1968 MERCEDES-BENZ 280 SE COUPE
The Maluti Antique Auto and Machine Club
Bethlehem, South Africa
1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Coupe
By Dr. Richard Lewis
Driving back home from a Board meeting in Johannesburg one day in August 2011 I happened to spot a very sorry sight sitting in a used car dealership, outside in the bad weather. I immediately reversed and went to have a look.
A 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE coupe. This was a late Friday afternoon.
On the Saturday I enquired and when the dealer offered to meet me after his church on Sunday I happily agreed as I thought when another collector spots this they will move quickly. She was for sale at R55k. The paint was cracked and had peeled right down to the metal in places, the dashboard was a mess and so was the carpeting inside. The seats were crooked, she had a power steering leak, etc, but I knew her worth and decided absolutely to purchase her.
On the Sunday, we closed the deal.
On Monday when I went to sign papers etc., there was a German man there pleading with the dealer to sell the car, he would offer R25k more than what I had paid. But I had the deal - thank goodness we had met on the Sunday.
Thereafter, I had her stripped down and re-sprayed - I was not happy with the job and so then brought her here to Jaco at GM Panel beaters in Bethlehem, and he gave her a beautiful new paint job.
I then sent her off to Mercedes restorer Ryan Uys in Johannesburg where I spent close to R50k having extensive mechanical and body / auto fitting work done on her - including some incredible work on the restoration of her dash.
I brought her back home on 12 July 2012) - a beautiful ride, in a beautiful car.
I am told that for my total outlay (to purchase and restore) currently at R119k, that I can expect to fetch over R400k for her. But with certain classic cars, this being one of them appreciating at 23% every 2 years (According to FINWEEK), she will remain part of my pension. I still have some work to do on her, such as get some small strips here and there re-chromed, and a new air conditioner, but in all she is now in very good condition.