It was a regular day in SCM Old Car Land.

It started with a call to Chip Starr, who is bringing our 1972 Mercedes 250C back to life. He has installed the Weber DGVs and the Pertronix ignition. He swapped out the rear end for one from a 300D, along with a speedometer with the correct gears for more relaxed freeway cruising. He also installed Euro headlights sourced from eBay Germany. He is rebuilding anything that needs it, and is now putting in a new front main seal.

SCMer Dean Laumbach just sold a very nice, low-miles 250C on BaT. It went for $43k all in. I was hoping it would sell for more, but there just isn’t much market excitement for these elegant, Paul Bracq-designed coupes.

One thing I have learned over the years is the market speaks with its own voice, and all we can do is listen. I paid $20k for the car, which I thought was a bargain, but “cheap going in means cheap going out.” You’d think I would have learned that by now.

My car has over 200,000 one-owner miles and doesn’t appear to be as nice as Dean’s car was. As I pass the $35k threshold in purchase and repair costs, I’m becoming doubtful I will be able to break even.

The lesson here is I might have been better off if I had been more patient in my W114 search and waited for a better example. But when I am in the hunt, patience is not my strong suit.

Chip says the car should be ready in a couple of weeks. I plan on driving it on the SCM 1000. It’s comfortable, and I can get my mobility scooter into the cavernous trunk.

If that works out well, I’ll take the car to Monterey. My plans are coming together for the informal everyone-welcome SCM caravan. We will leave Portland on Monday, August 14, and overnight in Eureka, CA. On August 15, we drive to Novato, CA. Our arrival in Monterey will be around mid-day on Wednesday, August 16. I will be at the Portola Hotel & Spa for meet and greets with SCMers through Friday, August 18, before heading home on Saturday.

After checking in on the 250C, I also ran the SCM Land Rover Disco II to Doug Shipman to find out why an oily black lagoon had suddenly appeared under it. Then I picked up the Alfa Spider S4 from the stereo shop in preparation for the Oregon Alfa Club Old Spider tour, and connected with Al Blanchard at A&P Specialties about our mid-year 2.7 Porsche 911 S Sporto. He says he is making good progress.

I wonder if wrangling cattle would be any different – or easier.



  1. Well, if you had bought that one Roy Spencer had, you’d really be upside down already… so you still have a chance to come out okay. And you never know- if it turns out really well, which it probably will, someone else will want it, too.

  2. We never buy cars as investments. You bought it right and it will soon be a great driver. Miles of smiles. Stop looking at the cost and bring it up to the condition that you want. you know you will be upside down, so just enjoy the ride.

    • Ron. This is great advice. As Neil Young once sang: …With trunks of memory’s still to come.

  3. I worked on lots of these back in the day. Really solid cars that drive well and will last forever with aftermarket rust prevention treatments. My personal favorite was the later 280C model with its DOHC 6-cylinder and fuel injection.

  4. It’s been a tenet of vintage MB owners (oldtimer and youngtimer) for decades that “the most expensive car you can buy is a cheap Mercedes-Benz.”

    In the Mercedes 500E world, we have developed over the past 15 years a “rule of thumb” that has become a Law —

    – All cars with <100,000 miles have $10,000+ of deferred maintenance on them, whether the owner knows or admits to this or not

    – All cars with 100,000-150,000 miles have $15,000+ of deferred maintenance; and

    – All cars with more than 150,000 miles have $25,000+ of deferred maintenance.

    Many owners who have purchased these cars, and had the requisite work discovered and done right, have actually said these numbers are conservative.

    All this said, a properly preserved and fettled Mercedes is also one of the most practical and rewarding cars that one can own.

    • 👍

    • A friend bought a 2012 S500 with 12,000 miles! from a wholesaler with a 15,000 mile warranty. The fuel injectors started to fail ($1500 each and there are 8) and the warranty covered the first three, then they said fuel injectors are a normal wear part like tires and are not covered. Also the car is equipped with an unusual mobile phone / infotainment interface – the MB dealer wanted thousands to make it work, despite that disabled the car periodically.

  5. One of my favorite things about you, Keith, is you’re a normal, car enthusiast human who occasionally acts on emotion, not like an ROI robot. I hope that Benz brings you more joy than you could have ever dreamed, money be damned.

  6. Now I know why you wanted to “thin the heard” and unload some of the SCM fleet…🤦‍♂️