'71 250C

(Rotten picture of) The Ebola Fishtank, 1971 250C conversion convertible

I had been seeing this car in the paper for months, and the price kept creeping down. Finally I had to drive by, just to see if it was what I thought it was. It was, and it was quite attractive. I love driving a convertible, and we even have his and hers SL's, but we were expecting a baby so something was going to have to change. Either I give up open-air driving (when not alone), or we get a four-seater convertible. It was either something like this, or a Beemer.

The seller was motivated, and wouldn't let us walk away from it. My wife tries to give me grief about it, but as I had deliberately left my checkbook at home that day, in an effort to forestall doing anything hasty, and as she actually wrote the check, she has little room to complain on this one.

It was driveable, and only needed a few minor things to be acceptable. But it needed quite a bit more to be nice. I've been pecking away at it for some time now. I've kept the repairs to this one cheap, so as not to inflame my wife. It's far from a perfect specimen, and is really just one to drive and enjoy.

The car is essentially rust-free, except for the trunk floor and some very small spots at the rear of the rear footwells. Nothing in any of the bad spots so far as I can tell. Supposedly the car has been garaged since its conversion about ten years ago, and based upon the condition I believe this. It was ungaraged for awhile after I got it, unfortunately.

Because this car's hardtop had no seals, it leaks badly in the rain. I've tried to add some rain seals but they don't work well. All this has earned it the moniker "Fishtank." And because it leaked a lot of oil from engine, transmission, rear end, and CV joints, and leaked fuel, brake fluid, refrigerant, power steering fluid, and now the latest coolant leaks, it has also earned the "Ebola" nickname as all its vital fluids ooze out from every pore.

We drove it across the state to the coast last year before the baby came, and it gave us some trouble on the way. It exhibited severe oil use (burned) at speed going up grades, although there had been no prior signs of excessive oil usage. I'd put in all four quarts I had brought along before we even got halfway there, and we must have killed a lot of mosquitoes. We stopped and bought a case of oil, but it didn't use any more after that; the case remained unopened. Three things may have been responsible for the improvement: it had cooled down by that time of evening, the roads thereafter were slower, and I had pulled the breather hose out of the air cleaner (and plugged the air cleaner hole). When I parked it at home after this eventful trip, I noticed quite a puddle of coolant under it the next day. I tore into it after that, and it's not been running for any significant time since. But, while at the beach we removed the top and had a wonderful time, so it's not like the trip was all bad.

I expect it'll never get that far from home again. At least, not if my wife has anything to say about it. This car is supposed to serve as the backup family car when the SDL is down, but as it's not running yet, the Chicken Wagon has been pressed into this service instead.

A (partial) list of its repairs:

More pictures:

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