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Mercedes Benz: 2010 S450, 1998 E320(T), 1966 250SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm looking into eventual acquisition of an early Silver Shadow or Corniche Drop Head. I enjoy collecting mechanically unusual cars and I've always liked the Shadow for its hydraulic system, so an early car with front self leveling would be desirable to me. I was initially set on a Jaguar E-Type, but the headroom and general interior dimensions are just too uncomfortable on long drives for me at 6'3". In the past, I've had a number of M120 V12 Mercedes, a 60s Lincoln Continental, and briefly a basketcase Silver Wraith II which was suffering a major wiring meltdown as well as numerous other issues. I'm currently restoring a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE, and I am generally especially interested in RR/Bentley, Mercedes, Lincoln, and Packard.
 

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Welcome, Is the 250SE a W108 or W111? I'd love to see pictures.
You should try a Rolls Royce out for size. These cars are big but can be a tight squeeze.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome, Is the 250SE a W108 or W111? I'd love to see pictures.
You should try a Rolls Royce out for size. These cars are big but can be a tight squeeze.
It's a w108 SWB sedan with floor mounted manual transmission. Incidentally, I've been trying to acquire a 280SE 3.5 coupe from a friend, but it has been difficult to convince him to sell and the car is in rough shape.

I only drove the Silver Wraith II once after getting it home since it was in such poor mechanical condition. Room was fine but the seating position was a little odd-steering wheel felt oddly close to me and small for the type of car, and very upright. This could have been just because the car was so screwed up the seat might not have been adjusting to its full travel. Body condition was fantastic, everything else was totally shot. I think someone tried to fix the wiring and ruined the interior.

Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Cloud Vehicle
 

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They do have odd seating positions, i'm 5'10 and it's cramped getting and out of my cars. Nice W108. I ran a site called www.w108.org many years ago when I was a little more enthusiastic. I still have a 300SEL 6.3 that i'm (not really) going through.
 

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Welcome to the forum and best of luck in your search. Seat track extensions may still be available for Shadows, if not they are easily fabricated. I'm 6' and with the seat all the way down and back it is comfortable.
 

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1971 Bentley T
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Most early Shadows had the front levelling dismantled. It does nothing - the weight of the engine makes other load variations insignificant at the front end. So you will be very lucky to find one with the bits there and still in working condition. But good luck in your search. If you like hydraulics you will LOVE a Shadow (but you may like Bentley T even more).

Alan D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited by Moderator)
I'm aware the front leveling doesn't really do anything. I just want it for its own sake 😅. I love cars with weird hydraulic/mechanical systems: Bosch Mechanical Injection, The entire Mercedes 600, Packard Torsion Level, etc.

Is there a difference in the hydraulics on a Bentley T?
 

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The hydraulics used in the front of RR/B was used to help lessen body roll and eventually caused more issues and was eventually eliminated. Bentleys have the same system and parts compared to their RR equivalent.
The MB 600 was a wonderful car and superbly engineered and I was lucky to have owned one. I would choose a 600 over the RR any day and I regret selling it..
 

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What issues did the front self leveling cause other than increasing maintainence requirements? As I understand the slow leveling mode prevents the front from causing handling problems, but is there something more?

I had a chance to drive a SWB 600 in California a few years ago. I'd love to have one eventually. Happily a friend of mine has a 450SEL 6.9 and I've had a chance to get some experience with servicing the M100.


Moderator note: There is no need to quote a previous post when you are replying if you are following the train of thought in the thread.
 

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The RR hydraulics were/are complicated as it was and it only led to additional maintenance and at one point there was a factory service bulletin to block off the front system.
 
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