I’m fairly certain I have recently expressed how much I absolutely love the Mercedes-Benz W108 chassis. The classic lines have made it an icon, embodying the style that we now expect from Mercedes-Benz. That’s why I’m shocked to say it is one of my favorite cars slammed to the ground, and I’m not really sure why.
This particular W108 is a work of art, stemming from owner Jimmy Uria’s lifelong automotive passion. Jimmy has had many cars in the past, with a pension for those big, low and slow. His first classic, A ’64 Cadillac. From there his garage turned into a revolving door of cars, coming from all over the world. But there was one he always wanted, a classic Merc. His first, a ’72 280. While that was a good DD, it wasn’t the ‘one’. The search continued until he found this, a Jamaican born, righthand drive 280SE 3.5. Another ’72, no less.
After acquiring the 280, Jimmy got to work. While it was in great condition, Jimmy had to do some minor maintenance to get it up to snuff. A set of new white-walls where the first thing to be changed, before a slew of OEM parts started trickling into place. The next step was lighting, getting a set of European headlights with integrated fogs, a pair of French-spec taillights, and a rear fog light. Other than that the 280SE’s exterior remained nearly stock, a testament to how beautiful these cars are from the factory.
Jimmy wanted the Merc to ride on air, in a way the classic 300SEL used to. The only difference is that Jimmy wanted it to both be reliable, and cost-effective. That meant going aftermarket. Jimmy went with the BCFab FBSS kit, featuring Slam Specialties airbags, and dual Viair 480 compressors. Mix that with the 5-gallon aluminum tank and you have a serious setup. The 280SE has ample trunk space, making for the perfect mounting location for all the air ride hardware. Jimmy used a beautiful slab of wood to mount the entire setup, displaying it perfectly. Mix in a few nick nacks for style, and you have an ultra clean trunk, ready for Slamfest event.
Jimmy drove the Merc in this condition for a while, before electing to go full blown restore on it. He had the entire car repainted in the OEM Silver Grey, then had all the of the chrome beautifully repolished. He even went as far as replacing all of the hinges, rubber moldings, even sourcing OEM window shades. The interior took a lot longer to restore, with hard to find optional parts taking years to track down. But man, was it worth it. The 280SE has one of the classiest interiors of all time, and to have one in a righthand drive is an absolute dream.
With the modern suspension, the 280SE has been transformed into a do it all rig. Jimmy can use it as a DD, driving over potholes and speed bumps with zero issue. Or, he can push a couple of buttons and rest the frame rails on the ground. He even says it has a planted ride, for those slightly spirited drives. while I’d be guilty of driving in the ‘normal’ position all of the time, I’m impressed with how good this car looks dropped to the ground. It almost compliments the body lines by doing so. Jimmy built this W108 to the perfect spec, as it’s unassuming and OEM until it’s not. Well done Mr. Uria, you actually got me to like a stanced ride.