Date registered: Jul 2009
Vehicle: 1998 S210 E320 black/mushroom, 1984 R107 500SL #3904 black/black
Location: Tampa Bay
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The kind of mom we all wish we had . . . . .
is living in Texas.
The first thing that you need to do is go over to the Benzworld.org Classifieds and take a look at the "Sticky" titled Bruce's Guide To Buying A Used Mercedes
We have so many knowlegable and experienced members on the BenzWorld forum that I can't believe that at least a few of them haven't waded in to provide you with their reasoning of which MB would be best suited for your son's first car.
For what it's worth, here's mine:
The guys are going to be tall and you say 6'2" and taller. Any MB will have adequate seating room in the front to accomodate that height. Their car must have adequate seating space in the rear passenger area. Excluding the sports cars and specialty vehicles, there are basically three sizes of 4-door cars that Mercedes sells in the US: small/compact (C-Class), medium/executive (E-Class) and large/luxury (S-Class).
The guys are are not going to fit in the rear of the C/compact, and will be cramped in the back seat of the E-Class. So, my recommendation is the 1981 to 1991 W126 chassis S-Class. And yes, they were the most expensive MB (standard production) 4-door sedan when sold new.
Now, here's the good part . . . Mercedes targeted these S-Class vehicles to a very astute and affluent segment of the buying market offering high performance engines culminating with the large and powerful 5.6 litre V-8 engine offered from 1986 through 1991. But they also offered five and six cylinder turbo diesels and even a 3.0 litre inline gasoline engine which provided substantial fuel economy and performance. Oh yea . . . the good part: these very expensive W126 S-Classes can now be purchased at a fraction of what they sold for new and very close to the purchase price of a lesser model and very good examples are in your $4000 price range.
So, dfwmom, you have my thoughts and advice. If you would ask me to select a car for the boys, it would be a W126 300SEL. With the reliable M103 six cylinder gasoline engine and readily available parts. And room enough to take half the neighborhood to school.