Like 15
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Nice work alphasud! Take care, Mike.

      Like 4
  2. JCA Member

    Get it running and enjoy driving this affordable little tank. Looks like a rare color combo with that green interior too…

    Like 3
  3. Frank Member

    W114 models the last era of the MB’s that were built by hand. I had a 84 300TD drove the car for 10 years and 130k. I replace tires, brakes, power antenna and glow plugs. One of the best cars I ever owned.

  4. chrlsful

    yeah, agreed, last of the best (I claim 1 more decade to the W123). Thanks for sharing w/us here, alphasud. Also the details, as honesty sells dollar for dollar…
    (not pennies on the dollar)

  5. Hollywood Collier

    Refreshing to see an honest, heart felt review and listing from a seller that seems to be a good man, and a fellow car guy. I tip my hat to you sir.

  6. alphasud Member

    Sold the car to a person in Tennessee who wants me to do the mechanical restoration work so he can pick the car up in Idaho and drive it back late winter/early spring. Thanks for all the positive comments and I’m happy the car will see the road again.

    Like 3

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