1973 1973 450sl after an accident -what to do next? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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1973 1973 450sl after an accident -what to do next?

My 1973 450sl was hit in the rear quarter panel (passenger side). I was hit hard enough that the interior quarter panel was compromised as was the driver side exterior quarter panel which buckled under the stress of the impact. Needless to say the bumper also needs to be replaced, the frame needs to be straightened, etc.

So the insurance company (in Canada) has come back with a value on the car of $15500 and an estimated repair cost of $18000. Most of that, 12k, is parts. They have written the car off. Under Canadian law that means it has a salvage title that must be inspected by the Ministry of Transport to be put back on the road.

The value is lower than what we had it evaluated for 5 years ago ($20,500 Canadian). I'm not sure how to contest this given that 1973s don't go up for sale often to show comparables, mine was in lovely shape but what I see for sale doesn't seem comparable, and there seem to be none locally (I'm assuming that prices for these cars vary dramatically region by region).

The car belonged to my Dad and if I can possibly get it fixed I would like to.

The autobody people say the car is not in that bad shape, that they can get it back to perfect (and pass Ministry inspection without difficulty), the real cost is the parts and if I can get better prices (3500$ for a bumper!!! I think I can do better than that!) they are happy to work with the parts I give them.

I don't know what the insurance company is going to ask for the wreck and I don't know what is reasonable.

So any advice?
How to contest the value?
Should I try to salvage the car and restore it?
What is reasonable to pay an insurance company for a wreck?
Should I take the money and find another SL (preferably another 1973) from a region where they are a good value?

Any advice would be most helpful. I'm just so sad that this has happened.

with thanks,
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 02:30 PM
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Easy, fly here to San Diego for the winter,

We can find you a complete donor car (rust free) cheap,
Or drive it home, or ship it.
These early cars are all over the area, many park outside all year.
You will then have spare mechanical parts.
I've turned down these at 2K.
Of course these are the beaters needing mechanical work.
Search San Diego Craigslist for "mercedes SL"
Typical cars here
1984 Mercedes SL Roadster Convertible

Brian O
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 10:44 PM
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Unhappy That Hurts...

Originally Posted by DeidreB View Post
Any advice would be most helpful. I'm just so sad that this has happened.
My heart goes out to you, especially because of the sentimental value.

Value: First, you need to go back thru your insurance documents & clearly establish what your (you & the insurance company's) agreed insured value for this vehicle is. Evaluated for & insured for are two very different things. If it is insured for C$20500, the insurance policy documentation will clearly show it.

Ebay currently shows two low-mile (less than 65K miles) 1973 450SLs in the $16-$17K range, so $15.5K may be a reasonable value for the car. Was this car insured under a Classic/Collectible car policy? Many people make the mistake of not insuring their Benz under this type of policy. Insurance companies specializing in the Classic & Collectible market are SO much better, accurate & efficient to deal with.

Parts: You can save significantly by sourcing the replacement parts yourself. I saved about 65% on overall parts costs by sourcing my replacement parts primarily from parts.com & Mercedes Benz of Fort Lauderdale (OEM replacement parts at the best overall prices & shipping costs available in the US). My body shop was actually happy to have me handle this aspect of the job because they only make about 7% off M-B parts compared to the 25-30% from American or Japanese vehicle parts. Independent body shops often must hassle thru local M-B dealerships for their replacement parts & the stealerships are intent on maintaining profit margin. There can be a huge difference between wholesale & retail M-B parts!

Your damage appraisal will list the required parts & part numbers. Enter these part numbers online (parts.com & M-B of Fort Lauderdale) & note the difference between their prices & the appraisal’s. You’ll need to check their international sales policies, but even with shipping to Canada, you still may be able to realize significant parts cost savings (enough to make a difference in keeping the car or not). Also, having access to the M-B online Electronic Parts Catalog (EPC) will help guarantee the accuracy of the part numbers listed on the appraisal. The EPC provides exploded diagrams for all the part groups associated to your car based on its VIN. It is a valuable tool in helping to understand your vehicle’s components.

Your car took a helluva hit. Depending on the talent of the body shop, it may or may never feel the same after repairs. $15.5K seems a reasonable value. You state you’d like to get it fixed if possible. The majority of the estimated repair costs are in the parts. Take a little time & do the legwork to see how much you can knock this cost down by sourcing the parts as mentioned. You’ll then be in a strong position to make a logical decision. Best wishes on that decision…
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 01:34 AM
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Oh jeez, my heart goes out to you! Gorgeous looking car too
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 04:44 AM
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Those early 107s are the most desireable. It is definitely repairable. There is no need to buy a new bumper. Look around for a used one and have it re-chromed if necessary.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 07:19 AM
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Take the money with the agreement that you get to keep the car for salvage value (means you will get a little less money). The other poster was right, you can get a nice one in California for far less than the settlement, but if you want yours fixed, then so be it. IMHO there is no economic reason to fix this car since you can buy a replacement cheaper, but you many want to merge two cars. From an emotional standpoint, if you want THIS car fixed, then get it fixed.

I have no idea how Canadian insurance works, but if you are dealing with the OTHER person's insurance company, I think you are more likely to get more money than if you are dealing with your own insurance company. It doesn't matter to the other insurance company that much -- $15,000, $20,000, it's nothing compared to a medical claim.

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Past: 1971 250 C, 1985 300 TD, 1967 250 S, 1968 280 S,1981 300 D, 1982 280CE, 3 Facel Vegas, Borgward Isabella Coupe, Alfa 2600 Sprint, Volvo P1900 (yes), numerous less interesting Volvos, ...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all the good advice.

Re: insurance, it wasn't insured as a vintage because of the mileage I was putting on it every year and the vintage policies meant I couldn't drive it as much I wanted to. The insurance company is willing to negotiate but I have to prove the local market value is higher -hard to do when so few are up for sale and also those hard to explain things like the fact that the paint colour and interior were more desirable than others combinations.

I guess the question for me is how to estimate what the car will be like when the work is done. The shop that would do the work is excellent -a major collision centre that has a bunch of older guys who used to work on these cars for the MB collision centre so I have confidence that they'll do the best that can be done. They say that the car will be as I hope when done -that the damage just isn't that bad it's the parts that make it so expensive. I just keep hearing "the car will never be the same" from other people who have repaired cars after accidents and wonder if my sentimental attachment to this car is leading me astray. Still, I keep imagining any other car I get (even another 73) and I just feel sad to think it won't be *this* car.

If we do repair the car, I'm thinking that getting a parts car might be cheapest. I do have the repair list and the big tickets are the 2 outer quarter panels, 1 inner quarter panel, and whole bumper assembly. Perhaps I can find a car that has a nice rear end that we can part out. Going to Sandiego (or anywhere where there are a lot of these cars) would be a great idea. We've brought other cars back over the border and I'm not too worried about that prospect.

I'm waiting to hear from the insurance company how much they will take off the top for me to buy back the wreck. That's going to be the real decider.

all the best,
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 06:28 PM
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when I decided to restore my 114, it took a very long time to get it done. The reason was because I had to find all the parts myself. for example I had to take a 4 hour drive to a scrap yard so I could cut out the quarter panel off a scrap car, but the cost of the panel was 100 dollars. I live in montreal, and had to drive to connecticut for a rear bumper that cost 50 dollars. If you love this car, and I know most of us on this forum do, take your time, find the parts and rebuild. It was your dads man. If i could only get back my dads GTO. By the way the bumper that cost 50 bucks was 2 grand at stealership.
good luck
jimmy arfanis
ps. try Chuck at Allbenz. he has lots of parts
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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So after much nonsense with the insurance (that still isn't completely settled but I think we're at the end), we decided to keep the car and restore it. Every time I imagined any other car I just felt miserable so this is the car for me!

So now we're looking for a back end of a 1973 450sl (b column back) that we'd need to get to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. If you ever hear of one please do let me know! I'd also appreciate advice on how you go about looking for one. I'm not quite sure how to find a chunk of car Thanks! Deidre
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 02:25 PM
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You're going to have an easier time finding a whole parts car than a rear half only. I;d consider buying one (or two) junked cars and bringing them home on a trailer so you have most if not all of the parts you need, plus some extras you can later sell yourself to recoup the loss. It is very clear that you love this car and what it means to you, it is a very special vehicle in that sense and I admire you greatly for choosing to go this route. I applaud you for working so hard to keep one of these vintage beauties on the road. You are a true enthusiast.


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