I've had my fun with this great car, but it's time to move on due to new toys. I purchased this 1997 S500 from a friend that owns a salvage yard. He was contacted by the Mercedes dealer on behalf of the original owner. It was diagnosed as having a bad motor. 225,000 miles at the time. Still ran and drove fine but had loud top end tapping. The owner decided to move into a new S-class. He had done plenty of maintenance over the years including a rebuilt transmission and rear SLS overhaul.
I was down at the yard ordering parts for my wrecked prius (hit a coyote) and saw it sitting out front. Once I started it up and drove it, I knew I had to bring it back with me. All that was needed to fix the motor noise was to replace the oil tubes going from the intake and exhaust valve so the hydraulic lifters had enough pressure. No damage was done, and the motor looked to be in great shape otherwise. I replaced the right sway bar end link due to a clunk as well, and used this car almost exclusively for a month of traveling for work while my Prius was getting repaired.
It now has 228,000 miles on it, and everything works with two minor exceptions. The right rear window only rolls down half way before it binds up, rolls up just fine. Occasionally the automatic door and trunk closers will quit operating, but all I have to do is reset the system by pulling the fuse in the trunk for a second to bring it back to life. The car runs down the highway beautifully. I can hear a light clunk over low speed heavy bumps, otherwise the no annoying drivability niggles to note. Really a solid, fun car to drive.
Condition wise, the S500 really stands out as well. I had the bumpers painted due to fading, otherwise everything appears to be original. It does have some normal dings and road rash, but as you can see in the photos, it looks great. The only blemish worth disclosing is the paint is starting to bubble in the front corners of the roof surround the sunroof. Diameter of about a nickel and quarter. Not noticeable unless you are looking for it. The interior is really like new. The car must have been garaged and benefited from window tinting. The driver's window tint is starting to peel, otherwise nothing to nag about inside. Every electronic item works as it should. Cold AC, heated seats, great stereo, you name it. Even the factory built in car phone fires up.
I confidently put 3,000 miles on this car and it never left me stranded or even remotely worried about being stranded. It's parked in the same spot in my driveway and leaves the occasional drip of oil from the lower pan. That's it. You can buy and and drive it anywhere with the same confidence as buying a W140 with 1/4 the mileage. It's really presents itself that well. I'm listing "Blackbird" exclusively here, as it really deserves an enthusiast's home. email firstname.lastname@example.org