After nearly 2 years without a Benz, I'm back!
I was first introduced to MBs back in 2001 when I picked up a very nice '87 300D Turbo from a co-worker. The car was cosmetically great - the engine was pretty good too, but with 300K on the clock, the suspension had seen better days. More clunking than I cared for. Eventually got all that sorted.
I put a 100K on the car with no issues. As a newbie, I was enamored with the engineering in this car. I was amazed at how well the old 300D with over 400K drove compared to cars with less than 1/4 the mileage. It was also ridiculously frugle. On a trip to Michigan clipping along at 80+, we averaged 35mpg! NOT BAD!
Eventually, work forced me to take a company car, and the old girl sat unused, under a cover in a storage lot. One day, I went to check up on her, and noticed that the coolant resevoir was empty, and there was oil everywhere. Not sure what happened, couldn't trace the leaks, etc. Upon further examination, the engine was frozen in place, and the fuel tank had ruptured. I nearly wept. I ended up donating the car to a local school auto shop.
My next MB,which I bought before we donated the 300D was the E420. My first V8 car (have a V8 Disco II, but that doesn't count)! Again, I was amazed with the quality, feel, and speed of this car. Being a newer model, I noticed the little engineering upgrades that the MB engineers made to the vernerable W124 since my '87 oil burner rolled off the line.
I bought the E420 with a little over 160K on it. It was in A+ mechanical and B+ cosmetic condition. The leather was like carboard. Leatherique made it better. The paint (Forest Green) was chipped up front, and rusty around the rear end edges and trunk (trunk rust seems to be typical). Again, I put nearly 100K on the car with no troubles at all. That is until we moved to a new apartment.
In our new complex, there were speedbumps that would make a G weap. There was no easy way to get over these. They were ridiculouly tall, and sharp. The only sane way to go over them was to literally crawl at a ridiculously slow rate, diaginally across. I would literally have to ask any back seat passengers to get out at each bump to prevent the car from getting hung up.
Anyway... 7 months of going over these two bumps at least twice daily exposed a catestrophic flaw. Despite the undercarriage being quite neat given the age and mileage, there was hidden rust. Evil hidden rust under the rear suspension cradle sub-frame mounts.
One evening, late after work. I went over the last bump and heard an odd crunch. Didn't think much of it. Put the car in the garage and went to bed. The next morning I opened the garage door and noticed that the front end of the car was pointing skyward (I back into the garage). I figured a flat tire. I slowely pulled the car out - it making horrendous noises all the while. When I finally got a good look at the situation, all I could see was that the rear wheels were tucked up in the wheel wells, fully inflated, and there was absolutley no suspension in the rear.
Had it towed to my mechanic's shop, where we saw the true extent of the carnage. The crunch I hear was the two rearmost mounts punching through the rear sheetmetal. My mechanic, a very good MB certified shop by the way, had never seen such a thing and had no idea where to begin a quote. After 2 days, and 4 experts looking at the car at his shop, the total came back at nearly $6k in damage. The insurance company and the apartment complex were of no help. The mechanic bought the car, an pulled the engine and some interior components and made his E320 wagon a E420 wagon... I wept. However, he still has the wagon, and the engine is going great! Warm and fuzzy knowing that the old bugger lives on in a new body!
Now, I find myself back in the game again with a recently acquired '93 400E. This car blows my E420 out of the water in terms of condition. It is surreal. It is hard to beleive based on driving and appearances that the car just (today) rolled over 150K.
I bought the car on the spot from a local dealer whom I've done business with in the past. It's a one family car with full service records, etc! Can't beat that! After driving a 2001 VW Passat GLX V6 manual for a year, and being VERY dissapointed both with it's lack of quality and horrendous reliability and repair costs, I have vowed never to drive anything but a Mercedes.
Not only have I cast off other marques, I'm really not interested in purchasing any new cars! Odd for a car fanatic like me! I have paid less for my last 3 mercedes than I would normally put as a down payment on a new benz. I simply don't need a new car, and have found that these cars, especially the W124's if at least partially maintained can give more longevity and cheaper running costs than anythng coming off a modern assembly line!
Perhaps, in another 4 or 5 years, I'll retire the '93 to classic car status and do a complete restore and upgrade to W210 or W220 chassis car!
In either case, I'm profoundly glad to be back, and am looking forward to many more years and miles of quality motoring!