Date registered: Mar 2010
Vehicle: 1988 W124 300TE
Location: Williams Lake, BC, Canada
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One part of the equation you left out is your ability and willingness to do minor repairs/adjustments yourself.
Last month i bought a beautiful white 1988 300e wagon for $2200 Canadian (which is pretty much = to US $ these days)
It is beautiful, but not perfect, but I am very willing and able to do even major repairs myself.
For $2200 I got a rust free, clean straight body, with a smooth running drivetrain, interior in good shape.
So far I have had to deal with driver side windows inop (fixed both), one rear wheel bearing went out shortly after purchase (fixed), replaced blower motor with used unit from parts car (fixed), sunroof not closing properly (fixed - laughably easy fix), driver rear door stiff and noisy (fixed)
Some things I still have to do - power antenna inop, front passenger window motor is slow, rearmost part of exhaust needs to be replaced (still debating replacing the whole thing), needs parking brakes, need to diagnose/fix ac system, and the rear lights aren't working as they are supposed to.
If I had to take that stuff to a shop to do, I may as well start out with buying a new car, as it would end up costing about the same.
All in all, I think I did pretty good for $2200 which got me the quality, comfort and safety of an MB. Incidentally, I only bought this car because my daughter is starting to drive and she can't drive my standard trans F350 diesel (not tall/strong enough to push in the clutch - lol!)
Good luck with your purchase.
1988 Mercedes Benz 300TE - to get there fast.
1990 Jeep Cherokee expedition rig - to get there, period.
1995 Ford F250 Diesel - to get my stuff there.