By on October 11, 2013

10 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve been haunting self-serve wrecking yards since the early 1980s, I’ve seen some patterns in the average age of various junkyard inhabitants. Detroit cars show up in large numbers after about 10-13 years on the road. Toyotas and Hondas need about 20 years. Off-brand Japanese stuff (e.g., Mitsubishis, Daihatsus, Suzukis) appear in under a decade. 1980s Hyundais started showing up in these yards when they were under five years of age, which is a terribleness record. Mercedes-Benz cars, however… well, the stuff they built in the early-to-middle 1970s is just now appearing in large numbers at U-Wrench-It.
05 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe W114/W115 series ran from 1968 through 1976, and they tended to last for-freaking-ever. Only now am I seeing them in junkyards in anything approaching large numbers; we’ve seen this ’73 220 sedan and this ’73 280C coupe so far in this series.
02 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
This one is a rust-free California car, but pretty well used up and not worth restoring. Still, a shame to see it leaving the road.
04 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
I though about grabbing this Becker Europa cassette deck and selling it on eBay, but it looked a bit too rough.
07 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least a few of this car’s parts will live on in other W114s.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

45 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Those are very nice cars indeed , I nearly bought a ’75 250CE , that’s the one with the same M-116 engine but with the Bosch D-Jetronic MAP controlled F.I. system.

    That W-114 chassis is very cupple and hold the road like nothing but the M-116 engine is a thristy beast no matter what you do to it and they also like to spit camshaft shims , breaking & destroying the cylinder head as they do so .

    That poor old Coupe looks to have had a tough last few years .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Eric Green

      If only. This car has the horrid M110 engine- hyper-complicated camshaft boxes, weak cams and the crazy Solex carb- and, yes, thirsty. I wouldn’t have another of these engines again- ever. But the 2.5 injected SOHC motor you looked at was bulletproof; a friend had one in a W115 I drove on a lengthy trip through PA.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        I can attest to the thirstiness of the engine, but in nearly with 80,000 miles in my 73′ 280c, I have had no internal mechanical problems with the engine.

        The Solex carb has been rebuilt once. And the brakes have been upgraded with parts from a later model. The sound system was upgraded years ago with a Pioneer Super Tuner and more speakers. The addition of Euro headlights and Bumpers, finished this classic off, nicely.

        The one thing I never liked about the car, is the exhaust sound. Nothing like the sweet song emitted from a Jag or hi-comp Chevy or Ford six. Never liked the sound of my 328is, either, but that has been fixed now with the installation of the M5 V-8.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Nancy worked at the Krispy-Kreme…

  • avatar
    afflo

    “Detroit cars show up in large numbers about 10-13 years on the road. Toyotas and Hondas need about 20 years. Off-brand Japanese stuff (e.g., Mitsubishis, Daihatsus, Suzukis) appear in under a decade. 1980s Hyundais started showing up in these yards when they were under five years of age”

    Is this primarily because of the resale values? The point at which the car is worth less than the repairs comes sooner if the car is a poor store of value*.

    These cars are what really has given Mercedes its image, in my humble opinion. Rappers, lottery winners, and Dot-Com overnight millionaires buy the flashy, tacky, tasteless cars that they think rich people should own. Meanwhile, the long-term wealthy are seen driving around in a handsome but unassuming 15-20 year old Mercedes that simply refuses to die.

    If I had a dollar for every time I saw a 20 year old MB with a “Del Monte Forest” badge on the grille while living near Pebble Beach, I’d could have paid cash for a quaint Carmel cottage.

    *Or at least worse than other cars, since they’re all pretty awful in this regard.

    • 0 avatar
      OM617

      This quality paradigm lasted through the r107, w123, w124, w126 and even the the r129 and w140 to an extent.

      Don’t believe it is resale value. When many of these cars were 15+ years old (10 years ago) they weren’t worth lot of money. (save for a few classics, ex 500e) I think it comes down that drivers of the 15-20 year old nice examples are pretty almost always owned by those devoted to their old benzes. Also, the interiors/ exteriors hold up very well (esp with MB tex)…they really have to be abused to look tired. There are those of course who drive the poor examples to the ground, and those can hold out quite a while too.

      • 0 avatar
        StaysCrunchy

        Amen to the MB Tex. The wife and I bought a 1997 C280 a few years ago, and we didn’t (and still don’t) know anything about Mercedes-Benz other than they were nice cars and that we finally had enough money to buy one…. a 10+ year old example of the least expensive Mercedes you can get, but a Mercedes nonetheless. Anyway, we assumed it had leather interior and when we found out it wasn’t (via the merciless taunting of our so-called friends about our Mercedes with the “plastic” seats) we felt a little taken. It didn’t take long for us to become MB Tex converts, though. That stuff is great! I’ll take it over real leather any day of the week.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          I won’t. MBTex heats up way higher than leather seats, my wife’s ML550 has that wretched upholstery and my back and rear end will not stop sweating no matter how cold the a/c gets the car inside. Wretched stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      “Is this primarily because of the resale values? The point at which the car is worth less than the repairs comes sooner if the car is a poor store of value.”

      I think that’s one reason, I can think of a few others:
      -Physical durability of the car itself, i.e., mechanical durability, rust resistance.
      -Cost and complexity of repairs.
      -Parts availability.
      -Desirability of the car. For example, I’ll bet a higher percentage of ’60s convertibles survived as compared with sedans – because more people are willing to but time and money into an old convertible than a base model sedan.
      -Demographics of the owners. More affluent owners might think nothing of putting a $2k repair into an old car they like, less affluent owners may be unwilling or unable to do so.

      “These cars are what really has given Mercedes its image, in my humble opinion. Rappers, lottery winners, and Dot-Com overnight millionaires buy the flashy, tacky, tasteless cars that they think rich people should own. Meanwhile, the long-term wealthy are seen driving around in a handsome but unassuming 15-20 year old Mercedes that simply refuses to die.”

      +1

  • avatar
    mikey

    “Honda’s and Toyota need 20 years to see a junk yard” I guess you don’t live in rust country.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That was going to be my comment. CAlifornia and Colorado are a very different world than the Northeast. Japanese cars did not last long enough up here to get that gold-plated reputation they seem to have elsewhere.

      Up here in Maine, Japanese cars used to beat Detroit to the yard by a good few years. My Grandparent’s first Subaru, an ’80 hatch flunked inspection at age 3 and needed extensive welding, and was junked at 8, even though it ran like a swiss watch. The second one, an ’82 did not make it to 10. Now I would say they are neck and neck, but the Detroiters STILL seem to rust less than most Japanese cars of 10-15 years ago. It is the European cars that make it 15+ before you start seeing many in the yards, VW included.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        +!

        I literally can’t picture an 80s Jcar without visible rot-through. My three sure had it.

        But that’s just a testimony to how superior they were in every other way. We all just sighed and bought another one while waiting for them to improve corrosion resistance.

        Greatest pity was a rusted-up 80s Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Even if American cars had questionable interiors for their time and basic engineering, I could tell that the steel was a bit thicker compared to the average J-Car of the 80′s.

        Heck, I remember knocking on an Accord sedans trunk and thinking that it was tupperware plastic!

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          It’s bad enough here that even early 90s J-cars are rather rotted or have rot repairs done.

          So many 1990-1997 Accords rotting wherever rust can get a foothold…and all the Acura Legends are basically gone forever.

        • 0 avatar
          wagonsonly

          There are very few 1993-model anythings on the road here in CT – one reason we can now get classic plates on 20-year-old cars. There are probably more well-maintained American cars on the road from that era, but in the 10-15 age range, Japanese makes definitely have the edge. (I don’t see that many 10-15 year old Europeans around, though, but definitely did see them when I lived in New Hampshire.)

          Rust resistance for Japanese cars in the ’90s still wasn’t quite up to par. I very seldom see Accords, Legacies, or Camrys of that era without rust through. Conversely, there are many more J-tin boxes in my area junkyards with 300K+ miles.

      • 0 avatar
        I've got a Jaaaaag

        I grew up in Maine, it wasn’t til I moved south that I realized Toyota Pickups lasted more than 7 or 8 years.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        krhodes1,

        Rust or not, I see many more of the 1990-1993 generation accords still in the road in Central NY than I do any American make of that age. And yes we salt the hell out of our roads, I lived in a hilly area and there’s a salt mine not 20 miles away. Yes the 80s Japanese cars are a different story. There are literally single examples of early-mid 90s escorts and cavaliers left on the roads, yet the 4th gen accord is still very thick on the ground, same for 92-96 camries, and 92-95 Civics. 2nd gen Tauri are basically extinct up here as well, as are tempos. 94-95 Accords still get quarter panel rot, but the refreshed 96-97s are impervious to it, obviously some change was implemented. 240/740/940 Volvos are also very common, it is Ithaca NY, after all. Plenty of old cutlass cieras, lesabres as well, although lesabres get done in by subframe rust even when the rest of the car still looks good.

        Now that I’m in the midwest, there are definitely more domestics, seeing as many more were sold. W body GMs are basically the chariot of choice (or necessity) for the working class on Fort Wayne Indiana. Grand Prix, Impala, Regal, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          There are hardly any of those Hondas and Toyotas here to speak of, unless they have out of state plates, or migrated here. But I suspect a big reason is they just never sold all that many here in the first place. This was Subaru country back then as now – the only Japanese cars that really sold a ton in Maine. The 90s Subarus are long gone too. There are more older American cars still roaming around, especially GM cars, and WAY more older Saabs and Volvos, though 240s and 900s are finally dwindling, 20 years on. And tons of 90s American SUVs, especially Cherokees, Grand Cherokees, and Explorers. People patch up the rust on them and keep driving them.

          Maine’s safety inspection regime is quite good at getting cars off the road – no holes allowed, even in non-structural areas. And it is not just body rot – a buddy of mine had to have nearly all the brake and fuel lines replaced on an ’03 Accord a couple years ago due to rot to pass inspection. Big money.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Different problems with different climates, but 20 years is a bit of an exaggeration even without rust. Here in Texas my girlfriend has a 1998 Mercedes E320 with over 200k miles with neither rust nor oxidation of the silver paint. I have a 1999 Honda Accord Coupe with 160k miles and severely oxidized dark green paint, but no rust. Both will most likely eventually become rust-free crusher food due to automatic transmission repair exceeding the value of the vehicle. Heat is rough on automatics.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Ueber. Panzer.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Should have grabbed the seats and turned them into office chairs. I’d love an M-Tex office chair. I’m pretty sure that that would be the indestructible office chair fabric.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Too many Benz, too many Volvo.

    Need moar Lemons-grade JY finds. More weird stuff. Need minivans with half-eaten sandwich in the back. I want Trofeo, St.Regis, totaled late-models. Need stuff like this…
    https://scontent-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/992990_10201168589364106_2064104631_n.jpg

    Where is the “Where tired PT Cruisers go to die” article?

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I should’ve submitted an article on the two Cruisers I’ve seen go to the scrapper, they were both newer Cruisers too.

      Or maybe the Volvo 940 I found that had rolled and could open the doors, well the ones that still had handles.

    • 0 avatar

      Jeez, if you want PT Cruisers I can sure find them in large quantities at any junkyard. Likewise Dustbusters and Town-N-Countries. Obviously, if I ever see a Trofeo I’m going to photograph the hell out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        No surprise at the Cruisers hitting the yard. When they are 13 years old and need a transmission, they get scrapped. There just not worth the repair. An Accord that needs a transmission at 13 years is going to get that rebuild and get another crack at life. For run of the mill cars, depreciation is the biggest factor. Just look at how many Jaguars (relative to the number sold) hit the yard, and at really modest mileage. Same with modern German machinery. Those old Benzes are certainly worth the golden reputation. Amazing that they threw their reputation in the trash like an old shoe.

        Anybody note the vastly newer white BMW next to it…pretty intact yet in the yard.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Any CRT-equipped Reattas? Those could make for some really nifty retro displays if you can find and tweak the logic board.. Those displays kinda remind me of a dash-mounted Pip-boy 3000…

      • 0 avatar
        Dogapult

        There was a Trofeo in a yard near me. you don’t do “guest” Junkyard Finds do you? I mean, I can’t get the Trofeo, but if I come across anything else cool and interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Psh, if you find a Trofeo and it’s not rotted out or accident damaged, I’d want to buy it and give it 3800 Series II power…

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Corolla with optional Bob Villa rec room rear quarter windows.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    My dad owned one of these, a 1975, but the 250 version. Beautiful car, horribly tepid acceleration. To give you an idea, my 1979 Chevette drove like a Miata compared to it. Finally succumbed to an engine fire when it was ten years old. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    These few examples can hardly be the litmus test when comparing TTC (time-to-crusher) amongst car manufacturers. I remember these here (and in Europe), being nice cars but insanely expensive to fix. I highly doubt they lasted any longer than their counterparts of the time. Love the seats though. Took many a cab ride in these in early 80s Europe.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    You should’ve yanked that radio, right now I have a cluster from a W123 going on ebay for a nice profit, Benz owners are hungry for parts with reasonable prices.

    By the way, how the heck does a 300D end up at the scrapper with just 100k on the odometer?

    Even if the part prices are a mix I do respect these old Benzes for their modest styling, good quality, and being built before the days of forcing heritage down our throats with retro styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “You should’ve yanked that radio, right now I have a cluster from a W123 going on ebay for a nice profit, Benz owners are hungry for parts with reasonable prices.”

      Clusters, sure, because you need one to drive the car.

      Radios? Only lunatics and fanatics want a Becker. Sane people put in a modern aftermarket 1-DIN and go about their lives.

      (They also add more speakers than the mono in the center of the dash, which is all a W114/115 ever had.)

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Indeed, the Harmon Kardon nee Becker TrafficPro is a verynice stock-looking 1-DIN GPS that I had in my late lamented 300SDL. I believe they were OEM in 1990s-era E-class, at least in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Eric Green

      This Becker is almost-certainly out of a mid-base W124; the W114/115 would have shipped OEM with the old mono Becker Europa w/o a cassette.

      I currently have a project car that absolutely could benefit from this Becker radio. But see if I can find one locally to me…

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Hey! I own one of those, a 73′ 280C. While I didn’t buy it new in 73′, I bought a new Manta and a Lotus Europa JPS that year, I sure wanted one.

    Several years later I saw a young sport driving one at the Mt. Bachelor ski area. It had a unique color combo so I followed him until he parked. We had a conversation about the car and its colors, ending with me asking him if it might be for sale. It wasn’t, but he took my name and number anyway. About a year later he called and I have enjoyed that beautiful Merc’ chariot ever since.

    The 280C has been one of my all time favorite cars. After you take in the beautiful interior and dash, smell the leather you will be intrigued, but it is the easy, unflustered ride and sure handling, and its sassy little 4-barrel DOHC six engine that will enthrall you.

    Confident & Classy is the word for the 280C and W114 chassis. If you get a chance, go test drive one.

    By the way, mine still gets appreciative looks, a vigorous thumb up, and starts conversations wherever it goes.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    An unabashed Benz lover here. My 2006 E350 is the best car I have ever owned (though not without some flaws.)
    Back in the 90s when I was doing much more junkyard diving than now, I would always check out any old Mercedes I ran across. No matter how picked over or weather beaten, when I opened and closed the door I always heard that famous “chunk!” Can’t think of any other make I can say that about. “Das beste” indeed.

  • avatar
    ex-x-fire

    That intake looks like a quadrajet would bolt right on. Didn’t they have fuel injection by then?

  • avatar
    lovestick-tr

    hi
    i have some car like this but i need some parts how i can find it thank you

    1 – w114, 280c AC CONDENSER with triangular bracket without fan , center a.c swtich

    2- 280c driver side ( without miror ) and passenger side CORNER WINDOW GLASS

    3- us front and rear bumpers

    4- front speker cover

    5- windows regulator with motors,windows installation wire cable, front switch panel with switch, rear windows swtich and front and rear side doors panel thank you :)

    6, and some small dashbaord parts i added pictures

    7- complete middle center board

    8- under the dashboard cover left and right side

    thank you


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India