Best Old Car to buy for the first DIY restoration? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Best Old Car to buy for the first DIY restoration?

I am not mechanically evolved, however, I want to learn. I was wondering about buying an very old car and restore (work on) it.

Which old Mercedes are the best ones to buy? Which one will be easy to restore as a first ever DIY project?

Any suggestions? Thank you.

I suck at DIY so please explain it to me step by step! Thank you.

2006 E350 (1/2014-Sld), 1997 S320 (5/2014), 1995 E320 Cab (1/2015), 88 560SEC (2/2015) - Probably will be a parts car, 90 560SEC (11/2015) - Gonna restore this. Passed smog already!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 03:15 PM
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I may be a bit biased, but my recommendation would be a W123 model from 1976 to 1985 for several reasons:

Inexpensive to buy the car
Inexpensive and plentiful parts
A wealth of DIY information available, see the W123 forum..
Easy to work on

Just my 2 cents!
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 03:48 PM
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If you want something with flair, a w126 coupe.

But that's a v8 and a different level of headaches and costs
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 04:18 PM
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I am 2nd for W123. Best with 200D, 220D or 300D

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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I am thinking of a convertible. Something before 1989. Just want an easy engine and easy DIYs and easy parts. I am ok with a 4 cylinder too because I think it will easy to maintain?

Dont even know if getting one is a good idea because I am not a DIY expert but I am eager and willing to learn and try.

I suck at DIY so please explain it to me step by step! Thank you.

2006 E350 (1/2014-Sld), 1997 S320 (5/2014), 1995 E320 Cab (1/2015), 88 560SEC (2/2015) - Probably will be a parts car, 90 560SEC (11/2015) - Gonna restore this. Passed smog already!
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 11:48 PM
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You should pick the one that YOU love the most.

You will never recoup what you expend to restore it, much less the value of your time, so it's crucial to pick one that gets under your skin. That way you're more likely to stick with it, plus you'll continue to drive it and enjoy it for many years to come.

Otherwise you are likely to lose heart before you're very far into it, and it will be a total loss.

The old Ponton models are worth considering; they have a great cool factor and are relatively simple to work on.


Good luck.

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenE350 View Post
I am thinking of a convertible. Something before 1989. Just want an easy engine and easy DIYs and easy parts. I am ok with a 4 cylinder too because I think it will easy to maintain?

Dont even know if getting one is a good idea because I am not a DIY expert but I am eager and willing to learn and try.
The only pre-1989 4-banger convertibles (unless you want to go pre-war) would be a Pagoda or a 190SL. Neither one would be terribly affordable, even if in pathetic shape.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboyike View Post
The only pre-1989 4-banger convertibles (unless you want to go pre-war) would be a Pagoda or a 190SL. Neither one would be terribly affordable, even if in pathetic shape.
I definitely cant afford those. I want one in running condition and then work on it. . Budget is $10000. Although, my wife will kill me if I go through this. So if I suddenly disappear...you know why.

Something like this: 1984 Mercedes Benz 380SL Roadster
More here-
orange co cars & trucks - by owner classifieds "convertible" - craigslist

I suck at DIY so please explain it to me step by step! Thank you.

2006 E350 (1/2014-Sld), 1997 S320 (5/2014), 1995 E320 Cab (1/2015), 88 560SEC (2/2015) - Probably will be a parts car, 90 560SEC (11/2015) - Gonna restore this. Passed smog already!
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 02:54 PM
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I must say that I'm very impressed with the '84 380SL!! I would jump on it ASAP. I especially liked:
Extremely well maintained, in excellent condition, with maintenance records available. Never seen snow, non-smoker, perfectionist owner. I can relate!!

Bear in mind there is not much an inexperienced DIY'r can do on this rather complex car, and mechanical failures could get expensive. But you can putter around with cosmetics, etc. They are fun!!
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 11:50 PM
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An R107 would not be my first choice as a beginner car. These are neither simple nor inexpensive to maintain. You are going to need to pay top dollar to make sure you have a problem free car. That sort of defeats the purpose of learner car to play with. IF you do want a 380SL, get the '84, as it has the dual row timing chain and will not need upgrade from single row.

The best place to start on your learning process would be with a diesel W123. The CD is nice and sporty. Parts are very available, due to the large number of cars out there. Diesels are really simple engines, and more durable than a petrol engine. Trying to find a gas W123 in adequate condition is hard, since the engines are really tired and do not have the rabid following the diesels do. Stay away from any diesel that has run veggie oil. A sedan will allow you to source body panels with ease no matter the engine. Having the rabid fan base also gives you a large support network.

You should probably budget a few grand to deal with delayed maintenance items. There are always a host of these. And remember, there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.

Clay

74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'76 300D - Voldemort
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'72 220D - Gump
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