Junkyard Find: 1965 Mercedes-Benz W108

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

You see quite a few W126s in junkyards these days— in fact, the rise in scrap steel prices seems to have doomed all but the the most flawless of the big 1980s Benzes— but the S-Class of the late 1960s is seldom seen in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s one that I found in a Denver self-service yard last week.

This car is profoundly rusty (by Colorado standards), which suggests that it may have migrated from a more oxide-friendly state to the east.

I think it’s a 250S, but the trunklid (or maybe just the emblem) from a V8 car indicates that we may be looking at a mix-and-match special.

Everything seems intact, if grungy, under the hood. There’s no telling when the last time this car moved under its own power might have been, but it may be decades.

The KPH speedometer may be the result of parts-swapping, or we could be looking at a gray-market import. Either way, The Crusher will be eating this old German soon enough.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Feb 02, 2012

    A college roommate in the late seventies used to have one just like this except I think hers was a '66 or '67. It was then in nice shape and had the identical color interior to this.Spent many times in this , cruising Austin at night. Her grandfather had gotten it on one of those European delivery deals. Back then it was mint but I remember the automatic clunking into gear.As I recall she had a friend who had one just like this one, a 65 3.5 I think but in a beautiful blue.

  • Snakebit Snakebit on Aug 04, 2012

    '65 was the first year in the States for this type of S class. Definitely gray-market,none of these were ever officially brought in with manual windows. It does look like it was converted from column shift to floor, but it could have been an automatic. The skinny shift lever is consistant with either manual or automatic, and the brake pedal on these M-B's WAS just like one for a manual trans car, my aunts '70 280SE sedan was like this, and that was automatic. Also it's sad that Mercedes did undercoat these cars from the factory, just not well enough. My uncle was a dealer, and gave my aunt the 280SE as new, she drove and maintained it for 14 years, but the rust won out, and it wouldn't pass inspection. I was lucky enough to get to drive that car in the 1970's, and I miss it almost as much as I miss her.

  • Mgh57 I should just buy an old car where everything is analog.
  • Fred I've only had it for about 7 months and I like it. Mostly because I have a hard time seeing my phone screen. So even tho my Honda's screen is 6" it's a lot easier to see than my phone.
  • Cha65697928 I'm 48. Both our cars have it, I'm never going back. Being able to activate calls, messages, music, nav, opening/closing garage doors all via voice command is awesome. Now if Audi would just allow Google maps to mirror in the middle of the driver's display instead of only allowing the native nav...
  • 3-On-The-Tree Totally Agree War is total hell!
  • SCE to AUX JFK used to pronounce Laos as "lay-oss", so I want to call this car "tay-oss". But I'm told by a true VW lover that it's pronounced "ta-owse", rhyming with "house". Maybe VW should rethink a few of their product names.