The year is 1980. Tuning was becoming increasingly popular. Not just Porsches and Ferraris were modified to customers need, but also daily drivers of the more fortunate were personalized. The Mercedes on this page demonstrates that in a very fine way. What's better than to create a stationcar that has the luxury of a limousine and the sportyness of a sportscar? That's exactly what Zender did when converting this Mercedes-Benz 280TE (W123) into a limousine-stationcar. The exterior of the Zender 280TE was modified in a fashion seen on AMG and Lorinser cars of the day: all brightwork was to be made in a dark colour, mostly dark-blue in this case. The new Zender-bumpers gave the Mercedes 280TE a more up-to-date look and better aerodynamic performance. Lowered suspension and BBS rims finished the job. 


The exterior was far from standard, but compared to the interior it was rather tame: the whole interior was covered in blue alcantara leather, from the dashboard and seats, to the rooflining. Even the floormats were matching blue lambswool. It wasn't just the upholstery Zender changed though, the Mercedes' stock front seats were replaced by two Recaro C-seats, there was a new steering wheel and in the rear the rear bench was left in place but the head rests were mounted on the ceiling was really a showpiece. 80's communication was possible by means of a ceiling-mounted carphone and a high-end 200 Watt Uher HiFi stereo system was mounted in a modified console in the dashboard. The glove compartment was enlarged and cooled so it was to be used as a small fridge.


The complete car, including AMG-engine tuning up to 215 BHP in was priced at 125.000 DM in 1980. The base Mercedes 280TE (W123) was priced at about 30.000DM, so the conversion was worth about 100.000DM. Quite in impressive increase....


This is Zender's Mercedes-Benz 280TE.


The exterior has the dark-blue brightwork common among early '80s tuner-Mercedes (although the dark-blue was usually black). The new front- and rear bumpers might not be the best features of this W123 stationcar, but Zender stressed the fact the lead to a better overall Cw-value of the car.



The rear end of the Zender 280TE. The new rear bumper gave the car a distinct new look.


The nose with it's dark-blue grille and fat spoiler-bumper is mean looking. A true autobahn-cruiser.


A true early 80's look.



Zender even carpeted the trunk of the 280TE, using the same blue material used for the floor mats.


This is blue heaven: everything is upholstered in blue alcantara-leather, including the Recaro C-seats, doorpanels, dashboard, Silberpfeil steering wheel, even te roof lining has been finished in blue alcantara. Note the car phone, that has been mounted on the roof. The buttons to operate the telephone are installed in the centre console.


The dashboard was modified by Zender to accomodate a Uher 200 watt HiFi stereo in the dashboard / centreconsole. The glove compartment is in fact a small fridge.


The rear seats with hanging head rests. Behind te seats there's a small parcel shelf which holds some of the speakers for the 200 watt stereo.




Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013


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