The Concours Run 2023 – The Cars

On the Concours Run, we had 9 cars on the trip.   While I don’t mention people’s names on this site for privacy reasons, this article goes through the cars that came on the drive, with some background on them and how they went.  All the cars made it back under their own power, and there were few mechanical issues to speak of.

They are listed in order of oldest to newest.

The cars

1971 280S manual (W108)

This 280S was first sold in Western Australia and first registered in 1972.      It is equipped with a manual transmission, when most W108s sold in Australia were automatics.   Also unusual, it seems to have a custom colour, with 100ME listed as the code on the data plate.   It’s hard to describe the colour, its sort of a cream with a slight green tint.  It goes very well with the red interior.

The 280S did really well.  There were no mechanical issues to speak of, and the manual transmission made it easy to overtake trucks.    It was also very good on fuel.     On day four, the high temperatures impacted the driver more than the car.     The 280S is fitted with a dealer installed rear A/C system that is no longer operational.


1971 280SE 3.5 (W108)

This ivory 280SE 3.5 was first sold in New Zealand.   It was then brought by the original owner to Australia a few years later.   That is probably why it was fitted with the standard headlights rather than the Australian delivered cars that have four round headlights.

As with the 280S, there were no issues at all with the 280SE 3.5.

280SE 3.5

1972 280SE 3.5 (W108)

The other 280SE 3.5 is fitted in a striking deep blue and was sold new in Australia, sold to an Aussie rocker in Melbourne.    The current owner has actually been in contact with him and confirmed that it was his car originally.

The 280SE 3.5 recently had a lot of work done on the front end, including new kingpins.   Having done a short section of driving in this car on the trip, I can confirm how tight the front end is.   I had never actually driven a V8 W108, having more background with the sixes.  I was immediately impressed with the torque and throttle response.

The car went well and didn’t have any major issues, just a couple of minor ones.     At high speed the transmission was leaking onto muffler, causing smoke.    It looks like it was slightly over-full.   It also lost an exhaust hanger.

280SE 3.5

1979 450SLC (C107)

This 450SLC is a low mileage example that was bought out of rural Victoria a couple of years ago.   The current owner has been doing a lot of work to the car recently, including the dash out, parcel shelf out and more.   It is a really nice 450SLC.     It is an unusual spec for an Australian delivered car in that it was ordered with headlight wipers, but without a passengers side mirror.  The owner fitted this as it makes it hard to park otherwise.

The 450SLC was fairly trouble free during the trip.  I think it only lost an exhaust hanger.


1983 380SEC (C126)

This 380SEC is on full registration and is in daily use.   That is an excellent preparation for a trip like this.   The car is originally from Melbourne and the owner has done a lot of work to turn the car into a reliable and comfortable daily driver.

This is the only car that also did least year’s drive to Adelaide, and on that drive the 380SEC also came through without major incident.      The main issue was some leakage from the transmission, like the blue 280SE 3.5.  Like that car, it was probably over-full.    It also needs valve seals, like a lot of Mercedes V8s of this era.  I had to do this job when I first purchased the 87 560SEC.  This is more of an annoyance than anything.

The 380SEC also helped its wounded younger brother home by offering regular battery swaps.


1987 560SEC (C126)

My 560SEC is well documented on this site.   For most of the drive, it was a great road trip car.  Fast, quiet and comfortable.  Thanks to the uprated condenser, the AC was cold on the hot Sunday drive.  Unfortunately, the alternator was not up to the task, and it seized at West Wyalong.   I had to limp the car back on batteries, doing frequent changes with the 380SEC.

This car is an interesting contrast with the 320CE.   The SEC is more powerful, but not as nimble.    The 320CE is actually faster than an Australian delivered 560SEC.



1990 300TE (S124)

This 1990 300TE is unusual for an Australian delivered car in that it was fitted with leather seats.  That was a hugely expensive option, so most of them came with standard MB-Tex.    On our drive into Canberra, we actually ran into the mechanic who rebuilt the engine for the previous owner.

Blue/Black is not a common colour on the wagon either.   This car came back loaded up most of another wagon in the rear cargo area, a testament to the versatility of Mercedes-Benz wagons.

The wagon had no issues on the drive.  This wagon is a great testament to the reliability of high mileage classic Mercedes – if looked after.     Not many cars would be still as reliable with over 375,000km on the clock.

2023-11-16 15-20-13

1993 320CE (C124)

The 320CE was a one year model, before it was replaced by the facelifted E320 Coupe.   I prefer the second generation look, so if I was looking for a coupe, I would seriously consider one of these.

This 320CE did very well on the drive, with no major issues to report.   The 320CE is a fast and nimble car, and a good choice for the mountain roads we took.


1994 E220T (S124)

The newest car on the trip, the E220 wagon made the journey with no fuss.   Even though it is equipped with a four cylinder engine, it kept up with its older brothers and was very frugal on fuel.  It had no major issues to report.

Like the 300TE, the E220 came back laden with many wagon parts.     With the distinctive white roof box, it could have been in a period Mercedes brochure.

The E220 also had a proper CB radio (see the antenna below).  This allowed it to act as a relay point for all the cars on the drive, and to receive transmissions from quite long distances.   This was very useful.


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