By on February 1, 2012

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.

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20 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1965 Mercedes-Benz W108...”

  • avatar

    I bet someone would love to have the headlight bezel and VDO gauges, even if they are metric.

    Kind of surprised to see this generation in the junkyard, though this one definitely does seem to be a bit world-weary, perhaps too far gone to be rescued economically (although, there was that guy that spent $175k on the Dodge Power Wagon on Chasing Classic Cars…).

    Odd about the mismatched badge/engine. I know it’s been popular to delete or swap badges on the US for the last 15 years or so and in Europe for 25-ish years, didn’t realize it stretched back this far. I think that’s an even more interesting nugget from this car’s past than any Clinton/Gore or Metallica bumper sticker!

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I’m thinking the majority of the W126 body that survives this era of high scrap steel prices will be the diesels. The gasser W126s drink fuel like there’s no tomorrow and the early V8s had a tendency to shed timing chains, which caused bad things to happen (interference engine).

    Too bad though, they’re like an upscale German Panther.

  • avatar

    There is a single cam I6 engine (saying 250S) under the hood, but the trunk tells a different story? Some upwardly mobile badge engineering from a previous owner?

    To complete the ruse, I believe the left side badge would have read 280SE, but since it is gone we’ll never know.

  • avatar

    I almost dropped my coffee when I saw 3.5 on the decklid. Too bad. That would have been worth restoring (or at least stripping out the motor to shove into a cleaner example).

  • avatar

    I see older Benzes all the time in the Vegas yards. Most of them look like they were either a] a donor/parts car, or b] sat in the back yard to “fix up someday”, then given up upon.

  • avatar

    The W108 is my all time favorite benz. They just look so stately. It’s sad to see one in this condition, but all things must die someday, right? Even W106 benzes.

  • avatar

    in a marginally related story, i met a guy this morning at the tire shop getting work on his early 70s 450SL. looked barely used; he had put over a MILLION miles on the thing.

  • avatar

    I owned a 280S years ago. Going anywhere in one of these feels like a special occasion. Now I drive a W211 E class and it’s boring in comparison. I should get another W108 / 109.

    • 0 avatar

      If you do, I hope you leave the 4-speed shifter on the column and not put a floor shifter in, like was done on this car. I had a ’66 220 and the column shift was fun!

  • avatar

    The “3.5” badging at the rear looks all wrong.

    First, there’s clearly a 6-cylinder motor under the hood.

    Second, the 3.5 badging was about two centimeters above the lower lid rim and about 2.5 centimeters away from the side lid rim.

    I know this because back in August of 1971 my father bought a brand new Mercedes 300SEL 3.5, of which less than 10,000 were built and which was actually a W109. It was a rare car then and it’s even more rare today. The car was stolen in 1991 on a trip to Budapest. The United States received the same model but with a 4.5-l V8 engine.

    The other “3.5” W108 was the 280SE/SEL 3.5, also a V8.

  • avatar

    Several months back I saw one of these on a self-service yard in Gardena, Ca. It was deep forest green with a chocolate brown interior. The paint was decent and the interior flawless. It was in the “CARS FOR SALE” section for $1100.

    I asked a yard employee why it was so cheap. He said the motor was seized after losing oil pressure somehow. Several weeks later it got junked. Oh well…

  • avatar

    I have a 66 W108 that is likely to end this way soon. I just hope I find time to strip usable parts off before I need the space.

    It came free with a 72 3.5 I wanted for parts, and has a fabulous blue patina – and a lot of rust. Back when I had more time and money I was going to turn it into a small block powered toy and add it to my collection.

    Now it just takes up space and makes me feel sad and neglectful.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    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.

  • avatar

    ’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.

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