Preserving Elegance: Ed Alderson’s Bagged Mercedes Benz 280SE

-December 23, 2012-

Preserving Elegance: Ed Alderson’s Bagged Mercedes Benz 280SE

Andrew Ritter

The design of the Mercedes Benz W108  line is one that has aged like a fine wine. As years go by, some car designs begin to look dated and they lose the charm they once had. Styling cues that followed the trends of the decade and spoke to the consumer market are replaced by the next hot thing and become less relevant. Amidst the flippant trends are designs that transcend and reach an iconic level and age with a certain elegance. These classic icons still speak to enthusiast and grab the eyes of pedestrians as they pass by. More than years later, the Mercedes Benz W108 body styles still emanate class and beauty. Their lines still evoke thoughts of yacht clubs and country clubs while the shiny brightwork is still fit for nights out on the town and black tie affairs.

stanced mercedes benz 280se

Ocean mist rose as the sun set on the marinas, and down the road, a 1968 Mercedes Benz 280SE cruised casually over the smooth pavement. It seemed fitting that we met with Ed Alderson for a photoshoot under the shade of trees lining one of San Diego's fine golf courses.  Ed's Benz had first garnered our attention on the StanceWorks forums and it left us gawking when we finally saw it in person at a local show. It has a simplicity that suggests a strong appreciation for its history and a respect for the original success of its design. Mike and I instantly knew that we had to shoot it.

bagged w108 mercedes benz airride

As camera shutters clicked away, we spoke with Ed about his pride and joy.  At age 14, he began noticing when a Mercedes would drive by and he was intrigued by the brand aesthetic and philosophy. As he grew older, he found himself behind the wheel of a Mercedes Benz, but he had to put it up for sale when he decided to leave his home in Melbourne, Australia, after 25 years. His job and dreams of living in America led him to pack up his things and move to California. Ed was greeted by the flourishing California car scene and was pleasantly surprised when he discovered all of the automotive treasures that awaited him.

mercedes benz bade interior steering wheel

Tasked with finding a daily driver to get him around his new home state, Ed knew that he had to get behind the wheel of a Mercedes again. The search began with his sights on an E55 AMG but they were quickly diverted when a 1968 280SE appeared on Craigslist. The same model had left a permanent mark on him years ago as it drove by, and he knew that one day it would take up a spot in his garage. Eager to grasp the opportunity and not let it pass him by, Ed drove up to investigate the condition of the Craigslist find. He was greeted by the owner, the nephew of the original owner, and a Mercedes that sat in great shape. The car was originally purchased from the Mercedes Benz dealership in Hollywood and it was still adorned with the black and yellow license plate and original dealer frame. A week later, Ed was driving his new love home to begin its duty as his daily driver.

stance bagged mercedes benz 280se

It takes a certain amount of courage to hop into a 44 year old car and rely on it as your only means of transportation, but it's been 15,000 miles and the German reliability still hasn't let him down (*knock on wood trim*).  When dealing with classics, maintenance becomes paramount, as they require a little more love and nurturing compared to their contemporary counterparts. Replacing aged trim and bushings, refreshing the brakes, repairing tired power windows, and addressing the old fuel lines have all kept this classic car out on the streets, offering the same amenities that it had while cruising the streets of Hollywood in the 70s.

low bagged mercedes benz

As a designer, Ed has a deep appreciation for the iconic lines and styling cues of the W108. He has been careful to preserve the original aesthetic; only making subtle changes where necessary. One thing he knew he had to do was address the stance. The W108 succeeded the W111 and with the update came a lower body line and a ride height that sat 60mm lower than its  predecessor. The designers sought to give the W108 a lower physique and Ed ran with their  intentions. He visited SoCal Suspension to install his airride and hunker the body lines closer to the ground. With further help from Dan Davis at Five Star Automotive, he was able to get the car a bit lower and sitting just right. The grounded height accents nicely against the otherwise subtle demeanor of the car. It garners attention without drawing away from the power behind the original design of the car. Ed has done a great job improving on an already beautiful automobile and it's a good lesson in simplicity.

slammed bagged mercedes benz w108

The W108 has lines and beauty that have traveled through the decades with a finesse that only select cars can. Ed has done his part in keeping another fine example of automotive history on today's roads. With a subtle contemporary twist, he has maintained the elegance of an iconic model in the Mercedes pedigree. At StanceWorks, we enjoy seeing owners put love and care into preserving these historical cars and allowing them to continue their lives out on the streets where they belong. Ed's 1968 Mercedes Benz 280SE lives on, projecting the same luxury and grace that it did 44 years ago, and we're sure it will for many more years to come.

tuck slammed mercedes benz


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Comments on Preserving Elegance: Ed Alderson’s Bagged Mercedes Benz 280SE

  • Jessyyyy22

    Have you seen this A Class Mercedes Benz A180 Review?
    I’m thinking of getting one, any thoughts?

  • VictoriaSilvestti

    The above snaps of Mercedes car is really spectacular to watch. I love to drive a Mercedes Benz and this is my most favorite brand among all luxury car brand. The classic car are very classy looking and mostly popular in old days. Now, if we talk about a classic car and a new stylish coupe, then you can say that today’s stylish car are technically and performance wise very much advanced than before. Both classic and modern cars have different looks. Classic cars are very beautiful and now we can very less of them. some of them are now available in museum.

  • maxliner_usa

    Classic beauty!

  • Casho

    This car is an inspiration for me.
    I’ve been looking for a 280SE in Australia to do similar to.
    Well done!

  • Kenneth J

    Definitely an inspiration! Saw this article a little year ago, and I can say for sure, its the reason why I am now in the process of buying a ’71 280S, just to put it on bags and have fun in the summer. Thumbs up for this article, and this awesome car!

  • tibo de wolf

    What did they do to lower the body line? I don’t really see it, thanks.
    Very, very nice car

  • Ivan G

    What differences are there between a this, 1968 280 SE,and a 1970 280 SE L ?

  • SvenKirsipuu

    SEL is 10cm longer than usual SE

  • Lachys114

    I have read this article about 6 times now, still love the crap outta this thing! So clean and simple!

  • GrekShrek

    Which color is that exactually?

  • LRWest

    Think those same bumpers on the w108 you have here, will for on a 76 300d (w115)? I’m looking to change my us spec one’s for the euro.  I’m liking yours a lot better. Question 2…. Best way to lower w115 without adding air ride?

  • Dave5928

    LRWest ‘all’ you have to do is cut two coils from your suspension to get a sweet almost 4-inch drop to the front of your car.  I just did it on my W114 during my suspension rebuild and the results blew me away.  I didn’t realize two coils would drop it so much.  Any lower and you will be unable to go over speed bumps.  The ride is still very good and comfortable.  Check out the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots to see the difference.  I love my old ‘grandpa’ car but that SUV-like gap in the wheel arches was just a little too old.  This car still looks classy but has a LOT more attitude with the dropped suspension.  Let me know if I can help with info or pics (I took plenty to document the process).

  • Dave5928

    I’m new around here.  What’s up with the photo distortion?  They definitely don’t look like that on my end.

  • AE

    Absolutely stunning!

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