My father-in-law just left my 16 year old son a 1984 500 SEC - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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My father-in-law just left my 16 year old son a 1984 500 SEC

I just got word today that my father-in-law left his 1984 500 SEC to my 16 year old son who doesn't even have his license yet. Problem is, the car is in Los Angeles and we're in Austin, Texas. My father-in-law passed away in 2000 and the car may or may not have ever been driven since then. Now that his wife has died, the car is now my son's. So I cannot ask her if the car has been driven. The car probably has low mileage as my father-in-law was retired for many years before his death. Where do I start with this issue? Is it worth the repair cost? We don't even know when we get possession so I can't even fly out to take a look first hand as we do not even have access to the keys. If its worth it, my husband will drive it for a few years before we even consider giving it to our son. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 10:25 AM
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If they let the gas dry out in the tank, the cost of dropping and flushing the tank and cleaning the fuel system is going to be quite significant.
My 17-years old drives diesel. Don't think I would ever let him drive 500. Too tempting and I've heard about too many teenagers wrapping their cars on huge trees.
I would try to sell the car to an enthusiast after checking if it will start. Good part is, that MB prices are much higher in CA, than in TX
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 10:54 AM
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Someone has to be the administor to the estate, you need to have the "estate" released it will probably have to go to probate. You need the release to either transfer the title or to get a duplicate. With a title MB can order up a key, you can have the car shipped, but since your son is a minor I dont think you can title a vehicle in his name. I would suggest locating the administor to the estate or a attorney
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 02:01 PM
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Get confirmation that the car is yours, and then have your husband and son take a truck and a trailer to Cali and pick it up. It'll make for a great memory someday. Once you get the car back, you can start cleaning it up and fix what needs to be. The SEC is a very safe car for a 16yr old, but it might be a bit fast for your tastes. Teach him to respect the car, and teach him how to drive properly. I don't see any downside to the situation, so make the most of the upside.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 02:21 PM
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Get confirmation that the car is yours, and then have your husband and son take a truck and a trailer to Cali and pick it up. It'll make for a great memory someday. Once you get the car back, you can start cleaning it up and fix what needs to be. The SEC is a very safe car for a 16yr old, but it might be a bit fast for your tastes. Teach him to respect the car, and teach him how to drive properly. I don't see any downside to the situation, so make the most of the upside.
+1,

Keep the car, fix it and keep it in the family. A 16 year old can kill himself in any car if he shows no respect for the car he drives.

Cheers and enjoy the ride for years to come.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 05:33 PM
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unlucky situation, but lucky kid.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:15 PM
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Hey, Lisa, welcome aboard.

Unless your family is comprised of strong DIY automotive enthusiast types, I wouldn't plan on taking possession of the car as is without more information. Have it checked out by someone where the car is; if it has just been sitting for 8 years it will need MAJOR work to be put back on the road in a safe and reliable condition. Sure you can have that done, but the only way it would be affordable would be to DIY and it will still be expensive and very time consuming. So if it's in good condition otherwise and has just been sitting under a cover for 9 years, it will be appealing to a certain class of enthusiast and you can sell it as is, where is, and give the money to your son for college or another car or whatever.

However, if the car has been occasionally driven, I'd have it serviced (almost certainly new tires as well, they are likely to fail because even if driven they're probably very old) and then drive it back to Texas. Fix what needs to be fixed, maintain it well and enjoy.

Until you find out more about the car's actual condition, though, I'd not start thinking about it too much.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 02:51 AM
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As others have mentioned it may need some parts replaced, especially "soft" items like tires, belts, hoses and yes you will want to have the brakes gone thru and the fuel tank and lines/filers cleared of debris and sediment. That's *if* it hasn't been driven.

You may be able to easily obtain the VIN in which case you can run a carfax which will give you some pertinent details such as when it was last smog checked or otherwise inspected and registered, telling you if it has sat or been driven and the associated mileage of each record.

I tend to be of the school of thought that young drivers can injure themselves or others in any vehicle but are more apt to do so in a very powerful car. My first car was an American V8 with way too much power for my maturity level, and running at 120mph on country roads at midnight may not have been possible in a Hyundai. The issue of respecting the wishes of your father-in-law comes into play as well, and if he wished for your son to have the car then he probably should. Have you discussed this with your son, perhaps he thinks of the car as "an old person's car" as many young people do of any Mercedes and might not want it in any condition.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 05:49 AM
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The w126's are fabulous cars. The others have already told you about fuel issues and so forth. I would take a look at good shops in the area:

Recommended Repair Shops - Benzworld.org - Mercedes Benz Discussion Forum

and have a post purchase inspection done. It will likely cost a couple of hundred, but it will give you a basis of what to expect. The w126 forum has lots of DIY info and very helpful members. Your 16 year old could enjoy fixing up his first mercedes. Some craftsman tools for his birthday or at the holidays and he would be on his way. If you have difficulty finding any repair information, pm me. I have the service manual for the w126's. I can send you what you need.
Personally, I still own the first mercedes I bought. It is a 300SEL and it is the best mercedes I have owned.

Mike
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 01:31 PM
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This is a no-brainer to me: a free car is a free car. If it turns out to be hopeless, part it out.

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
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