Is an older Benz a good "investment"? - Page 4 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #31 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 08:27 PM
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1995 E series wagon

I have owned a 1995 e320 station wagon for 3 years now. When I bought it, I knew it needed a new transmission. But other then that I have had NO PROBLEMS or expenses with this car. It is amazing and I love it. I also did buy 4 new tires and had to repaint the bumper because of an incompetent parellel parker. But the car is in great condition, safe, every option works.
I am hoping to move to New Zeland later this year, so will have to sell it. So if anyone is interested in an amazing car, in great shape, email me at
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post #32 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 09:40 PM
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Date registered: Nov 2010
Vehicle: 1986 W126 300SE, 1984 Porsche 944, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.9 DCi
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Investment? It can be.

Wow, many interesting stories here!
Like most of you, I grew up knowing and accepting that a car is an expense.
The first car to change that knowledge for me was an old Benz.

I was looking for a 1986 W124 wagon to use as a family car for long journeys with low ownership costs (in Holland you are taxed according to the weight of the car, unless it is over 25 years old, then there is no road tax)
But it was hard to find a good one on the cheap, so I started looking out for W 126s.
I had only 4 requirements. Cheap to buy, well maintained, must have aircon, not too many electric toys.
I didn't mind a car with some things wrong, as I did some homework and found that parts are cheap and easy to come by, and that it's easy to work on the car yourself.
After months of searching, I found my car in Bonn, Germany. It had 2 long term owners, and the 3rd (who was a worker at a cash & carry private car dealer) bought it when the second owner died, planned to sort it out for himself, but hadn't got around to it so the car had been standing for a year.
It was a manual, 290000km, aircon, sunroof, just a bit of rust, electric heated mirrors, but otherwise no electric toys.
I had him put the car on a lift long enough to establish that the suspension rubbers had been changed in recent years, drove it long enough to find thatthe brakes were hopeless and the engine stuttered. Handed over 2100 euro in cash and imported it to Holland.
I then spent 1500 euros on it (including import costs) - to put on alloys in place of the steelies with hubcaps, brake master cylinder done by a garage, distributer, driver door seal, new gearbox and diff oil, spark plugs and filters, gearstick sack and some other stuff.
Aft driving it a bit, i reached a conclusion that although it was a great car, it couldn't really replace our Renault Scenic as a family car for long journeys (for you Americans, that's a euro-size small minivan).
One day I was telling a colleague the story, and at the end of it he said he wants to buy the car.
We agreed on 4000 Euros. He has now had the car for over 1 year, which for him was a test period to see if he keeps it. He has driven it all around Europe, virtually nothing has gone wrong, and he has decided to keep it.
So for the first time in my life I turned a profit on a used car (even if just a small profit) - something that I have already replicated once with a 90s Renault, and am hoping to do again to help make my Porsche 944 cost neutral (pay for my hobby out of making money from my hobby)
And hey! If car dealers can make a profit out of used cars, why can't enthusiasts do the same? is offline  
post #33 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by matt3140 View Post
It can go a couple of ways; If you are looking for a hobby car, and almost look forward to having something to fix, an old M-B is perfect, easy to work on with relatively affordable parts.
As to running an old car as a daily driver, it will almost always be cheaper than running a new car, especially when it comes to depreciation and payments, BUT you have to have a plan B for the times it breaks and can't get you to work. There is no hope if you are going to resent the car when it breaks, because you know it's going to - it's an old car and they do that.
My personal preference are the 107s, 126s, 123s and 124s. They are mechanically straightforward with good parts supply. I would stop short of the W140s, they are not as bad as their reputation, but not as good as the earlier cars.

The most important tip I can offer is to find a car who's previous owner could afford it. Second, like cats or dogs, the right one will find you, don't go looking to hard with a "must buy" objective.
Totally agree with you there Matt, I wouldn't touch anything post 1990 as after that the rot seemed to set in. I see lots of later Mercs with serious rust issues that you just don't seem to get on the earlier cars and the electronic gizzmos scare me too much. I love my 380SL and my wife likes it too which is always a bonus, I have a soft spot for the pillarless coupes as well so am always looking to add to my present collection, although I have been told something will have to go before anything else arrives!!
Keep the classics alive
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post #34 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 04:44 AM
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Vehicle: '76 450SL Originally Owned By Jimmy Stewart, 2012 SL550 "Mars Red" Roadster (Acquired Today.. B-Day)
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Newer ones ARE missing something

"I've always liked the 123 and 124; pre DC old school cars that had a certain feel the new ones are missing."

The new ones ARE missing something... About 1500 pounds. They just don't have that indestructable Mercedes Benz Feel any more. They don't ride as good, they don't drive as good, they rattle, and they certainly won't withstand a crash like the older ones.

They are pretty much disposable cars now, like a Kia or Scion.

I have a '76 450SL. Signal Red. Everything on the car works, its driven daily in the summer and its still an absolutely STUNNING automobile. Because the sheet metal is of a heavier guage, it doesnt have any of those little parking lot dents all over it like you would see on a new one.

There are still a LOT of older Mercedes Benz automobiles out there being driven daily. I am curious to see how many 1012 SL500s are left after 35 years of service and 300,000 miles. is offline  
post #35 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ccc1971 View Post
Not for monetary gain but for something I can refurbish and enjoy. I have experience with Euro cars and know how much of a pain in the wallet they can be; DIY maintenance doensn't scare me. My last major money pit was an E38 BMW with a lot miles on it; control arms, steering hoses, radiator and water pump, seats, etc, I did it all. Wound up costing me more to make it road worthy than what I paid for it; a definite learning experience.

I've always liked the 123 and 124; pre DC old school cars that had a certain feel the new ones are missing. As such they seemed to built to last, and miles don't affect them as severely as many other brands. Which can also be a pitfall.

It's always better to buy a well loved car but, being honest, how many are left? I've seen lots of these on "buy here, pay here" type lots and most are bought by someone who wants the image but can't afford proper maintenance.

It will be a commuter and weekend getaway vehicle, most likely a 300 D.
I found my 1984 300D at the junk yard, and someone had put a great pait job on it, paid $500.00. I did the standard Maintenance, rear end fluid, valve adjust, all filters and fluids including transmission, tires, brakes and fixed one hole in the floor for around $600 more and I have been driving it for 4 years, almost 300k and it rides like a brand new car. Just this week I found a hide a key in the fender well and got a free key!
You can also get 2.6 300E
89-90's for low cost and they are some of the best driving cars still on the road.
Justy take your time and do your own fixing.
Good luck!

Last edited by spectrogj; 06-22-2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: mis spelling
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post #36 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 10:29 AM
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Vehicle: primo 1983 240D
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Nothing like the ride.

As I read these stories, I would like to point out a couple things.

Driving these earlier Mercedes, like the early eighties cars, is like riding on a cloud. My 240D has 14 inch wheels and the tires have a high profile and are R rated. Since the rubber is softer, it makes for a very quiet ride. The rear-end suspension components are massive making that nasty railroad crossing a breeze. I love taking friends over this one set of tracks at 30 plus MPH, and I can see the fear in their faces as I approach, cause I know they are certain that the bottom of the car is going to fall off, like their Prius would. Today, it is 17-19" wheels, and kidney-breaking, road-slappiing, metal, low profile tires. You can have them. Like I need Z rated, expensive tires, when I am pushin' it with the cops doing 80 MPH. People do not know what they are missing.

I also have a Nissan Versa SL hatchback. It is a great car for a kid to learn how to drive, and it has as much room inside as my old Marquis. One reason it is safe is that it outweighs the competition by 500-700 pounds and air bags all around. My wife calls it the clown car (me, I love it). I pulled up next to a C-Class yesterday, and I said this C-Class isn't any bigger than my Versa. I just looked up the two, and the Versa is only 11" shorter (6%) than the C-Class. A Nissan Versa, with all of the bells and whistles for half the money. I hope the boys at MB headquarters are looking on.

Mit freundlichem Gruß

Last edited by rickbmay; 06-22-2012 at 10:33 AM.
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post #37 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 11:56 AM
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It's all about maintenance. Here in Europe there are alot of Mercedes cars. Some bad. Some are good. The main thing is rust. A 300D or 300TD will run alot of miles.

I have seen a Mercedes w210 300D with just 110K miles on the speedo. You think it was in good condition but it was not. It was all rusty. Original Miles (Km) with service history.

But on the other hand I had have a Mercedes w210 300Td with 560K miles on it ( It was a Taxi). The cars looks and drove like new.

The main thing with these cars is maintenance but also a bit of luck. The 300TD engine is the best if you ask me.
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post #38 of 38 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 03:01 PM
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Vehicle: W211 E320 Bluetec R129 SL500 - $1300 car ........ Ford F350 6.7l
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Stock market is consider an investment and cars are like it >>> you put money in it and the money go away. You put more and this go away as well....
Actually I have way better luck with Mercedes than with small stock I have. My stock was worth $13k few years back and right now can't stay above $4k.
Coming to the cars, MB was always good for us. I am DIY and from about 10 MB I did own only 1 sold for less than I bought it for. The biggest trouble I had happened last month on W124. PO had vacuum pump failure on diesel and whoever replaced the pump never scoop the ball bearings from the oil pan. Took few years for the balls to punch the hole in oil pump screen, but when they did that made a big mess. The repair taken to any shop would exceed the car value, but I DIM for about $400 buying used parts plus tens of hr of my labor.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 06-22-2012 at 03:04 PM.
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