Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1973 mercedes benz 280c

Yesterday’s Junkyard Find was a completely used-up Detroit hooptie, of mild historical interest but not really deserving to be spared the steel jaws of The Crusher. Today’s Junkyard Find, however, is a different story: a solid, completely rust-free W114 Benz with a straight body and very nice interior. Did I mention that it’s a coupe?

This is just how things are in California, where I found this staid-yet-slightly-sporty German. Just about every car in this Oakland self-service yard went through an auction process in which the minimum bid is— last time I checked— 200 bucks. That means that none of the cold-eyed car-wheeler-dealer types (nor the rose-colored-glasses-wearing car-hoarders) at this Mercedes-Benz’s auction felt willing to cough up two C-notes for the car.

These things were expensive— $9,994 list, at at time when $7,765 would get you a far plusher Cadillac Sixty Fleetwood and $8,475 could purchase a vastly sportier Jaguar XK-E V12 convertible— and they were expected to last forever. In this W114’s case, “forever” was 38 years.

My heart is pretty lump-of-coal-ish when it comes to seeing doomed cars in the junkyard, but this is one of the few that makes me shake my fist at the Car Gods and demand to know why? I may have to start shopping for W114 coupes, before the last one gets melted down to make Chinese bathroom-stall partitions.

Join the conversation
2 of 39 comments
  • Jeffzekas Jeffzekas on Nov 04, 2011

    No one will rescue this baby cos it will cost $20,000 to restore an old Benz that will be worth (maybe) $3,000... been there, done that.

  • MercW108 MercW108 on Nov 12, 2017

    The car is actually a 1975 model year cause it has the rear fender mounted antenna and the Unleaded Fuel Only sticker on the dash. I don't know if the build plate tag was put on from a 1973 model cause the W 114 body style changes didn't happen until 9/73 and the tag says 6/73. Mercedes changed to the U.S. mandated impact bumpers in Sept. 1973 for the 1974 models.

  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/