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A stunning Mercedes-Benz S Class saloon, from the era of legendary Mercedes build quality.

At a glance:
Mercedes 280 SE 2.8 six cylinder automatic
Original specification & unmodified
Only 79,675 miles with documented service history
Every MOT from new to confirm low mileage
MOT to March 2021 with no advisories
Last owner for 7 years
HPi Clear

The model:
This is a magnificent Mercedes-Benz; German over-engineering from the time when Mercedes-Benz built their cars to the ultimate specification, rather than to a budget. The S class, or SE in this instance, was the flagship model and in its day was probably the most luxurious and most expensive large saloon money could buy, possibly even the best car in the world at launch. In 1979, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was re-launched with this generation, known as the W126, and once again took a big technological leap from what came before. This new look aerodynamic styling by designer Bruno Sacco eventually filtered its way down the entire Mercedes range.


​The history of this car:
The car was first registered in 1981, and was delivered to Mr Daykin of Ferndown, registered to BP Oil Limited of London, perhaps as his company car. Since then the car had one number plate transfer as 874 ECD and then reverted to its current (and original) registration. In total only 6 owners spanning 35 years and 8 months years, many of whom are detailed in the service records. The last owner had the car for 7 years.


The specification:
This is the more desirable ‘SE’ short wheelbase version rather the slightly ungainly ‘SEL’ long wheel base limousine version. It is presented in an eye catching ‘Astral Silver’ metallic (paint code 735) which suits and enhances the finesse of Bruno Sacco’s original design.


According to online sources, there are only 79 of these cars still taxed on UK roads with 212 notified off road, which means this car is increasingly rare and desirable. 


This car has covered an exceptionally low 79,675 miles (at time of writing) backed up by all old MOTs and service documentation. This is an average of 2,200 miles per year.


Service History:
The original service history book is present, and a two inch thick folder of receipts for servicing and maintenance. There is also the original owners manual and full book pack, plus two keys. The service history indicates this car has been cared for very well over the years: 12 service stamps from Majestic Mercedes Benz of Bournemouth and Regan and Hines from 1982 at 596 miles to 1996 at 31,473 miles, then Jacksons Mercedes Benz of Bournemouth subsequently and various others.

The car will be serviced prior to collection by the new owner.

On the Road:
These cars drive exceptionally well, even by today’s standards. The car starts eagerly, and cruises well, effortlessly wafting along to the muted burble from the engine. The automatic gearbox changes as expected and operates smoothly. The car has a very solid German feel and is very engaging to drive, whilst easily keeping up with modern traffic. The speedometer appears accurate and the car is capable of covering long journeys with ease. It’s a very pleasing experience driving a car of this quality. The steering is precise yet light and the view over the bonnet of the Mercedes badge above the chrome grille gives a great degree of satisfaction when wafting from A to B in style. In 1981 this car would have been head and shoulders above the competition, and having driven many cars from that era, the high level of refinement and quality is still evident. The seats are comfortable and supportive, the suspension is very smooth and the car is a joy to own and enjoy. These cars can be used for everyday commuting if required, or just for pleasure as a weekend treat - by being capable of either these cars are the best of both worlds for classic motoring.


Original engine line-up spanned 2.8-litre six-cylinders, as well as the 3.8 and 5.0 litre V8. The 2.8 litre straight six is probably the most frugal of the range returning 25-35 (estimated) mpg, which means this car can be used everyday without breaking the bank. This M110.987 engine was used from 1972 in the previous SL and S Class, right up until 1989 in the G Wagen. It starts and runs nicely, and runs at the correct temperature with perfect oil pressure; (3 bars cold idle, 3 bars under acceleration/load and 2 bars on hot idle). The car runs perfectly on unleaded fuel as Mercedes prepared for this way back in the 1970s to meet strict emissions controls in the US.


The automatic transmission changes gear smoothly and performs as it should.


Sold with MOT until March 2021, with NO ADVISORIES, which is astonishing for a car of this age. The vehicle has had a pair of new front tyres for the MOT, whilst the rear tyres are both in good condition.


As can be seen from the photographs the vehicle bodywork shines well, is generally very tidy and presentable. However, please bear in mind this is a 35 year old car and will have developed patina and character commensurate with age. The chrome trim is all present and in good condition, and no evidence of corrosion in the (expensive to replace) chrome bumpers. Everything polishes up very nicely indeed. As is always the case with classic motoring, there are a few minor jobs and to do, and some fettling, but nothing which would prevent you from using this as an everyday classic car immediately. This car is not a concourse example, as they tend to sell for three times this price or more, but the list of jobs to do is relatively minor.

As can be seen from the photographs the car is very clean, tidy and well presented.

It’s always difficult to express in words the condition of any car, and most people have differing opinions about condition, so the best way to get a true impression will be to view this lovely car in person.
I’m confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this modern classic

The price of these cars is interesting; they originally cost a whopping £29,000 in 1981, which would probably have bought you a three bedroom house, which would cost you in the region of £250,000 today. These cars are appreciating in value, from a couple of thousand for an example requiring significant restoration, up to an astonishing £24,950 for a 15,000 mile mint example currently being offered for sale in Lincolnshire. The general value range for these cars in good, roadworthy and presentable condition is £4,000 - £8,000. However, this car is offered to sell swiftly at a very tempting £4450. Due to the provenance, history and low mileage, it could easily be improved to take it to the next price level, or return it to concourse should you so wish, relatively inexpensively.


This is fantastic ‘feel good’ modern classic. Prices are rapidly appreciating and the S Class is starting to rocket in value as the SL model from the same era has done. There are fewer ‘good ones’ left, so this is a rare and exciting opportunity. This is a 36 year old vehicle so not a new car, but everything is as you would expect for this age and mileage. I am confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this car.

You could have this parked on your driveway for less than you think!

AUTOMATIC - 1981 - 2.8 LITRE SIX - 79,675 MILES - £4,450


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