Selling my 1979 Mercedes 280SE at auction

I recently sold my 1979 Mercedes 280SE at the Shannons May 2023 auction. I’ve bought a couple of cars at auction, but never sold one before. This article covers my experience selling the car, why I chose and auction and why I chose Shannons.

Originally I started by trying to sell my 280SE privately. However, I had the issue that I have a fair amount of work travel in the first part of the year, and a fairly busy work and family schedule at other times. I missed out on a couple of buyers because they purchased something else before […]

W116 sunroof switch repair

The sunroof on my 280SE has not worked properly since I bought the car. It would sometimes move a bit, if I played with the switch, but not often. Since I didn’t want the roof stuck open, I didn’t use it. Based on that, I figured my issue was the W116 sunroof switch.

The car is booked in for the Shannons auction in May, so I wanted to get the Sunroof working. I don’t use sunroofs a great deal, but they are not common on the W126 280, so its a valuable feature on my car to be working. I […]

For sale: 1979 280SE W116

For sale: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 280SE. Australian Delivered. Update model with the nicer velour carpet and full wood trim. Original Becker Mexico radio. Well optioned including alloy wheels, sunroof etc. 906 Grey Blue with cream MB-Tex interior, both in great shape. Original books, data card, and service history for the first half of the cars life.

A lot of work in the last twelve months to get it driving really nicely, including a full stainless steel exhaust system from manifold to the back. Dual pipes the whole way like the W126, eliminating the Y piece that just cracks and robs the […]

Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 3

I’ve ben grappling with a stuck ignition key on my 280SE W116 for some time. In part 1 I finally managed to move the key to position 1, but could not unscrew the collar to remove the tumbler. In part 2, I tried a special tool, and then attempted to remove the whole steering lock. As the collar and tumbler was still on the steering lock, I was unable to get it past the dashboard. At that point I rigged up a temporary solution to take it to mechanic.

I was hoping he would find something I missed and get […]

Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 2

Previously I had a stuck ignition barrel in my 280SE. After 5 hours of trying, I finally got it to move, allowing me to get the car out of the way. At the time, I was feeling pretty confident that the right tool would get the ignition tumbler out no problem. As it turns out, my optimism was misplaced.

The first issue was getting the tool to grip the collar. The collar just screws off, but I could not get a grip on it. I found a cheap tool on AliExpress that seemed to do the job. However, a couple […]

Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 1

I was quite keen to start using the 280SE more now I have sorted out the steering, exhaust and drivers seat. I don’t have a modern car, so I rotate the various historic registered cars I own to keep them inside their 60 day logbook. The 280SE obviously has a lot of entries available. I was also looking forward to driving it more now the main issues were sorted out. I brought the car home on Saturday night after finishing the seat. That meant I would have it available to use over the next couple of days.

Sunday was a […]

W116 Seat repair

Now I had the 280SE at the point where I could drive it more, I wanted to attend to the drivers seat. Like most of these cars, years of driving had caused at least some of the springs to break, causing it to feel collapsed and lopsided. The first Mercedes I ever owned, my 1985 230E already had this issue on purchase. It was only 13 years old at the time. This 280SE is over 40 years old, so it’s not surprising.

This is a common thing on these old Mercedes, so I assumed I had a couple of broken […]

280SE W116 exhaust system

The final things preventing me from turning the 280SE from a garage queen to a rolling restoration was getting the exhaust sorted out. It really was a mess. The rear muffler had been changed about 20 years ago (I have the receipt), but the rest was original. It really showed. Not only that, but the 280SE W116 exhaust for right hand drive cars is a poor design. It was shared with the early W123 M110 cars, and later corrected for the W126. At that point the W126 design was applied to the W123 too.

There are two exhaust manifolds, one […]

W116 280SE drag link and tie rod ends

My next job on the 280SE project was replacing the drag link and tie rod ends. Of the six ball joins in the steering, two were really bad, and the others were all quite old. In addition, I planned to replace the idler arm while I was there. The rubber was old and cracking so it was definitely due for it. I already had the worn steering coupling replaced, so this should renew the steering feel as much as possible.

For this job, I went with Lemforder parts. They are a lot cheaper than genuine and I have had very […]

Preparing my 280SE for the MBCNSW S-Class display

2022 is 50 years since the introduction of the W116 S-Class in 1972. The W116 S-Class was the first one that Mercedes-Benz actually referred to as the S-Class. Previous models had filled the same slot in the line-up and even had S in the model designation, but it was the W116 where the S-Class name started. To commemorate this, the Mercedes Benz Club planned a display day for all S-Class models. Had they kept it to the W116 S-class it probably would have been a small show. Most of them rusted away years ago.

I was quite keen to have […]