Pillar-less Perfection: 1978 Mercedes-Benz C123 280CE – SOLD!

May 2020 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

September 2020 Update – We’re busy updating our database accurately reflect the status of every car we’ve featured since starting GuysWithRides.com.  This Mercedes 280CE we first featured in May has since sold.

Browse around our website thoroughly enough and soon you realize we tend to have a soft spot for true pillar-less hardtop styling.  Combine the clean roofline with the virtually indestructible W123 Mercedes-Benz chassis in the 280CE coupe such as the example we came across listed on Craiglist in Syracuse, New York is near the top of this list.  The caretaker since 2014 is currently asking $5,900.  A review of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his 280CE priced $500 below the current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $6,400.

Mercedes Benz introduced its new W123 platform in a four-door sedan and sleek coupe to replace their aging W114 and W115 platforms, better known as the “Stroke Eights”.  Mercedes made a point to design the new W123s similar to their new S-Class, which was a clear break with the classical style of the Stroke Eight. The W123 offered a longer wheelbase, a wider track, and a larger body. What really sets the 280C coupe from the sedan is its slightly shorter length combined with the absence of a typical B-pillar, which gave the car a unique hardtop styling other manufacturers we’re walking away from due to roll-over safety regulations which never materialized.  The new W123s cars were immensely popular and less than a year into production many dealers had a 12-month waiting list. Cars for immediate purchase were offered in a sort of black-market – at a healthy premium.

In the U.S., the W123 was available in all three body styles, but due to stricter emissions regulations, a limited range of engines. The naming convention was straightforward, with the first two numbers representing displacement in liters and the letters representing body style and fuel. Top of the range was the 280E and 280CE, both of which featured 2.8-liter, inline 4-cylinder, fuel-injected engines capable of 142 hp.

The W123 platform came equipped with many optional and standard class-leading features. The car was better engineered for crash protection – accomplished with a strengthened passenger cage and reinforced roof. Optional was a safety steering column engineered to crumple rather than enter the cabin in a head-on collision.

We came across this older overview of the W123 Mercedes-Benz Coupe range and found it to be very informative:

While we love the owner’s assessment, we would be torn on whether to preserve the original paint or pursue the full repaint he recommends.  With the only problem needing immediate attention is the rust through on the door bottoms the seller mentions, the price here is low enough that investing in a quality repaint over next winter will reap future dividends in this 280’s future value.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“A truly rare and solid two door gasoline inline 6 cylinder naturally aspirated fuel injection w123 coupe. Automatic transmission. Four wheel disc brakes. Independent rear suspension. Mechanically sound and reliable. Power sliding roof, steering, brakes and windows. Becker Corona AM/FM stereo radio. Cruise control. Trip meter. Clock. Oil pressure & water temperature gauges. Rear window defroster. Factory green tinted heat insulating glass. Color matched wheel covers. First aid box. Ironclad MB TEC interior. California/Syracuse New York January 2014. Garaged winters. Needs paint and cosmetics. Clear coat and paint thin or missing as shown..

Cypress green with Parchment interior; a rare color combination. Sliding power roof. Working A/C and climate control; serviced & updated. Amber fog light.s Solid rocker panels/jack points. General Altimax tires. Tool kit jack and spare. Low mileage. Mechanically very strong and sound.

Needs paint. Windscreen seals dried from UV/sunlight. Rust through on door bottoms only. Manual antenna. Needs drivers side window regulator and mirror. Weathered/cracked dash. Vehicle needs sorting.

Reliable vehicle driven seasonally. Rides smooth at any speed. Tight and responsive steering. Shifts smoothly. Brakes quickly. Runs quietly and quickly keeping up in modern traffic. Serviced annually for oil changes and preventative maintenance. A midsized luxury coupe for under 10K.

This vehicle is a rare low mileage gasoline coupe in a rare color combination with desirable long lasting MB TEC interior.

Posting verifies availability. No help needed in selling.

Do you have a Mercedes 280 story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

  1. Pillar-less Perfection:  1978 Mercedes-Benz C123 280CE – SOLD!

    Looking for one of these for a while now 73-76 being my dream years – wish I saw this earlier. Seems I always just miss them LOL.. Unfortunately rust is a big problem with many cars from this time period especially those that have lived in the Northeast for any amount of time .

    • Pillar-less Perfection:  1978 Mercedes-Benz C123 280CE – SOLD!

      Hi, I bought this Mercedes last year and it is with me in Rochester. The car is absolutely gorgeous and drives beautifully. The original paperwork with this car is incredible. Full documented car down to tire rotations. I have a couple of projects currently going and I may be willing to part with it for the right price if your serious. Respond back and I will give you my contact info.. Thanks.

  2. Pillar-less Perfection:  1978 Mercedes-Benz C123 280CE – SOLD!

    Hi Ken, excuse me jumping in but I’ve been looking for a 280ce and I just stumbled across this article. If you still have the car and are open to offers, I’d be interested in discussing. Best, Matt

    • Pillar-less Perfection:  1978 Mercedes-Benz C123 280CE – SOLD!

      Hey Matt, I am still considering selling it. Feel free to email me at kbingo1972@gmail.com. Thanks!


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