American Accommodation: 1973 W108 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 – SOLD!

by | Jan 2022 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

January 30, 2022 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

To compensate for power-robbing emission controls, many foreign car manufacturers started offering larger displacement engines in their cars destined for the U.S. Market. Additionally, German automakers often delayed the launch of U.S. versions one to two model years after a car’s initial European launch. One such example is this V8-powered 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 originally listed in January 2022 on Craigslist in San Diego. While Mercedes new 3.5 Liter powered W116 launched worldwide in 1972, Americans had to make do with the W108 one more year. As this survivor quality, California car illustrates, that was not necessarily a bad thing.

Currently offered at $19,000 or best offer, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their 280SE priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $18,600 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $27,600.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “very Good estimate of $12,600 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $21,200.

Following the strong reception of limited production V8-powered 300 SEL 6.3 in 1967, Mercedes-Benz offered the all-new 3.5-liter M116 V8 engine with new Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection in 1969. The V8 engine would move W108/W109 further upmarket in many export markets and allow them to be more competitive in the United States where many passenger vehicles, especially the American luxury marques, were fitted with V8 engines. The new 197 brake horsepower V8 engine was first fitted to W109 in August 1969 as 300 SEL 3.5 then to W108 in July 1970 as 280 SE 3.5 and 280 SEL 3.5.

The 3.5-liter V8 engine was bored out to 4.5 Liters to compensate for the loss of power following the changes in emission control regulations and due to lower fuel octane rating in the United States. The larger V8 engine was designated as M117 and had the same output figures as the 3.5-liter V8 engine. It was initially exclusive for the United States from 1971 to 1973 until the introduction of 450 SE/450 SEL (W116) which went on sale worldwide in September 1972 along with 450 SL (R107) and 450 SLC (C107). 280 SE 4.5/280 SEL 4.5 and 300 SEL 4.5 were introduced in the spring of 1971.

The Smoking Tire YouTube Channel provides this modern-day test drive of a similar ’72 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5:

We love the unique color combination as well as what appears to be the preservation quality of this California-sourced 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Beautiful 1973 280se 4.5 Mercedes.
This car is in very good condition. Power windows and original radio. All wood on the dash and trim around the doors have been re-done. The exterior is in good shape. there are no dents, but two spots need a touch-up.
Just had it serviced and is in great running condition.
$19000 or best offer.

Show or go: what would you do with this 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5?  Comment below and let us know!

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