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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #1
Purports to be a one-owner CA car with 190K. Crate motor from reputable rebuilder installed at 170K. Pricey repaint in 97. New leather in 2000. New fuel pump, new exhaust. "Runs perfectly", "looks new". Dealer maintained. All records available. They are asking 5K.

Saturday will be a look-see and possible test drive if all looks OK. PPI would follow.
 

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500SLC #2624. Black on Black.
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5,120 Posts
Could be a good buy, but the question goes begging, if it is one owner, and has all records, and is dealer maintained, why on earth did it need a new engine? And for that matter, why did it need a pricey respray?

At least if it is a TRUE one owner. the seller should have the answers to those questions.

Also, if it needed that work done because the owner didn't treat it right, then being a one-owner car suddenly become a liability, because he probably treated it the same after the work was done...

All speculation, of course, but the description does seem to raise those questions...
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #4
Here in sunny Norcal, it's almost impossible to put 190K miles on a car over a 25 year period and keep its paint from the damaging rays of the sun (unless you're lucky enough to have covered parking at both ends of your commute). For this age car, sun-faded paint with destroyed clear coats and dried/cracked leather are the norm around here. I will ask why the motor was replaced, however.
 

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1972 350SL 4.5, car #917
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252 Posts
+1 on sun damage requiring a repaint.

Good to see the Blue Plate, give some assurance she's been a long term Cal car.
 

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1981 380SL
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256 Posts
Looks nice.

Pitfall of that year was the location of the catalytic converters in the downpipes. I'd look around there for cooking. If you were in another state, I would recommend a bit of exhaust work to change the cat location to that of the later cars. Don't think that's allowed in CA.

Beyond that, given 190K miles and 37 years in sunny CA I wouldn't worry a bit about the cosmetics as long as the redo was high quality (sure looks like it from the photo).
 

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1972 350SL 4.5, car #917
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252 Posts
Looks nice.

Pitfall of that year was the location of the catalytic converters in the downpipes. I'd look around there for cooking. If you were in another state, I would recommend a bit of exhaust work to change the cat location to that of the later cars. Don't think that's allowed in CA.

Beyond that, given 190K miles and 37 years in sunny CA I wouldn't worry a bit about the cosmetics as long as the redo was high quality (sure looks like it from the photo).
Not sure the answer to that - it has to have the stock equipment but not sure about location. Chances are it would be an issue since the testers do a visual inspection from manuals and I bet they'd flag it. One potential is to bring it to a referee and get a "ok" on it however since everything is still there just moved.

Not a small investment in time however.
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #8
Cars made in 1975 and before are exempt from the CA smog test. They are never required to go to inspection -- visual or otherwise -- as far as I know. Hello, Tri-Y?
 

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1975 450SL
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2,440 Posts
The plumbing from a earlier model is supposed to be the "cure" for the logs. A '73 or '74. Just finding them is the hard part.

You have to be careful to look at the wiring under the hood, the heat from the cats tends to make things rather brittle. On mine, a previous owner even fabricated a heat shield for the overflow tank/coolant reservoir.

Good luck,
Scott
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #14
I just returned from seeing and driving the car.. very nice indeed. Is definitely a one-owner CA car. Owner has every manual, receipt, and scrap of paper neatly bound in two large 3-ring binders dating back to their purchase in 1975 (their purchase price was $22K iirc). I didn't have time to look through the hundreds of receipts but I did come across the motor swap job ($12K iirc) and a summary of major work that the seller had compiled some time in the past that included the aforementioned motor swap, new trany, new exhaust, new paint, new interior, new steering box, and a mess of other things that all totaled came to $48K. That's not even included the many, many smaller priced items done to the car over the past 37 years. It appears that the owner simply did whatever maintenance their various mechanics recommended at the time. It even got a new fuel pump and FPR (and a tow in to the repair shop) in June 2012, apparently because it wouldn't start in the owner's garage.

The car started right up and idled with a good amount of whitish smoke coming out the back until it warmed up. Motor purred like a kitten though I could hear what sounded like a noisy smog pump. No indications of leaking before or after my test drive. The electric windows all worked albeit *very* slowly. I'm guessing the fuses/fuse box needs cleaning/aluminum fused replaced with brass. The Becker radio worked perfectly as did the electric antenna. I couldn't get the A/C to come on and the control knob was loose where its shaft pulled out 1-2" with relative ease.. I'll have this checked during the PPI as I found no description of how to actuate the A/C in the owners manual.

There was a receipt for rear body work and mention of a significant rear-end collision though I saw no remaining evidence of any damage or poorly-made repairs.

The car drove very well; tracked straight, stropped straight, shifted smoothly, and was blissfully quiet compared to my 380SL with its ghetto exhaust system. Here are some pics I took with my phone. I should have snapped a shot of that major repairs summary which was on one page but I'll have another opportunity during the PPI.









 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #16
PPI tentatively set for Tuesday. Apart from the front subframe, is there anything specific I should be ensuring the indy looks at?

That all sound very encouraging. Have you mentallly bought her already?
Oh yeah. New tires (whitewalls) are the first order of business to replace the aged-out P600s on it now. Thinner bumpers would be nice too.. wondering if 73/74 bumpers would fit or would I need to scare up some Euro bumpers?

The only downside is that my wife has made it clear that my 'car collecting' is a zero-sum game, meaning that one has to go for this one to come. That one will, unfortunately, be my 380SL. My daughters and I have had a lot of fun in it in the 18 or so months we've had it but I'm ready for a change. If I ever get back into a MBZ convertible it will be a R129 for its more civilized soft top.
 

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1993 600SL, 1973 450 SL,1982 380SL,1998 SLK 230, 1968 Firebird, 2001 Dodge Ram 4x4,2005 Ford Escape
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5,247 Posts
Awvcome on Jim, what could possibly go wrong on a 129 ? :D
 

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1978 280slc
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3,203 Posts
Check the rear window for any delamination. If you got it take 500$ off the price. I need a rear window myself and you can really only get one used. Isnt a cheap prospect no matter how you put it.
 
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