1978 Mercedes-Benz W116 450 SEL 6.9 V8 from UK and Ireland


Wallet-emptying, glorious beast!


I bought this as a drivable project. It had been neglected by previous owners over the last 10 years. During my year of ownership I have done the following so far...

Full engine service (including an 18 litre oil change).

Replace all 5 suspension spheres with new MB.

New exhaust (half from MB, half custom).

New brake hoses, calipers, discs, pads and park brake shoes, all around.

Fix blower motor.

New headlight wipers.

Various other small parts.

Extensive underfloor rust renovation.

General Comments:

What a fantastic car that I feel lucky to own. It has so far cost me a fortune to bring it up together, and next year it will be going into a body shop to have a full strip down respray, and I'm toying over whether to leave the seats original or refurbish. The wood will be refurbished.

With the new spheres it drives like no other, the comfort is uncanny. The engine is a work of art and I also just enjoy looking at the car.

Don't worry about fuel costs, that will be the smallest expense of owning one of these. Parts are mainly expensive, lots are NLA so you have to be creative.

Prices are rising all the time, so if you want one, get it whilst you can, but make sure you have deep pockets!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2016

1978 Mercedes-Benz W116 280SE 2.8 gas from North America


I love the car


None so far.

General Comments:

The car rides like a dream --- super comfortable.

So far, it is very dependable; never failed me.

A/C could be colder, but the old York compressor is dying.

Steering is straight as an arrow; no vibrations anywhere.

One air leak in driver's door; fix it later.

Paint is beautiful (white); the car turns heads now and then.

Gas mileage is not great; 14-15 in and around town.

All said, I love it, and plan to fix the little things.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th June, 2008

31st Jul 2008, 20:19

I have a '78 280SE in Dallas, Texas, where it is very HOT right now. I put in a new Sanden a/c compressor, only to see the vent temperature go UP! The old York, clatter though it did, gave vent temps from 8 to 11 degrees lower than the new one. Frustrating! Other than the cooling issue, I love the car.


Garland, Texas.

5th Nov 2010, 20:44

Update on my 280SE A/C. I changed the refrigerant from 134 back to R12, and the car is definitely cooler now. It's not as cold as I'd like, but now it's livable, even when it's 100 degrees outside.

I've had to fix a number of things on/about the car (not cheap), but nothing I shouldn't have expected due to its age. I'm happy with it, love driving it around town, and yes, it does turn a head once in a bit. Circa 14 MPG around town if I don't cram the accelerator to the floor, and it's premium, which impacts my wallet, but hey, it's a classic Mercedes, not a Ford.


10th Apr 2011, 19:59

I love my little 78. Yes, it is a pig on gas, but you could not ask for a more reliable car. I love it, and it was the best Birthday gift ever.

1978 Mercedes-Benz W116 450 SE 4.5 V8 from Netherlands


I love this car


Small things which you can expect from a car of 28 years old.

- Electric roof doesn't work.

- mechanism of left front window needs to be replaced

- Sometimes rear right window doesn't work, usually it does work fine.

- Central door lock doesn't work anymore, it leaks vacuum somewhere.

- Cruise Control doesn't work anymore, has something to do with the vacuum.

General Comments:

Except the small problems with the window and roof it's a great car. The engine is great and very strong. Has a great deep V8 sound and with the 225 HP and huge torque it's very fast. The interior is very German, but very functional. The handling of the 450 is great and you have no idea that you're driving a big car (except for the fuel consumption).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd August, 2006

1978 Mercedes-Benz W116 280SE 2.7 F/Inj. from Australia and New Zealand




General wear and tear; spark plugs, points needed replacing. Central locking system takes getting used to -- it shouldn't.

General Comments:

With the exception of a bit of normal wear and tear, this car is certainly a beautiful ride. It floats along like a boat, so may not be suited to sportier drivers, however it is about as comfortable as a car could be. Also, it is uber-reliable. With 375000 on the clock, it starts every turn, blows no smoke, and rides like a dream. The largest problem I am facing is that this is my first car. After owning a Mercedes, what can one upgrade to?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th January, 2006

14th Jan 2006, 03:41


In a few months I shall be purchasing my first car (hopefully). I have been doing much research and after observing/riding in the vehicles that my friends drive, as well as much research I have decided on getting a Mitsubishi Magna (between the years of 1996 and 1998). However, after looking at recent Mercedes Benz vehicles from the mid seventies through the eighties I have seen some beautiful pieces of machinery! From this I have become intrigued by the possible idea of purchasing one of these beauties instead.

I am however reluctant to purchase a car from this era due to possible running costs and repairs should the need arise.

Can anyone please assist in this decision? What are the build qualities like in this era of Mercedes and what do you suggest?

Any help would be great!