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CALIFORNIACLASSIX All Original, Low Mileage 1976 Mercedes-Benz 280S Sonderklasse

Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: S-Class
Year: 1976
Mileage: 79150
VIN: 1160201206159
Vehicle Title: Clean
Item location: Ventura, California, Canada

1976 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Additional Info:

Superb Survivor: 1976 Mercedes-Benz 280S
Sonderklasse Please wait a few moments while our high-resolution photos load.

Filling the big shoes of its predecessor, the Mercedes W108/109, built from 1967 until 1972, was no easy task. But the folks in Stuttgart-Sindelfingen did it, and today, several generations of S-Class sedans later, we realize that the W116 just might be the best Sonderklasse ever produced.

Mouse Over the Photos to Enlarge.

The W116 is as solid as a bank vault. Its every part and detail exude precision and value. The inherent quality is evident the moment you open the door, and close it. Lacking the electronic nannies of its successors, it is destined to live forever, whereas the lifespan of today's Benzes will be determined by the electronic components that control . . . well, pretty much everything. A W116, especially one of the rare carbureted versions such as this fine example, can be kept alive and well forever just with basic diagnostic equipment and simple hand tools.

The 1976 Mercedes-Benz 280S Sonderklasse Sedan prominently presented here is the finest W116 we've ever had the pleasure to own. A low mileage California car, it features its factory original paint and interior, and boasts an interesting provenance as well.

Manufactured during the month of December, 1975, VIN *116 020 12 061 594* -- a 280S sedan -- was ordered with Pastel Blue Glasurit paint (factory code #922G) over a Blue MB-Tex interior (code #102). Options noted on the original metal tag affixed to the radiator support include:

  • 420 Floor shift
  • 467 Instruments in miles
  • 494 California version
  • 513 Becker Europa Stereo radio
  • 531 Automatic antenna
  • 586 Behr Airconditioning plus 4 electric window lifts
  • 592 Green tinted, laminated glass all around plus heated rear window

Thankfully, the car has retained its complete set of original books, immaculately kept inside the clear vinyl pouch. These include:

  • Owner's manual
  • Owner's Service and warranty book
  • Owner's Emissions systems manual
  • Maintenance booklet (stamped)
  • Mercedes-Benz Parts catalog "B"
  • Hangtag Cruise control
  • Emissions warranty
  • Dealer directory U.S.A. (2)

The factory KARDEX build card contains everything there's to know about he car's equipment, even the engine number.
Sold brand new on May 20, 1976 at Palmer Import Motors in Long Beach, Calif., the Benz's original owner was none other than the legendary Aub LeBard. Mr. LeBard, son of "Pappy" Lebard was one of the early "iron men" competing in California's burgeoning off-road motorcycle racing, winning the grueling 150-mile Big Bear Mountain race three times in a row between 1949 and 1951, first on a Matchless, then on BSA. LeBard became proprietor of the largest BSA dealership in the West, located in La Habra, Calif. After BSA went out of business in 1974, Mr. LeBard went on selling Hondas, Yamahas and Kawasakis. The dealership still exists; today it is called MOTO UNITED. Aub LeBard, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 91, is an inductee of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Residing in a toothbrush clean engine compartment rests the M110 inline 6 twin-cam engine. It was Mercedes' first "high tech" engine whose smoothness rivals many modern powerplants. This motor has gained a well-deserved reputation of being lively, yet indestructible.

This particular engine is in exceptional condition, with no issues to report. Not surprising, given its low mileage: compression is superb and leakdown within 8% along all 6 cyclinders.

There are no fluid leaks of any kind here.
Note: the colorful front components -- commonly green or orange -- are factory correct.

Since this car has never been apart, never had any rust or body repairs of any kind, everything lines up and fits perfectly, to the highest Teutonic standards, back when Made in Western Germany was indeed a world-famous hallmark of quality.

It's the details that tell the story. Virtually all experts would rate this car to be in "mint condition."

We measured it thoroughly: the car still carries its factory original paint, and all of it is superbly preserved. Apart from a small scrape at the bottom of the left rear door, not deep enough to break the paint, there really are no flaws worth mentioning.

Above sheet shows the paint thickness readings, performed on 11/16/2019.

Turning our attention to the interior, we find the original headliner and sunvisors beautifully preserved.

The elegant cockpit of the big S-Class sedan is a textbook example of focused functionality. Everything you'd need to know is easy to see, all controls are located where you'd want 'em, and it all works perfectly.

The real Zebrano wood veneer looks flawless, and the original dash top shows only one isolated hairline split.

The indicated mileage of 079,149 is the total, original mileage this Sonderklasse Mercedes has travelled during the past forty-four years.

Original, fauteuil-like front seats are still firm and feature their original blue MB-Tex covers. There's one very small wear spot on the outer edge, but that's about it.

Original rear bench features a retractable center armrest; it remains in flawlessly preserved condition.

Ice cold factory air conditioning and original, working BECKER Europa radio with working automatic power antenna.

All of the lights work, of course.

Cavernous trunk is so clean and untouched, you almost wonder if it has ever been used.

Original tool roll has never been opened and remains in its clear plastic wrapper imprinted with the "280S" model name. Unused factory spare has remnants of white talcum powder still visible on the virginal tire.

You are looking at the cleanest trunk floor we've ever seen on a Mercedes of that vintage.

Untouched undercarriage shows like that of a four-year-old car, yet this fine automobile is 44 years old.

Again, it's the details that tell the whole story. From the complete absence of corrosion to the powder blue paint gracing the wheel wells, this 280S will be impossible to duplicate.

Wednesday, November 13, turned out to be another fabulous autumn day here in paradise. We settled into the star cruiser's comfy chairs and headed for the open road.

Handling is the car's strong suit. The sedan tapped into technology from the famed C111 development test car. The 280S sports a double wishbone suspension with a torsion bar stabilizer up front, delivering zero offset and camber. The engineers added progressive anti-dive geometry to keep that big body stable under hard braking, resulting in Mercedes's traditionally firm, yet compliant ride quality. Nothing can upset this car's chassis. It has such a surefooted stance that it seems unstoppable. A real Panzerwagen!

Take the 280S on a spirited drive along a wide, sweeping road, and it will negotiate turns with swan-like grace. With its wide track, near-50/50 weight distribution, well thought-out suspension tuning and a stiff chassis, the 280S is as neutral as Switzerland.

Mercedes designed the 280S's handling limits to exceed the average driver's skills, making the sedan easy and safe to drive, with plenty of room for margin of error. It's a perfect example of the company's ideology of blending safety, performance, and comfort.

The 280S was far ahead of its time. If Daimler-Benz had continued to manufacture cars like the W116, rather than reaching downmarket, the folks from Stuttgart would have maintained their reputation and a legitimate claim on producing the best engineered cars on the planet.
Here's your golden opportunity to purchase one of the finest surviving examples of the fabulous W116 sedan on the planet -- almost for a song, if we dare say so.

Link to video on YouTube:

Here is a 3:06 minute video of the car

You are most welcome and encouraged to view this fine automobile in Ventura, by appointment, during the auction, or have someone inspect it for you. Please, perform your due diligence before you bid.

Please, note that this car is currently advertised on our Web site and on display in our Showroom. We reserve the right to accept a satisfactory offer and close this auction at any time.

Please, direct all inquiries to bill@californiaclassix.com or call us at 805-653-5551. TERMS OF SALE

  • By bidding in this auction, you declare that you have read and accept the Terms of this Sale as outlined below.
  • If you have any questions, please ask them before you bid. After the auction has ended, the sale is final.
  • Please, only bid on this car if you are serious about owning it and have the necessary funds readily available!
    We require a $500 deposit to be paid via PayPal within 24 hours of the end of the auction and the balance to be paid via bank wire transfer (or in cash) within 5 business days, unless other arrangements have been agreed upon during the auction.
  • The car comes with a clear California Certificate of Title. It is sold "as is, where is" with no warranty stated or implied. Mileage stated above is the current odometer reading. License plates shown for photographic purposes only.
  • You fully understand that you are not bidding on an "option to buy" this vehicle. You bid to own! There are no contingencies.
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