Started on Feb. 9 by Strathclyde

1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

It’s a pretty nice example of the short-wheelbase gas powered straight-six W126 Mercedes-Benz. It has 124,000 miles and the only rust is on the lower front suspension subframe. I found it on Craigslist in Minneapolis in September, and watched and waited. When the car was still available in November, I bought it for $3,500. I’ve always liked the W126 and consider them probably the best mass-produced sedans ever made. I specifically wanted a 300SE, too. I didn’t think an SEL would fit in my garage with the MG parked sideways in front of it, but the SE does. I wanted the M103 engine because the V8s use more gas and the six is adequate most of the time. Of course, I’d love the power of the 560 or even 420, but the 300 already gets lousy enough gas mileage. As far as repairs go, this car was a bit of a garage queen and hadn’t been driven much in recent years. When I started driving it everyday, that, along with a certain level of deferred maintenance caused some parts to fail. I did plugs (Bosch copper-core), wires, cap and rotor, control rod bushings, and heater valve. The crappy Becker radio didn’t work, so I replaced it with a crappy Sony one that does. I have a Blaupunkt Bremen MP74 that I’ll put in soon. The speakers in this car are junk, and will get replaced as the budget allows. I hate that I’m subjecting this thing to daily use in a Minnesota winter, but: 1) I bought it for daily-driver duty, 2) with a new set of winter tires, it’s amazingly good in the snow.

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