Stop dreaming and start driving! C&SC tests the classics you can buy. Click here for the full listing – and see below for our expert's conclusion.
This interestingly specified W108 Mercedes was built in South Africa by Car Distributors of East London, and came to the UK in 2005.
A large bracket under the front, plus an electrical socket on the left inner wing, suggests that it spent some of its time being towed.
The body is straight and rot-free, and the doors close with the proper Benz ‘thunk’. It’s been painted at some stage, but the only blemishes are some tiny bubbles under the bottom edges of the rear wings.
The boot floor is excellent and the fuel tank has a shield, matching the sump-guard up front.
All of the chrome trim is sound, and the radiator shell and bumper plating is good.
At some stage the original steels have been replaced by ‘Mexican-hat’ alloy wheels, shod with 2009-dated Nankang tyres with plenty of tread but slightly cracking sidewalls.
The exhaust is in good shape, dating from 2007 when the car was showing around 24,000 miles.
Inside, the red leather is creasing but not quite splitting on the front seats – a feed would help – but the rear is better.
There’s a small amount of damage to the back of the driver’s seat, but the carpets and headlining are good, as is the timber, with the varnish to the dash-top finisher just starting to craze.
The motor is tidy and leak-free, with distributor cap, condenser and plugs dating from a £1200 service in 2016 by SS Motors that included rebuilding the carbs, master cylinder and servo.
The coolant is topped-up and greenish, the oil dark and between the marks; there’s a gloopy deposit on the fanbelt and pulleys.
It starts easily and drives sweetly, stepping off well thanks to lowish gearing. The ride is taut and the brakes sharp.
There’s a hint of vibration – probably wheels, possibly propshaft – and a tiny exhaust blow.
The column gearchange is easy, though non-powered steering comes as an initial surprise. Oil pressure is the usual full-deflection 45psi at all times, with temperature at 175ºF.
It is sold with original handbook and service book (three stamps, the last dated 23/6/69 at 5953 miles, at Oos Transvaal Garage) and a new MoT.
OUR EXPERT’S SUMMARY
EXTERIOR Straight, rot-free body; decent chrome
INTERIOR Good apart from slight damage to the rear of the driver’s seat
MECHANICALS In fine fettle; drives well
SHOULD I BUY IT?
It is one of the cheapest ways into a solid W108 saloon and would make a great rally car
For Solid; fairly quick
Against Heavy steering at parking speeds
Mercedes-Benz 280S factfile
- Year 1969
- Recorded mileage 30,176
- Asking price £16,995
- Vendor The SL Shop, Stratford-upon-Avon; tel: 01789 337070
When it was new
- Price £3116
- Max power 138bhp
- Max torque 165lb ft
- 0-60mph 9.8 secs
- Top speed 110mph
- Mpg 23