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Project Car SOTU: The Benz

This year I added a new machine to my stable. I use the term stable loosely, because there’s not that much in there, and also I don’t own any horses. This is my 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280. It’s a w114 Benz, and it’s thankfully not saddled with a diesel engine. Instead, it gets the delightful inline-six cylinder engine known as the M110.

When new, it was rated at 160 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. That’s not enough juice to get this thing frying the tires at a stoplight, but it will happily cruise at 80 miles per hour on the highway.

I’m not messing with the car much though, as this is a car I’ve acquired as a simple cruiser with a dash of style and personality. Also, my wife gave me the thumbs up to let my daughter ride along in the back seat.

Right now, the car is sitting at a Mercedes-Benz shop that specializes in older models. They do plenty of work on the newer stuff, but they come highly recommended to wrench on the more classic elements of the Benz family. The car is there to get a proper eyeballing so that I can build a list of:

  • Things that have to be fixed NOW.
  • Things that will need to be fixed SOON.
  • Things that could be fixed down the road.

The car has been in the air on the lifts at Leistung Autohaus, and the report is primarily a good one. It’s dry underneath. I expected that to be the case, but to get a full thumbs up on the matter is a good thing. This is, after all, a car that was originally purchased by a little old lady (seriously) in Carlsbad, California.

I have oil change paperwork from the 1970s up through the 1990s. Possibly even into the 2000s, I have to go back and check.

A little stroll through some of the history of my #MercedesBenz

A post shared by hooniversejeff (@hooniversejeff) on

So the first order of business, after hearing from Leistung, is to fix the right front suspension bits. It’s a little wonky over there, so it’s time for a new ball joint and they’ll take a closer look when they’re replacing that.

The steering wheel you see in a photo above is also going into the car. My 1974 is the first year that went away from that style, which is a shame. I’m bringing the old-school-cool wheel back onto the column. I also want to have the seats refilled, as the original horsehair is pretty much toast. The seat covers themselves, however, are in excellent shape. Also, the original Becker radio works and is definitely not getting replaced. I may upgrade the rest of the audio system though, as listening to just FM radio through one paper speaker is only fun for a little bit. I like good tunes, and I’m going to find a way to add them without destroying any bits of this car.

So there won’t be much done beyond making it a simple, clean W114. I’ve toyed with the idea of air suspension, but I think I’m going to leave the car as close to stock as possible.

After all… there’s another old Benz that needs my attention.

  • Zentropy

    Love the car. Glad you’re keeping it true to original. Why mess with a good thing?