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

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
bodacious beaters em and road going derelicts em se si

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

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3 of 15 comments
  • 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

  • Alan I don't know how well Mustangs are selling in the US, but here in Australia since its release a while back Mustang sales have taken a nose dive. Maybe those who wanted a Mustang have bought, or Ford needs a new Mustang model, maybe both.
  • Alan GM is still dying. The US auto manufacturing sector overall needs to restructure. It is heavily reliant on large protected vehicles with far more protection than the EU has on its vehicles (25% import tariff).Globally GM has lost out in the EU, UK, Australia, etc. GM has shut down in Australia because it is uncompetitive in a global market. Ford still exists in Australia but is reliant on a Thai manufactured pickup, the Ranger which is Australia's second largest selling vehicle.The US needs to look at producing global products, not 'murica only products. Asians and Europeans can do it. America is not unique.
  • Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
  • Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
  • Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation