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1995 E300 Diesel
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all,

I need your advice because I can't decide what to do. My ride is in good maintenance shape but needs paint and some leather work. Would you fix her up real nice (putting about $5000 into it or so) or just drive it until the wheels fall off? I see these nice new cars, M1's, Audi's etc, but they all lack the soul of my 300D (I've had it since I was 16). What would you do if you were a 24yr old guy with disposable income? Fix it up like new or wait till it dies and get something else?
 

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1993 300D 2.5 "Elsie"
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1,287 Posts
Personally, if the car is in otherwise good condition, I would fix it up. In fact, I did just that with mine. The only thing is I did go cheap on the paint and took it to (don't laugh!) MAACO. They actually did a surprisingly good job for $1600. BUT, the particular MAACO I took it to is known for doing much better paint work than most. Otherwise I probably would not have taken that gamble. If the car stays solid and reliable, and I keep it that long, I may have a better paint job done on it in a few years, but there's no rush...it looks good enough that I get a lot of compliments on it. Let me put it this way; the MAACO paint job on my 20 year old Benz looks better than the paint job on probably any new GM car. Really.

Here are two pics...a before and after. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the entire top of the car from front to back had cracked paint. They had to take it down to the metal before repainting. And I admit I've dumped a LOT of cash into this car overall, but I'd rather keep putting money into this car than have car payments on some new plastic POS. :D
 

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1993 300D 2.5 "Elsie"
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1,287 Posts
I should clarify that the other cars you mentioned are not plastic POS's. I would actually LOVE to have a new Audi A6, but only if I could pay cash for it and afford the gas for it. I will never finance another car....
 

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I had me coupe repainted despite the advice of many on this board and family/friends alike. My paint job was about $3600. I am happy I did it, it was almost 4 years ago. I also had the smoke silver paint that does deteriorate quite badly over the years with cracking under the clear coat. It is your decision, your investment will likely not increase the resale value of your car by as much as it cost you to to do so.
 

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1995 E300 Diesel
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Chuck, that is a good looking paint job. What worries me is that I will invest a sizable chunk of money and then get clobbered by some texting teenager. Can I insure my car for the value of the restoration? The thing is, I just don't see cars today that invoke a sense of admiration like this model does. Haha it sounds like my mind is made up. Nothing looks better than a W124 going down the rode.
 

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1995 E300 Diesel
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I had me coupe repainted despite the advice of many on this board and family/friends alike. My paint job was about $3600. I am happy I did it, it was almost 4 years ago. I also had the smoke silver paint that does deteriorate quite badly over the years with cracking under the clear coat. It is your decision, your investment will likely not increase the resale value of your car by as much as it cost you to to do so.

What was there reasoning (members on this board) behind not having it repainted? I guess this would be more of an emotional move on my part, since financially it doesn't really make sense.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
Do what you like!

But be aware if the car gets into an accident insurance will most likely total it out and you won't recoup your money unless you get an agreed upon valuation policy!
 

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'91 C124 300CE, '06 W164 ML500, '00 BMW MCOUPE, '65 COBRA REPL.
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547 Posts
Why are you guys worrying about accidents, totaling etc. ?
That should not be a factor. If you like the car and would like to see it look better, do it.
Don't worry about future value, if you will get the money back, if the insurance will total it etc.
I put some coin into mine and love it. It's my daily driver and I do not worry about it. If something happens I will fix it again. If I sell it, I know I will not get what I put into it.
If you buy a new car, the depreciation will be substantial as well.
Do what will make YOU happy. Life is too short for such worries.
My 2 cents.
 

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1998 E300, 2006 R350
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491 Posts
I think the E300 is definitely worth the effort. I rarely see them on the road around here. I sure appreciate mine. And if it looks great, that's all the better.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
Why are you guys worrying about accidents, totaling etc. ?
Because when you "invest" $4,500.00 into a car that books out for $4,500.00 and it gets into an accident insurance will offer you... $4,500.00 and you'll be fighting for more and will end up losing most of your "investment" that's why.

Happened to me... twice (due to no fault of my own) and I spend 2 months total fighting to get a just payment.

Happens with older cars.
 

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1987 300E, 1955 Plymouth Belvedere, 2005 Silverado 4x4
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963 Posts
Because when you "invest" $4,500.00 into a car that books out for $4,500.00 and it gets into an accident insurance will offer you... $4,500.00 and you'll be fighting for more and will end up losing most of your "investment" that's why.

Happened to me... twice (due to no fault of my own) and I spend 2 months total fighting to get a just payment.

Happens with older cars.[/QUOTE

Hell, If you buy a new car you're gonna lose $4500 in value the second the title gets signed over to you. That's an absolute. At least with the repaint/restore, you only lose your investment IF the car gets wrecked. In the meantime, you have a fine looking unique ride that isn't losing value with every mile you put on it. I have bought plenty of new cars in my life. When I was married and had young kids, the wife hauling the kids around in a new car gave me some peace of mind. Even then, I was driving an old car or truck. I'm totally comfortable driving older vehicles and feel like new car buyers are the schmucks who have to eat the big loss in value. The new car smell is highly overrated.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
Yeah this is a given but you lose tax/license whenever you buy a car. But let's be honest, few people have ever said:

"I can buy this W124 for $8,000.00 or buy this 2012 E350 for $55,000.00."

Also, if a 2012 E350 gets hit unless it's chopped in half insurance will pay to have it repaired.

If your W124 gets hit might get totaled out.

I'm not saying "don't restore it" I'm saying unless it's a Gullwing it doesn't make financial sense to do so most of the time beyond keeping it on the road.

Hell, If you buy a new car you're gonna lose $4500 in value the second the title gets signed over to you. That's an absolute.
 

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1995 E300 Diesel
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
All good and valid points gentleman. I think at this stage, given my history with this car, I will restore it. At the end of the day, I want a vehicle that is personal to me. While BMW's, Audi's etc are all nice cars, I feel that they lack the soul of the W124.
 

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Premium Member
Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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1,719 Posts
All good and valid points gentleman. I think at this stage, given my history with this car, I will restore it. At the end of the day, I want a vehicle that is personal to me. While BMW's, Audi's etc are all nice cars, I feel that they lack the soul of the W124.
Agree with your take on this. I am biased, running 5 of these cars in immediate family for several years now, and total tally of costs is surprisingly low...AFTER reconditioning key systems.

Interest and collision insurance need not apply, but, you certainly can insure a car for agreed value...which I have do on my convertibles...only.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
I have no plans on dumping my 400E and intend to keep it for as long as possible and have probably spent 2/3 of the purchase price in servicing and refurbishing stuff.

It's sure cheaper than owning a yacht!
 

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'91 C124 300CE, '06 W164 ML500, '00 BMW MCOUPE, '65 COBRA REPL.
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547 Posts
chabanais,
I understand the financial argument.
I was not questioning the fact that the money will be lost. That is a given as I did explain in my previous post. What I am saying, is the "if" part of it should not be the deciding factor.
Should I do this? What if that happens? Who gives a damn. Do it if you think it is right for you. Life is to short to live with ifs and buts.
That is all I was saying.
Glad the PO will keep the car and make it right again.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
While I agree and am in the process of doing that with my second car, you have to consider all sides first is all I meant.


chabanais,
I understand the financial argument.
I was not questioning the fact that the money will be lost. That is a given as I did explain in my previous post. What I am saying, is the "if" part of it should not be the deciding factor.
Should I do this? What if that happens? Who gives a damn. Do it if you think it is right for you. Life is to short to live with ifs and buts.
That is all I was saying.
Glad the PO will keep the car and make it right again.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 300E
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1,336 Posts
If you buy a new car chances are you will have no choice but to go to the dealership or specialist indie for most of the stuff we can do on our own today.

Don't discount the "intellectual capital" that one builds up over the years of owning, researching, then ultimately servicing these cars. This fountain of knowledge eventually becomes a pool of knowledge and that's where the big bucks are saved!

I'll take knowledge-subsidized cost of ownership over depreciation any-day. Wreck it, and I'll just use those years of knowledge to find another good example that I can effortlessly bring back to daily driver condition.
 

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12 GL450
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13,900 Posts
No more than a Maaco paint, if you can find a good Maaco. Your car is not worth it no matter how mechanically nice it is. Drive it until the wheels fall off however, I'm willing to bet that you will get bored with it long before than.
 

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2002 Mercedes-Benz E320
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239 Posts
Because when you "invest" $4,500.00 into a car that books out for $4,500.00 and it gets into an accident insurance will offer you... $4,500.00 and you'll be fighting for more and will end up losing most of your "investment" that's why.

Happened to me... twice (due to no fault of my own) and I spend 2 months total fighting to get a just payment.

Happens with older cars.
One day you'll be dead. Forever. I'm sure your 4,500 dollars will be so important. Who cares about money. Screw money. If you buy these cars with economical issues in mind why on Earth are you driving a 17+ year old MB?
 
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