Buying and driving an old Mercedes as a daily driver - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Buying and driving an old Mercedes as a daily driver

Hey now everybody. I'm new to the forum and to the wonderful world of Mercedes Benz. I just finished college and I'm currently looking for a job. After that, I'm planning on moving out of my folks' house and getting a car. Preferably both as quickly as possible.

I live in the Netherlands, where cars are expensive as hell. On top of outrageous gas prices, we have to pay all kinds of taxes on owning a car. The bigger/heavier the car, the more tax one must pay. This is why almost everyone here drives around in small cars. I don't like small cars, I like space, luxury and safety. This tax rule doesn't apply if the car is over 25 years old, and this is where my question comes in.

There are plenty of old Mercs available from the eighties and seventies. These cars are just as expensive as a 10 year old Volkswagen Golf or similar over here, which is very appealing to me.

I would prefer to have a diesel engine because of great gas mileage and probably amazing reliability. A gasoline engine with an LPG (natural gas) installation would be cool too. Even without the road tax, driving a big car like an old Mercedes on gas would be expensive. Gas is around $10 a gallon here.

The problem is, I don't really know what to look for. I don't know which models are reliable, which aren't, what are specific things to look for, etc.

My spending limit will probably be around €5000-€6000 when the time is there. It'll be at least a couple of months, so I'll have some time to look around and learn about these cars.

These are two searches I did on autotrader.nl. The search criteria I put in are an automatic gearbox, A/C and manufacturing date up until 1987:
Gasoline (LPG)
Diesel

I heard the diesels are slow, and quite frankly, I really don't care about that. I mostly care about reliability and comfort.

What can you guys tell me about these cars? Many thanks in advance
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 08:28 PM
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Welcome to the forum.
I grew up in Poland, before moving to California so am familiar with cost and taxations in Europe a bit.
I am fan of diesels because that was what everybody in Europe wanted when I was there, when in California the environmental people are banning them from sales.
Still import them here from other states.
So you will have to figure out how much old, and big car will cost you in the fees, while I can tell you more about diesels.
The pre 1986 diesels were slow where the best 3l turbo diesel has 112HP. Pretty reliable workhorse do.
The 1986-7 diesels are more powerful, but they have 14 cast on heads, that is prone to cracking. The 3.5 l diesels are probably the worse diesel MB produced in last 50 years.
The 1995-6 NA diesels are good, but still slow, while 1998-9 turbo diesels are what may family drives. Those are very good engines and only cdi models can beat them on performance, but not always on reliability.
In Europe you have much more choices, than we in US, but that should give you starting point.
Dual fuel like propane or hybrids never worked for me, but that could be just me.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Those are some really valuable things to know.

The LPG tank thing is an aftermarket modification to gasoline cars. Basically they just put a propane tank in the trunk and hook it up to the engine. You can fuel up on propane pretty much everywhere over here and it's even cheaper than diesel. I don't know about the reliability of the gasoline engines compared to the diesels. Generally diesel will always win on that front, right?

And Poland huh? How did you end up in California? I would like to move to Florida myself, but it's a huge pain to get a green card.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bluesfella View Post

And Poland huh? How did you end up in California? I would like to move to Florida myself, but it's a huge pain to get a green card.
My ancestors left Poland to USA in 1918. That is how family saga started. I might be the last one immigrating as Poland has better economy now than US
Propane might be cheaper fuel in your country, but still most of converted engines have about 300k km life expectancy. MB Diesels go for millions.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
My ancestors left Poland to USA in 1918. That is how family saga started. I might be the last one immigrating as Poland has better economy now than US
Propane might be cheaper fuel in your country, but still most of converted engines have about 300k km life expectancy. MB Diesels go for millions.
Cool!

Hm, I guess I'll shift my attention to the diesels exclusively then, because a lot of those propane cars have well over 200.000KM on them.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2012, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Are there any other folks who can give me some input on this?
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