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As the title claims, I am thinking about buying this car that is being offered to me at a really good price. It has some "bubbled" areas on the body, but seems to be a pretty solid car. I'm going to test drive it tomorrow. Is there anything I should know about this model year?

I researched it a little online, and it's popping up somewhere as a W116, but in others as a W126, so which would it be? Were they split that year? Does anyone know a website that would explain the vin to me (what number/letter combinations mean) so that I could make sure the vin matches the car?

When I drive it, what should I be looking for? This also may be my first diesel, so I'm not exactly sure what will be considered normal and what will be a sign of a bad car. I've always wanted one, and now the opportunity has popped up, so what the heck. If it's got the right price, and it's runs good, why not!?
 

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First, welcome to BenzForum. :D

The '80 300SD is a W116 and the SD was produced in 1978-80 and is a classic. It is an early S-Class automobile and if it is in good condition it's a great car. I have an '80 300SD myself and it is my daily driver. Items to look for which would impact the price, RUST anywhere (you mentioned some "bubbled areas" on the body), be sure to pull up the floor mats and carpet and inspect the floor pans. These cars often leak and rust out the floor pans. The rear floor pan area is lower than the front, so rust often starts there first. Other potential problems would be the window seals (front & rear), bad horsehair pads in the seats (my bet is the rear seat pads are gone and perhaps the MB-Tex material may be damaged as a result), and the ACC servo. One other potential problem area would be the sunroof, but since this is a 1980 W116 it likely does not have a sunroof. You might want to have the car inspected at an independent Mercedes shop. A pre-purchase inspection can answer a lot of questions and give you information to make an informed decision. Keep us posted.
 
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