Date registered: Jul 2006
Vehicle: 1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
Location: NW Arkansas, La Jolla CA, Hong Kong
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Find a shop first, talk, then shop..
I would suggest you find a local indie shop first - talk with he/them about what you are planning to search for (model's and model year's).
The right shop will be happy to talk since you are proposing to search out a good car and bring it back to your local stable.
That way, when you find the right car for you, you know you are covered on the back end when you have it back home.
Do a search of this board, under the AMG section, The forum's will give you better insights on specific issues for specific models/years.
E55's have had 2-series (so far) W210/older and W211/more recent. Each of the two series have their own specs and their own characteristics.
The W210 kindof bombproof (O own one and love it) even as recently noted by Car and Driver recent road test of a 180k-200K miler.
The W211's (my buddy owns a relatively rare W211 E55 wagon, not for sale)has super specs, but this series has had their own systems issues.
Check the CLK's, super specs and again their own characterisitcs/problems.
Buying the right used MB certainly delivers the right value, as compared to taking the depreciation hit on new from the showroom.
A qualified qualified/cash buyer in today's market will find his $$ going a lot farther and happier as compared to even 6-8 months ago. It is not so much the "cash", but that for sellers earnest about selling their car find there are fewer genuine buyers out there, and that actual selling/buying prices are depressed due to the economic conditions.
Finding the right seller/car is a matter of patience and wider search area.
I choose have multiple MB's in my garage(s) - for instance, you could search out both a W210 E55 and a ML55 in the garage (right cars at right price) for well under $30K, as we speak getting closer to $25K. edmunds.com in my expereince has been a good/realistic up-to-date value gauge.
However, multiple car ownership brings it's own beauty/pain in proper maintainence/upkeep, even the waxing and polishing.
Understand, that unlike the early-to-mid '90's, late '90's thru current high line cars are a lot less performance upgradable, with exhaust and intake upgrades much more costly in terms of return/benefit for the investment.
Also, more current cars since late '90's, suspension upgrades including height/wheel/rubber changes sometimes you hit that physical benefit for the investment wall.
The search itself can be fun - as long as approached with the right attitude of patience. "knowing" the right car is out there for you.
Good luck !