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1984 380SL
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192 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All!

First time posting here....usually hang out in the R107 forum. We bought our first Benz in May...a '84 380SL. My husband and I have fallen in love with Benz's roadsters and he is looking for a daily driver (the man is willing to sell his beloved F150 truck!).

We've been advised by Jono at Blue Ridge to look at the '97/'98 years. For some reason these have been scarce but we've come across quite a few '99s. Those of you who own a '99 or have driven both this car and the earlier years, what are your thoughts? We are looking for performance but this would be a daily driver, so unless it really drags we would be open to another year.

Thanks for your input!
 

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1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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2,424 Posts
Knowing something about these cars, I sought out a 1997 or a 1998 specifically because the later cars came with Daimler/Chrysler production methods, versus Mercedes Benz production methods, the last two years of which were 1997 and 1998.

My 1998 was purchased with over 100,000 miles on it. I got it for a very reasonable price last year, and I was surprised that it took only a major tune up and replacing a few worn out or faded parts and trim pieces to make it look and work like I wanted, which is factory certified pre-owned (CPO) condition. I believe it is testimony to the quality of workmanship that went into the cars at the factory that mine turned out as it did.

1999 and above are not as detailed, not as well appointed, in my opinion, and the need to streamline production methods in the face of losses brought on by the merger is the reason why. I believe.
 

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'03 SL Kleemann, 1997 SL320 Pano Top, Tesla Model X
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661 Posts
peachy,

welcome to the forum!

To me, it is most important how well the cars have been taken care of previously, and what condition plastic parts and upholstery are in. Cars that have been in hot climates before, usually show more deterioration in those areas.

I wonder if the '97/'98 advantage hasn't been oversold a little. I have a '97 and a '98 myself, and am happy with both. Two of my employees have '99s, and they are both very happy with theirs. One of the '99s has over 250k miles on it now, without any major problems - first engine and tranny without rebuild... (Upgraded hydraulic cylinders, of course... ;) )

I find that the '99s have more punch to them than my '98. Maybe it's just the engine on my '98 - I wonder if other BenzWorlders have the same experience.

Hope this helps,

Klaus

Top Hydraulics | Rebuilt Convertible Top Hydraulic Cylinders - Top Hydraulics, Inc
 

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Departed 1998 SL500 (and the Pano is in Bogota)
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11,113 Posts
The '99 has a few less HP but higher torque, so it would seems to have more 'punch' getting off the line.
 

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1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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2,424 Posts
I am not that familiar with the 8-cylinder engine, I specialize in the M120 motor (MB's first 12-cylinder motor), and in that, the 1997/1998 have two tone leather interior, more wood details, etc.

Granted, it was something like a $40k upgrade from the 8-cylinder, but in 1999 and on, the SL600 went back to a single-tone interior (excepting the Silver Arrow of course), so all in all, I think the better or best deal in the whole R129 line is for the years 1997 and 1998.

Highly subjective, of course, but I stated why I make that claim.
 

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1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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2,424 Posts
Obligatory photos 'proving' my point:
 

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2001 SL500 Silver Arrow
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22 Posts
Knowing something about these cars, I sought out a 1997 or a 1998 specifically because the later cars came with Daimler/Chrysler production methods, versus Mercedes Benz production methods, the last two years of which were 1997 and 1998.

My 1998 was purchased with over 100,000 miles on it. I got it for a very reasonable price last year, and I was surprised that it took only a major tune up and replacing a few worn out or faded parts and trim pieces to make it look and work like I wanted, which is factory certified pre-owned (CPO) condition. I believe it is testimony to the quality of workmanship that went into the cars at the factory that mine turned out as it did.

1999 and above are not as detailed, not as well appointed, in my opinion, and the need to streamline production methods in the face of losses brought on by the merger is the reason why. I believe.
Rubish, complete, utter rubbish - go and study production engineering, there is no difference.
 

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1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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2,424 Posts
My opinion is backed up by JDPowers customer records, tracked through their system of all major brands of cars.

MB suffered a huge drop in customer satisfaction starting with Model Year 1999, the year after the merger. That drop had continued until only recently, as MB realized it was taking too much out of their cars, sacrificing quality along the way.

MB rationalized their drop in customer satisfaction by saying they were 'rushing' their products to market, but that was a smoke-screen for finding ways to cut costs.

So take my opinion out of it completely, and go with the JDPowers results.
 

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00 SL500 SOLD, 05 SL600 Sport, 09 Silverado 4x4 LTZ,SOLD '15Silverado LTZ 6.2 8Speed John Deere 318
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All I can say is, Buy the lowest mileage, latest model year that you can afford!!! My MY 00 has been the best car that I have EVER OWNED!!!! Yes, they ALL have their own problems,If you are able to do small repairs yourself, the later model years will cost you much less than the pre 99 MY cars. What we ALL have to remember is these cars are now at least 12-15 years old. Repairs are just a part of life!!!!!!
 

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1997 500SL
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36 Posts
All I can say is, Buy the lowest mileage, latest model year that you can afford!!! My MY 00 has been the best car that I have EVER OWNED!!!! Yes, they ALL have their own problems,If you are able to do small repairs yourself, the later model years will cost you much less than the pre 99 MY cars. What we ALL have to remember is these cars are now at least 12-15 years old. Repairs are just a part of life!!!!!!
Must you yell so much to try to make a point? :)
 

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SL500, GLC300
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1,689 Posts
the 99+ R129s have less of the little details i find. but really they are mostly the same. i would go with a 97/98 personally because of the merger and that they changed the engine. looking at stats the engine is less fuel efficient.

that is my 2 cents worth.
 

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1991 560SEC / 2013 GL550
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1,391 Posts
the 99+ R129s have less of the little details i find. but really they are mostly the same. i would go with a 97/98 personally because of the merger and that they changed the engine. looking at stats the engine is less fuel efficient.

that is my 2 cents worth.
The 99+ being rubbish because of the merger is not a fact, it's just an opinion (a really stupid opinion at that). People found kenrockwell.com, read his biased article, and take his opinion as the word of god

If you've ever worked at a big company, you'll know that it's impossible for the wheels to turn that fast after a merger. The 113 and all it's last facelift was designed well before anyone even dreamed of the merger

The truth is, both v8 engines are in the same ballpark horsepower wise, but with the 113 having 2 less cams. And with the 99+ engines, you can supercharge them with Kleeman or RENNtech and easily get the horsepower up around the 500 mark

Buy something that's in great condition, don't worry about the years. Money wise, you can get a better deal on a 97 or 98 because they're older and less desirable. The newer years will always command a premium over the older pre-facelift
 

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SL500, GLC300
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1,689 Posts
The 99+ being rubbish because of the merger is not a fact, it's just an opinion (a really stupid opinion at that). People found kenrockwell.com, read his biased article, and take his opinion as the word of god

If you've ever worked at a big company, you'll know that it's impossible for the wheels to turn that fast after a merger. The 113 and all it's last facelift was designed well before anyone even dreamed of the merger

The truth is, both v8 engines are in the same ballpark horsepower wise, but with the 113 having 2 less cams. And with the 99+ engines, you can supercharge them with Kleeman or RENNtech and easily get the horsepower up around the 500 mark

Buy something that's in great condition, don't worry about the years. Money wise, you can get a better deal on a 97 or 98 because they're older and less desirable. The newer years will always command a premium over the older pre-facelift
well I'm not talking about power plant and all that stuff really. it is more the little things i care about. like the powered review mirror, as an example, and things like that. I myself also find the leather design to be fairly ugly on the 99 ones. i like the drilled leather down the middle of the seat.

but my favorite year is 1995 by far. i was never a fan of the two side vents that are more rounded. i found them ugly. i also enjoyed the two toned exterior as well as the more boxy looking front end. the only really 99+, or 96+ for that fact is the SA SL600. other then that i will stay with the 1995 ones.
 

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Y2K SL500 Silver
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it is more the little things i care about. like the powered review mirror, as an example, and things like that.
The power interior mirror has proven over and over again to be one big problem. The first time someone with a lack of knowledge gets into a R129 w/ a power driven rear view mirror is to grab hold of it and try and adjust it to there needs and Viola there goes the gears/motor. It's broken! I assume that's why MB decided to pull that feature from the product line. And a MY 93-95 MB is notorious for needing a costly engine wiring harness due to brittle wire insulation.
 

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99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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What year did the Xenon come on? It improved the look of the front.
 

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00 Audi TT & 00 E320 4M
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