V.I.S.I.T. – Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 W108

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When is it too cold and slushy to take your classic out? For some owners it’s never, apparently. I spotted this W108 280SE 4.5 not too long ago on Connecticut’s salty roads after a major snowstorm, looking rather smug sitting on Nokian Hakkapeliitta 2 winter tires. Clearly, some classics are better able to handle such conditions than others. For instance, you would never see a classic Alfa Romeo, even some unloved Alfetta sedan, being driven on the interstate behind a salting truck.  But this Benz seems to be made of stronger stuff.

This example appeared to be in much better than driver condition, and if I had the time to examine it closer, it would have probably appeared closer to club concours condition than anything else. Some of you will recall that the W108 and W109 didn’t stay in production for very long, only being made from 1965 till 1972.  And the W108 seen here only gained the 4.5 liter engine in 1971, which was available for less than twenty four months until the model was replaced by the W116 in November of 1972.

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Unlike the W116 the W108 arguably has a claim to being considered a true classic, as the W116s stateside were not especially babied. In fact, most of the W116s that I see at shows have relatively high mileage, and had invariably been restored following a hard life. The W108, on the other hand, comes from a time when Mercedes-Ben cars were still bought and kept as heirlooms, and I’m starting to see more and more of these restored examples at shows. The only place where I am not starting to see show-quality W108s are trains station parking lots in Connecticut in the middle of the friggin’ winter, which made this sighting quite surprising.

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What’s the last classic car you saw being driven “out of season”?

By |2013-01-23T12:00:27+00:00January 23rd, 2013|V.I.S.I.T. - Vehicles I Saw In Traffic|16 Comments

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