I just rejoined the Benzworld group after a couple of years idle time. We are driving our third MB, a 1998 E320 wagon which we have owned for 8 years, it's just rolled over 70,000 miles. Number 1 was a 1967 230S sedan. It had many problems, but we ran it past 200,000 miles over nearly 20 years. Number 2 was a 1981 300TD wagon, the best model that MB ever built. It's garaged now, waiting on some minor engine work.
I have done most of the wrenching on the earlier cars, but the E320 has become too complex for the average shade tree mechanic. I do the oil changes, even that's been made unnecessarily complex (no drain plug!). A nice profit center for dealerships has certainly been created. I have used a local independent MB garage for most maintenance, except for the fan pulley replacement (a recall) and the oxygen sensor which was a mistake on my part because I misread the owners manual and thought that was covered by the emission system warranty (look for the microdots in that list!)
One thing about MBs that few other makes can match is the ready availability of replacement parts. I'm sure I can get almost any part for the 1981 300TD diesel and that was also true in the 20 years I maintained the 1967 230S. After all, both of those models served time as third world taxicabs!
I just turned 81 and don't know of any reason why I will switch brands at this point in life. Thank you for making a great forum available.