Greetings, BenzWorld ! Just came home with a very nice E320 I've nicknamed "Maude" in honor of my grandmother. Like her, she's got a few miles on her and few dings here and there, but still exudes a lot of class. And she's got a story to tell.
"Maude" was purchased new in 1997 as our parent's 50th wedding anniversary gift to each other. They found her at a dealership in Lubbock and made arrangements to pick her up. When folks at the dealership learned she was to be an anniversary gift, they tied a big, red bow on her and took my parents out to a fancy dinner complete with with champagne and flowers.
Well, our mom passed away in 2000, and dad passed away last September from bone cancer. As dad got more frail and lost much of his eyesight, "Maude" picked up some dings and scratches, plus some nasty black rubber tread marks from pushing his walker across the back seats (yikes !).
Last week I flew to Texas and picked her up as part of settling the family's estate. My older brother knew I wanted to take care of her and would give her a good home, so he gave her to me outright, expecting nothing in return. I loaded up the trunk with some personal items from the old home and got ready to hit the road from Arlington to Detroit - a little over 1000 miles.
With a good once over by a local mechanic and a fresh infusion of Mobil One and some Lucas fuel injector cleaner, we left Friday evening and arrived back in Detroit Saturday evening, stopping only for fuel and bathroom breaks.
First tank of premium unleaded yielded about 22 MPG. Second tank of fuel yielded about 24.5 MPG, and the final tank of premium yielded 27.5 MPG. "Maude" had not been driven much over the last year, and she sorely needed to stretch her legs. After passing a couple of tractor-trailers on a hill in Kentucky, I looked down to see that we were zipping along comfortably at 95 MPH. On the home stretch to Detroit, she turned over to 70,000 miles - barely broke in, I'd say.
Two days later and lots of elbow grease has transformed us both. I've learned much just from detailing her front to back, inside and out. The trunk lid got scraped by dad's garage door when he failed to pull into the garage far enough. There's a small ding under the passenger side mirror - not sure how that got there, but it's not that noticeable unless you're looking for it.
Paint got the royal treatment - a light buffing with Meguire's liquid compound, followed by a coat of cleaner/wax, topped off with Mother's Pure Carnuba. The wifey went to work on the interior - carpets vacuumed and scrubbed, leather cleaned, etc. The interior was more of a mess than the outside. The foam backing on the Mercedes carpeted mats had disintegrated, leaving a black powdery residue on the carpet that was a real booger to remove. Now the black rubber mats are down, and she looks much better.
Mechanically, she seems pretty sound, but needs some parts. The AC blower resistor is bad, but I found the fix for that. And some of the switches need replacing - notably the window & mirror controls on the center console - dad somehow managed to break a couple of 'em. Right now the side view mirrors are manually adjusted, which is a PITA. Overall, I cannot complain - I essentially got a free E320 with only 70K miles on her ! I'll be reading all the stickies and absorbing some knowledge as the weeks go by.
So that's the story of how "Maude" came into our lives. After a bit more detailing today, she went into the garage under a car cover to rest a bit with a full tank of Stabil treated premium unleaded. She's had a long journey, but now she's home again. Folks, meet "Maude" !