I have a Jan. 1980 300sd and am very happy with Chaya (that's her name)... Bought her with 145K miles, and have put on a few thousand in the last 2 1/2 years.
If you get a good one, it may need no work. Just find a good, reliable, and decently priced mechanic! I had to have the transmission replaced soon after bought her, then the brakes and parts of the suspension went soon. Then, all the power windows. Still, all added up, not that expensive ($2000 for the car, $2000 for the transmission I think, $750 for 3 windows, ? for brakes, $300 I think for the suspension, and $300 to stop some engine compartment rattling).
And, I will soon convert her to run on used vegetable oil I will get at restaurants, so she will run for free forever!!
I think I will keep Chaya my whole life. She is gorgeous (a little flashy!) in a 70s disco way, with great handling and great power, especially at speed!!
Enjoy!! - Fred.
I own a gray-blue interior 1977 280S, purchased in PS Motors in London in 1979 -for export because the steering wheel´s on the left side- and brought to San José, Costa Rica at that time. No doubt this model was Car of the Year several times! Problems?: Small ones. It now has has some central lock problems and the front left power window is not working; locating spare parts here is not easy, even though there are some importers of old Mercedes´ cheaper parts. I also have a 1974 W115 230.4 white -red. And a white W203, just to try a new one. All are for every day use and I expect never to sell them.
I recently bought my first car which happened to be the Legendary Benz W116. The car had been parked for almost 5years and I have done nothing much apart from replacing the points, battery, warmer & the silver star. It happens to be the only of it's type in Kigali, Rwanda (Central Africa) and coupled with it's comfort and ability to cruise like a Roadster. I Sure luv this car... can only upgrade to a 600Series.
Please note that the original reviewer, who described the W116 as a big boat, may not be aware that this generation Mercedes Benz was the sort of car that defies physics, and you cannot know the limits of its handling until you go beyond your own subjective limits (incrementally please). This chassis equipped with the 6.9 V8 was owned by more retired race car drivers than any other car. It truly communicates more accurately than any car I have owned, even if its limits are modest by today's standards.
I've owned a 450SEL since new in 1978. It was expensive to buy when new and I got few toys for the price. Great build quality, absolutely great. No rattles still, and I've had one minor accident in it. Yes, the plastic faded with UV light and yes the leather needed a re-dye around it's 30th birthday and yes I had to replace ONE window winder motor... but that ain't bad at all.
I owned a W116 350SE as my first car; it was preowned and 70000km.
Performance was awesome, fuel consumption heavy, but it was a vehicle of great character in midnight blue and fully loaded.
I needed to replace the compressor for the A/C and the usual normal service replacements. I made one mistake; selling it to purchase a W126 380SE!
The W116 is better built and a stronger car, bigger and more spacious, and in my view a car with a greater presence ornated by all that chrome.
The W126 is quieter and more economic on fuel, but more prone to mechanical problems.
I ended up selling the W126.