Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe - Mercedes-Benz Forum

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Hello,

I am preparing to move to the SF Bay area in California after living in Boston without a car. I am interested in buying an older car with a little style, and also to buy something nice that is less than the 50K+ for a typical new luxury vehicle. In searching through Craig's List, I have become enamored with two door Mercedes vehicles from this period. But I have no knowledge or experience, and am not equipped to know if buying this sort of vehicle would be the right choice for me, let alone how to intelligently go through the process of buying one. In short, here are my requirements:

* Own my own company, so would only need to drive perhaps four days a week, relatively short commmutes

* Would like to be able to take longer highway road trips, but very infrequently

* Should have covered garage parking at all times

* Am willing to spend about $4000 per year on the vehicle over a planned 5 year ownership cycle. Thus, am willing to have that either be in up-front costs (auto purchase) or lower auto purchase and significant upgrade/mechanic costs along the way

* Can tolerate some service but do not want to be breaking down and stranded on a regular basis

* Am somewhat concerned about insurance costs, would it be more, less or same compared to new cars?

* Am a bit concerned about gas mileage; how many miles to the gallon?

* What hidden costs or other issues should I be aware of?

Thanks in advance for and insight and recommendations you might have!
dknemeyer is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 05:13 PM
BenzWorld Newbie
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

I own several vintage MBs, including a 71 6.3. They are wonderful cars, but not suitable as daily drivers. They have mediocre AC and heat systems, and not much room compared to later 4dr MBs. Your ideal car would be a late eighties or early nineties S class car- preferably a diesel or a 420 or 560 SEL. They are inexpensive, reliable, very comfortable, and fairly rust-resistant. (quite a bit more so than the earlier cars). The ONE THING you DO NOT want is a 600; again, they are wonderful cars but very high-maintenance, there are very few shops that can work on them effectively and get it right, and parts often cost a fortune. The M100 engine (the 6.3 V8) is built like a bank vault- but everything else breaks, and the hydraulics and air suspension are failure-prone and expensive to repair. They were meant for tycoons and heads of state who had unlimited budgets.
If you are determined to get an older S class car, get a 280SEL 4.5 from the early seventies. If you can find an excellent example, they run and drive nicely and are not too expensive to have worked on, unless you need to put a heater core in or fix the EFI. If you have to do those, make sure you are sitting down when the estimate arrives.
jim rosenthal is offline  
post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 05:30 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,699
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Quote:
jim rosenthal - 5/30/2005 6:13 PM

I own several vintage MBs, including a 71 6.3. They are wonderful cars, but not suitable as daily drivers. They have mediocre AC and heat systems, and not much room compared to later 4dr MBs. Your ideal car would be a late eighties or early nineties S class car- preferably a diesel or a 420 or 560 SEL. They are inexpensive, reliable, very comfortable, and fairly rust-resistant. (quite a bit more so than the earlier cars). The ONE THING you DO NOT want is a 600; again, they are wonderful cars but very high-maintenance, there are very few shops that can work on them effectively and get it right, and parts often cost a fortune. The M100 engine (the 6.3 V8) is built like a bank vault- but everything else breaks, and the hydraulics and air suspension are failure-prone and expensive to repair. They were meant for tycoons and heads of state who had unlimited budgets.
If you are determined to get an older S class car, get a 280SEL 4.5 from the early seventies. If you can find an excellent example, they run and drive nicely and are not too expensive to have worked on, unless you need to put a heater core in or fix the EFI. If you have to do those, make sure you are sitting down when the estimate arrives.
Jim, you DID notice he is asking about coupes, right?
Nowhere in his post does he mention the 600, the 6.3 or anything of the sort.

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 10:02 AM
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Hey There,
I lived in SF for abour 6 mos. and keep this in mind if you're going to driving in San Francisco.

Make sure the transmission is solid. With the terrain it will get lots of abuse.

Because of the traffic and limited parking your bumpers will take a beating. Stick with a rubber bumper model or a model with color matched bumpers. Your chrome bumpers will be beat up before you know it.

As other suggested, try to stay with a coupe from the 80's. It will be (could be) more reliable, comfortable and easier to maintain.

Good Luck
Scott
"Helga"
'70 280 SE
Helga is offline  
post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 10:18 AM
BenzWorld Member
 
grezm0nkey's Avatar
 
Date registered: Aug 2004
Vehicle: 67 250SE Coupe
Location: NYC/SoCal
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

i lived in san fran for a couple of years. very good idea from helga to make sure u have a solid tranny, but i would like to add a solid E brake too. wish the best of luck to u in SF. u might try to save a few bucks on the car itself, but i hope u have deep pockets for everything else. oh yeah, i dont agree on the bumpers, stay with hard steel, chrome, anyway u look at it the bumpers will get hit from the congestion of cars and if thats the case then let them have the softer bumpers to ding up. steel last longer than painted bumpers or rubber trimmed ones. cheers

grez
grezm0nkey is offline  
post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Thanks for the good feedback so far, everyone!

Please note that I will laregely be in the Silicon Valley area - flat, ample suburban-style parking - as opposed to SF-proper. So that may mitigate some of the concerns that have been raised which the city would provide.
dknemeyer is offline  
post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 11:05 AM
BenzWorld Elite
 
Date registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,285
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Evidently. the previous responders to your post are mentally disabled, as they haven't come close to answereing your question. I can give you the definitive answers that cannot be challenged. I have much experience with coupes. What you want for a daily driver is a 560 SEC. This is the benchmark for all european 2+2 coupes. Ideally, you'd want years 1989 through 1991, the last year made. In 1989, significant interior upgrades including redesigned seat springs and updated upholstery were made. The car is swift, quiet, and reliable. Very roomy. Really no downside. Of course, like any pre-owned vehicle, complete serice records are a big plus. The only real maintainance issue is the timing chain replacement. It is a must do, every 90,000 miles. If you purchase one with no records, just spend the money and get it done $600 to $800.

As to a vintage coupe, they arereally taking off in price. Agood early 70's or late 60's coupe my be out of your price range. The air conditioning is under par, and I'm a big air conditioning fan. Any top air conditioning shop, and there are many in the bay area, can make modifications to improve it. You may want to look at late 60's early 70's roadsters. The 280SL is a work of art, but again, maybe more than you are willing to pay.

If you ever need more info, feel free to contact me. You may have to purchase and ship to the bay area, as pricing in that region of the country is way out of step with people in the real world.
MRTIKKET is offline  
post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 12:48 PM
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

[QUOTE]MRTIKKET - 5/31/2005 1:05 PM

Evidently. the previous responders to your post are mentally disabled, as they haven't come close to answereing your question.

Mentally challenged maybe...

Just offering up $.02 for thought and to further discussion. I'm continuing to learn more about the various models, years and what they have to offer. I didn't feel I knew enough to offer a up a specific year and model. I'm glad you could...

I think we both agree a later model has the comfort, technology and reliability that will make for a better daily driver.

Scott
"Helga"
'70 280 SE
Helga is offline  
post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Thanks for all of the continued good responses. I appreciate the advice to focus on something newer from the standpoint of reliability and total cost of ownership, but I confess that the design style of the earlier cars strikes me far more than the 1989-1991 era models, for example. Reviewing the different recommendations, I particularly like the 280 SL model vehicles. The earlier vehicles are easily the most striking, but even the early 1980s-era vehicles look much nicer to me than the late 1980s.

Can anyone give me an indication on the sort of gas mileage to expect, or any hidden costs (higher insurance? difficulty meeting smog compliance?) that such a vehicle might have.

Additionally, I would appreciate any advice about the basic process of buying such a car, how to evaluate a vehicle to determine whether to buy it, "where to go" to have a variety of reputable purchases to make, etc.

Thanks again.
dknemeyer is offline  
post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 04:34 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,699
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
RE: Help! Purchasing 2 door late 60's-early 80s Mercedes coupe

Quote:
dknemeyer - 5/31/2005 4:30 PM

Thanks for all of the continued good responses. I appreciate the advice to focus on something newer from the standpoint of reliability and total cost of ownership, but I confess that the design style of the earlier cars strikes me far more than the 1989-1991 era models, for example. Reviewing the different recommendations, I particularly like the 280 SL model vehicles. The earlier vehicles are easily the most striking, but even the early 1980s-era vehicles look much nicer to me than the late 1980s.

Can anyone give me an indication on the sort of gas mileage to expect, or any hidden costs (higher insurance? difficulty meeting smog compliance?) that such a vehicle might have.

Additionally, I would appreciate any advice about the basic process of buying such a car, how to evaluate a vehicle to determine whether to buy it, "where to go" to have a variety of reputable purchases to make, etc.

Thanks again.
I own a 280E sedan that gets no more than 20mpg.

Your choice of the 280SL is a good one, but I would add that it's a convertible as well as a coupe. It's also (in most cases) a 2-seater. Just so you are aware. The 280SLC is a 4-seat coupe. In addition, neither the 280SL nor the 280SLC were ever imported here by Mercedes, which means they are all gray market vehicle, which presents its own set of challenges. The definitive US-model coupe of the time (1973-1980) was the V8 powered 14-17mpg 450SLC. There happens to be an unusually pristine example on ebay now. Here it is:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6338&item=45534735 50&rd=1

The smaller coupe in those days was the 280CE and its diesel version, the 300CD. I can tell you a lot about the former as it's a 2-door version of my car.
The diesel ones are more common since there were a lot more of them imported, but here is an example of a 280CE, pretty decent price, too:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6329&item=45524546 65&rd=1

Given the choice, I would go for 1977 and later vehicles because it was that year that Mercedes reaplced the occasionally problematic electronic fuel injection system with the far more reliable and simple (those less efficient) mechanical system known as CIS (Continuos Injection System).

I don't know that much about the diesels, so I will defer to other members on that but here is what seems like a nice example and it's already in California.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6330&item=45530662 01&rd=1


Ebay seems a good place for classic Benzes. That is where I got mine. In fact the seller I bought mine from is currently offering up what looks like an interesting Euro-spec 450SLC. These were a lot more powerful than US-spec versions due to less restrictive emissions equipment. I don't know if that will be an issue in California given how old the car is, but it's a thought. Here is that car:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6338&item=45534630 36&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

Look for a seller with a high feedback score. People that take their business seriously understand that it is their reputation (feedback) that makes the difference and so they try to be honest about their vehicles. Having said that, keep in mind that, being older vehicles, some of these cars may have defects and issues even the seller didn't know about. For this reason, you might want to look for a seller that specializes in Mercedes or, at least, older imports.

The insurance costs on these cars seem pretty reasonable to me but I know not what it's like in California. As for smog, I wonder what year a car has to be in order to be smog exempt but I imagine seventies has to be pretty close.

I know, we are all giving somewhat sporadic advice, but you ask a huge question that invites a large number of possibilities.

Feel free to ask more questions.




Attached Images
   

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > General Mercedes-Benz Forums > Vintage Mercedes-Benz

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











  • Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 2 (0 members and 2 guests)
     
    Thread Tools
    Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
    Email this Page Email this Page
    Display Modes
    Linear Mode Linear Mode



    Posting Rules  
    You may post new threads
    You may post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is On
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are On
    Pingbacks are On
    Refbacks are On

     

    Title goes here

    close
    video goes here
    description goes here. Read Full Story
    For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome