Premiered at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1965 the initial line up of W108 cars were the 250S the 250SE and the 300SE engines were used upgraded and refined from the W111 range which the W108 did succeed but did not replace the W111 it simply down-graded it. Understated elegance epitomised the Mercedes-Benz 300SE the new modern S class with the 250 models replaced with 280 models instead and the 300 model with options of four speed auto and five speed manual.
By 1968 the 300SE was dropped and the W109 300SEL had its 3.0 litre all alloy, straight six engine replaced with the 2.8 version with similar performance but seemed slightly bewildering having a 2.8 engine in a 300 model never the less.
Mercedes made top class saloon cars and had done since the early fifties and so the S class was typically another outstanding range of well engineered finely produced cars by Mercedes who through the sixties and seventies were at the top of their game as today’s classics these saloons are a lot of car for little cash
- It’s very much a buyer’s market for the Mercedes 300SE as well as other large luxurious saloons of the same era so there is a lot of choice out there so let’s find out how to bag a good one.
- Let’s start with the body and of course this means corrosion and poorly repaired accident damage. Rust can appear anywhere on a 50 year old car so check the whole body including sills, A pillars and the cavity above the headlamps which is a typical area for rust on these cars. Holes in the inner sills or door and bonnet frames are a strong indication that rust is well advanced so look out for this. Inside the boot can be a vulnerable spot as are front cross members so be vigilant.
- Aluminium 3.0 litre engines can incur high repair costs if damaged however they normally enjoy longevity and transmission in manual and automatic versions are robust. When starting the car there should not be any clouds of smoke from the exhaust and the oil pressure indicator should not fall below 3 bar. The W108 is fitted with a single joint swing axle suspension and it’s important that the axle is well lubricated. Mountings for the transverse control arm must be intact so check as they can break away whilst driving. Look out for leaks from the hydro pneumatic compensating spring which is mounted transversely on the rear axle don’t re-fit a cheaper steel compensating spring as it won’t do the same job.
- Inside is luxurious but check all the switch gear to make sure it works and look out for excessive wear and tear as it’s expensive to replace.
Every Mercedes-Benz sits on a fully independent swing axle suspension system, first used on the company’s racing machines. This suspension allows firm and stable road holding regardless of speed and dips without jarring or pitching. No ‘Sea-sick’ feeling here.
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“These classic Mercedes give off an air of style and confidence like no other car and as values are reasonable now would be an ideal time to buy one of these sturdy and reliable cars.”