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Ok, Hands up, Ive never owned a Mercedes and have no knowledge of the SLC450.

I have the oppurtunity to go and work in South Africa for a while, I will need a car for a few months that is reliable, however i dont want a heap of rubbish, instead something stylish would be nice.

Looking on Autotrader.co.za i have found a couple of SLC450's (1979ish) for around 3-5000 GBP.

My question is basically would a car of this price with 250K kilometers on the clock be reliable (I dont fancy breaking down late at night in Johannesburg!)

As i have no knowledge of these cars and my mechanical knowledge is limited should i buy something else like a horrible Opel Corsa, not really comparable but maybe more reliable?

I really fancy something stylish and dont mind spending 1000 GBP to get it in a fit state, are there any buying guides on the net, good links and websites very much appreciated. What should i look out for?

All comments and help gratefully recieved

Regards

JAmes Spearman
 

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Dear James,

First, I can but admire your sense of taste. The 450SLC was certain...


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Dear James,

First, I can but admire your sense of taste. The 450SLC was certainly a beautiful automobile and a joy to drive when in proper running order. However, I believe very strongly that this is not a car for someone with no knowledge of it or someone who buy his own admission is not very mechanically apt. 250K (155K miles) is not a lot for those cars as long as they were properly maintained. Sadly many weren't. Not that they are inherently unreliable its just that they are so brutally expensive to refurbish or even just furbish that you might very well be better off with something newer though not necessarily the Corsa. To give you an idea of what some of the parts for the SLC may cost, here are some numbers. Granted these are US numbers but I imagine they are similarly ugly in SA.

Water pump with installation- $800
Fan clutch- $400(!)
Climate control servo (breaks on every one of them every 50K miles or so)- $600
Fuel pump- $300
Muffler (w/tailpipe)- $550

I could go on but I think you get the picture. Based on the above factors, I think you have two options.

1) Pay up a little and see if you can find an SLC with lower miles, say in the 60-80K range. I don't know if there are any left in SA but here in the US you can find some with miles even into the 20s, but of course they cost more.

2) Go with something newer, if you don't like Corsas, maybe a Ford Focus or something along those lines.

Hope this helps

Ike Chiladze
Minneapolis, MN USA
 

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If you can have someone to go through the car it should be a rather safe buy. I mean, if t...

If you can have someone to go through the car it should be a rather safe buy. I mean, if the car ran 250k, and the car is OK when you buy it, why should it not run another 10k without any major breakdown?

Don't know the SA car prices, but for the money you are mentioning, maybe you can find a nice low km W123 coupe (230CE, 280CE etc) or why not the W116 S-class (1971-1980 280S - 450SEL).
 
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