BODACIOUS BEATERS and Road-going Derelicts: SE - SI!

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis

What better way to start of the Bodacious New Year than featuring a classic European sedan that, well, isn’t exactly trimmed out in the classic “Ab Werk” fashion.

Nevertheless, a weathered old-resto with a few period-contemporary bits, does, in itself, define a unique fashion niche—in a SoLA kind of way. As near as I can figure, this mid-late ‘60’s Mercedes-Benz 108-bodied 250 SE underwent a pretty thorough restoration sometime back in the ‘80’s—at which point it was considered a classic in it’s own right, and worthy of such attention.

But since it didn’t quite have the pedigree possessed by it’s kindred “C” and “SL” models—and no doubt owing to the tastes of it’s owner—it became recipient of some interesting “upgrades”. A purist probably couldn’t argue with the Euro headlamps; which I wouldn’t argue with, either. Certified Cool. The sunroof “deflector” was a very common addition to virtually ANY vehicle with a sunroof extant at that time. It was a phenomenon similar to vehicle “nose bras”—an accessory that seemed to be equally popular then. The thing about the “bra” was that, it was a bra after all, it could be fairly easily removed.

What is rather amazing, in this case, is the fact that the deflector is still there and intact! A lot of water has passed under the proverbial bridge, in the form of mileage, weather, car washes, and visits by the automotive taste police and other potential vandals, yet there it is.

I once had a mid-‘70’s 280 S with one of these ubiquitous attachments. I remember it being very difficult to remove, as all of the mounting bracketing and hardware was firmly rusted in place. Remove it, I did, though, since the unit had the habit of holding rainwater over the leading edge of the sunroof seal—which by that point, didn’t—when parked heading downhill. Yeah, the seal on the deflector worked just fine, thank you.

The real coup de grace unquestionably has to be the knock-off wire wheel installation, though. As in real knock-offs—not the ones with chrome lug bolts showing between the spokes, which were fairly common.

I don’t remember seeing many of these examples installed on any M-Benz models back then. I do remember them being expensive, and I’d heard that the threaded adaptor tended to come loose from the hub.

And what about those TIRES?!!

That seriously rusted left-front bumper trim is a fitting compliment to the mega-oxidized paint on otherwise still straight body panels. It’s sort of like one dark brown eyebrow on an otherwise normal head of blonde, if not slightly graying hair.

Long live the Aging Anti-Resto Classic Euro-Wagen!

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

Phil Coconis
Phil Coconis

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  • Roberto Esponja Roberto Esponja on Jan 16, 2013

    Nice enough looking car, but my dad had the 250 coupe version of this, and it was by far the slowest accelerating vehicle I have ever driven - slower than my 1979 Chevette, slower than my 1983 Mercedes 240D. Not a fun, heck not even an adequate car to drive by any means...

    • Sigivald Sigivald on Jan 30, 2013

      Which is odd, since it should have over twice the power of a w123 240D, and not weigh that much more... Was there something wrong with it, maybe?

  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 16, 2013

    There's plenty of these old Mercs tooling the Southern California Highways & Byways these days , sadly most are like this one and don't get much love . Slow to get up to speed but handles surprisingly well at speed *if* you've greased it and have decent shocks & rubber ~ those Pep Boys flaccid shocks & pogo shock absorbers most beaters run are deadly . -Nate

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.