Hey everyone. I'm almost in the same situation as verbivore. Except I've already restored an old Honda '82 and used to do minor repairs/improvements in my Twingo.
Now I just need a weeked car (live near the office anyway)
I'm eying a 2001 E 320 that drive like butter and the guy agreed to a pre purchase inspection at the dealer. but:
1. has the exterior totalled. it got deep scratches everywhere. you know, the ex-wife treatment. vandalized. Every metal piece is scratched. but the worst (only one i think about fixing, is the hood cover)
2. also has a minor collision touch up on the back, under the right light assembly.
3. the two LCDs in the right and left dials show garbled text. the main center computer display works fine. (btw, what was supposed to be displaying there? i only saw older models before)
4. one random weirdness i noted, the 4 buttons on the wheel to manipulate the computer have more tear and wear then the wheel itself. looks like the owner played more with the buttons then drove the car :-?
the guy is asking between KBB's good and fair price. I'm trying to get lower then the fair price.
I can stand the car like that for some time. Just need a fun and reliable ride. But my main doubt is: how much value it will loose after I apply non-factory paint? or if it's even thinkable to apply MB paint
Need you guys expertise on that, pls!
Skip this car, he is vastly overstating the condition in his KBB valuation. There are literally more used MB's in Southern California than anywhere else in the world, so there is a huge pool and they are cheaper than most other US states because of this abundance. As for the steering wheel, it is possible that the car's airbag was deployed if the center part looks dramatically different than the wheel and the buttons section. Who knows if there is even an airbag in there now, maybe just the cover.