Date registered: Oct 2004
Vehicle: 1980 6.9, 1977 6.9, 300SEL 6.3, 300SEL 4.5, 300TE, 560SEL, 560SL, AMG models
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RE: I am I crazy to sell my 2 year old C for a 70s vintage???
Well, I can speak from current experience, with C-Class, E-Class, 6.9s, and 6.3, among other M-Bs. Yes, the thrill of stomping on the gas in a 6.9 and having the tires spin wildly is worth something, but the cars are VERY expensive to maintain, even if you do it yourself. Virtually every part costs $1,000 or has to come from Germany. I could scare you silly with the stories.
The C-Class, in comparison, is a suprisingly great little car, especially the C230K! I marvel at how much inherent goodness is in this chassis. The car is very refined and sporting. O.K., the wood is not real, rear legroom is minimal, and the car lacks memory seats! But, for an entry level M-B, you are definitely NOT suffering one bit.
I rotate the "fleet" regularly, as not driving a 6.9 or 6.3, at least weekly, is asking for trouble: leaks develop in a variety of systems if these cars are not driven. Once properly set-up, the 6.9 is a dead-reliable daily driver. Gas mileage, though, at its very best, is about 18 mpg: 10 mpg if you use the torque for grins all of the time. Premium unleaded is NOT required. These big block vintage Mercedes-Benz are best enjoyed with 4 passengers at 80-100 mph, which is loafing, and what they were intended for. Funny thing is that the natural cruising speed for the C230K is 80-100 mph as well, at which speeds it is fun, stable, and quiet. A better audio listening environment and really lovely steering effort and response. For daily driving, the newest M-B you can afford that fits your requirements is my answer. Keep the C-Class and buy a 6.9, carefully. Then enjoy both: you can time trial in a C-Class and drag race in your 6.3 or 6.9! If you can only afford one, buy a C43 and get the best of both worlds, with modern technology, refinement, and safety. Your remaining warranty is worth A LOT!