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1997 Dinan BMW M3; 1985 190e 2.3, 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Found a 1990 420SEL at local MB Dealer *Pics*

I was up at the local MB dealer this morning looking at another car when I came across a 1990 420SEL with 166k miles, it was in really good shape. The only issue I found was some rusting on the front passenger side quarter panel, picture is below. I figure to replace the panel and get it painted would be around $500, but looking at the interior, it was clean, seats were not beat up, the front chrome ring and bumper were not pitted, the trunk was clean, wheels were a little faded, but not too bad.

I have no idea what they will ask, I emailed a sales rep this morning, I am wondering if it would be a good buy at maybe $1000 or so, I do not know the maintenance history, so I would have to ask about that. I realize it will need parts replaced, things wear out, and it may need a tune-up.

It was open and I can say the doors shut solid, not like todays cheap feeling in some.

I read some reviews on Edmunds and they all loved the car, had great praise.

But overall, what are your opinions on this model?
 

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1990 500SL, 1986 500SEC
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:thumbsup: Looks nice. There is a sticky for a buyers guide. Take a read through that but otherwise $1000 give or take would be a win provided it is well sorted mechanically.

The rust is pretty common in that spot so IMO NBD.

It's good that it has the late gen 2 seats which give the car a nice updated look. Being a 420 you don't have the expensive self leveling suspension to contend with.

So I suppose it all comes down to what do you want to do with the car?

GL and I wouldn't hold my breath on dealer pricing at $1000, just sayin'
 

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1997 Dinan BMW M3; 1985 190e 2.3, 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Discussion Starter #3
Dealer pricing may be the issue, but I have emailing a sales lady and she thinks it will be wholesaled out, she is going to check with the mgr to see if hey would sell it, I did mention $1000 or so in the email, so who knows, but for $1000 I wold take it, get the rust fixed and maybe even get it painted.

I think it could look great, just needs a wax job, and the paint is actually pretty good, I ran my fingers across it and it was smooth, the only reason I would get it painted would be if they were not able to blend the fender if the original paint has faded.

I did ask to start it up Monday when I go, unless it idles rough or I hear something way out of place it may be a buy, at the right price.



:thumbsup: Looks nice. There is a sticky for a buyers guide. Take a read through that but otherwise $1000 give or take would be a win provided it is well sorted mechanically.

The rust is pretty common in that spot so IMO NBD.

It's good that it has the late gen 2 seats which give the car a nice updated look. Being a 420 you don't have the expensive self leveling suspension to contend with.

So I suppose it all comes down to what do you want to do with the car?

GL and I wouldn't hold my breath on dealer pricing at $1000, just sayin'
 

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1990 300SE 93k miles. 2008 Landcruiser
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Dealer will probably price it at about $2800-3500. If you get it for $1000 that would definitely be a buy, even to use as a parts car. Let us know what happens.:thumbsup:
 

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1997 Dinan BMW M3; 1985 190e 2.3, 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Discussion Starter #5
Dealer will probably price it at about $2800-3500. If you get it for $1000 that would definitely be a buy, even to use as a parts car. Let us know what happens.:thumbsup:
Thanks, yea I am guessing they will ask more then I will want to pay, I did get the VIN to check it out more

wdbca35e8ma590415
 

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1984 500SEL
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It's widely considered one of the best models Benz came out with. The combination of power and fuel economy out of the 4.2 was pretty impressive for its time. Also pretty simple and straightforward to work on. Looks to be in pretty good condition. Unless there is something wrong with the engine or other issues, there is no way you're getting it for a grand. If they do go for it, immediately ask them if they're interested in purchasing some handsome cream or volcano insurance.
 

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1997 Dinan BMW M3; 1985 190e 2.3, 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Discussion Starter #7
It's widely considered one of the best models Benz came out with. The combination of power and fuel economy out of the 4.2 was pretty impressive for its time. Also pretty simple and straightforward to work on. Looks to be in pretty good condition. Unless there is something wrong with the engine or other issues, there is no way you're getting it for a grand. If they do go for it, immediately ask them if they're interested in purchasing some handsome cream or volcano insurance.
I came up with the $1000 figure, I based it off of KBB pricing, which was actually for a 1991 since KBB does not go back to 1990, I was looking at retail, trade-in and private party, so who knows what they will as, I won't be surprised if they ask $3k or more, but I would be buying it as-is, so it has to be cheap.
 

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'89 560SEC, '90 560SEL
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Might be worth $3500 with the rust spot properly fixed, but only if everything else was in good shape too. It constantly got on my nerves when I was looking for my SEC, both private parties and dealers would constantly price these cars way out of the market, which is just a waste of everyone's time. On the other hand, check back with them and let them know your offer still stands. When no one gives the car a second look after it's sat for two weeks, they'll start to figure it out.
 

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1997 Dinan BMW M3; 1985 190e 2.3, 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Discussion Starter #11
classic KBB pricing..
Yea, she said she would go to the used car mgr and make an offer if I had one since it was scheduled to be wholesaled, they have a "no haggle" pricing deal, which I think is a bunch of crap, but I emailed her and said $1000 and I listed all the problems I may incur, tires, fluid flush, repairing fender, pads/rotors, etc and gave her how much I am looking at for those items, trying to show her it could be a money pit.
 

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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Yea, she said she would go to the used car mgr and make an offer if I had one since it was scheduled to be wholesaled, they have a "no haggle" pricing deal, which I think is a bunch of crap, but I emailed her and said $1000 and I listed all the problems I may incur, tires, fluid flush, repairing fender, pads/rotors, etc and gave her how much I am looking at for those items, trying to show her it could be a money pit.
Haha... Good luck with explaining those things to a used car salesperson. I bet she couldn't really care less. Doing the same thing with a private part might even lead to somewhere, but not with a dealer.

Unless you just go there in person and wave the bills to the manager. And if you really want the car, going there in person will be your best bet, anyway.
 

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1972 350SL 1974 280C 1984 500SEL 1986 560 SEL 1987 420 SEL 1989 190E 1989 560SL 1991 300SE
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I don't think $1000 is anywhere close to realistic. Let me give you what I think the other side is: They took it in trade, probably from a long time customer, or his family, who are probably long time customers. Old, clean, but not too clean, 126's like that being traded in are usually the car of an old man who has died or gone in the nursing home. They had to give at least $1500 in real credit for the car and might be showing $2500-$3000 on the books. Every car they move has a fixed fee attached to it (usually called a "pack" around Oklahoma), probably something like $300, it helps cover the fixed overhead of the used car department. From now on, that car they gave $1500 for shows a cost of $1800, for instance. Even a wholesale car needs to be sold for a profit, it just might be a smaller profit. I think any Mercedes that legally runs and dirves will be worth $2000 to the wholesale buyers for the note lots in any city in America.

I think the dealership can get $2000-$3000 without a lot of work, in a pretty short period. Since they are there to make money, I don't see any reason to try to sell them on a deal that costs them money.
 

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1986 420SEL/1995 E300D/4 BMW’s/2 Vanagon’s
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I don't think $1000 is anywhere close to realistic. Let me give you what I think the other side is: They took it in trade, probably from a long time customer, or his family, who are probably long time customers. Old, clean, but not too clean, 126's like that being traded in are usually the car of an old man who has died or gone in the nursing home. They had to give at least $1500 in real credit for the car and might be showing $2500-$3000 on the books. Every car they move has a fixed fee attached to it (usually called a "pack" around Oklahoma), probably something like $300, it helps cover the fixed overhead of the used car department. From now on, that car they gave $1500 for shows a cost of $1800, for instance. Even a wholesale car needs to be sold for a profit, it just might be a smaller profit. I think any Mercedes that legally runs and dirves will be worth $2000 to the wholesale buyers for the note lots in any city in America.

I think the dealership can get $2000-$3000 without a lot of work, in a pretty short period. Since they are there to make money, I don't see any reason to try to sell them on a deal that costs them money.
That isn't necessarily true, a dealer who is good with the books may have theoretically "paid" $1500 for the car only to sell the customer a new car at $5000 profit, for example. It's all part of the deal, they could give that car away and still make $3500. Of course, they are going to try and sell it as high as possible, but, it's not unthinkable that it could sell for less than they have in it. They could also show that as a loss which could possibly benefit the books elsewhere. Just sayin...dealerships are a lot sneaker when it comes to making money than many of us are aware of. Whether they would let that 420 go for a grand, who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The car is at Mercedes of West Chester PA, if anyone has an interest let me know an dI will put you in touch with the sales rep I dealt with, she was really nice and helpful.

It was maintained at that dealership, I have all the maintenance records here, they are wholesaling it for $2500, and asking $3500, but I bet you could get it for $2500
 

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2012 GLK350W4, 2006 E350, 1968 250SL
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(Long post.. sorry...)

It's so tough with these big old sedans. Different dealerships have different thoughts when it comes to old cars. The dealership where I work (franchised MB in Minneapolis) isn't interested, at all, in these sorts of cars.

Old = potential for problems / upset customers. If they sell it to someone and something breaks in a week or a month or 6 months, a customer will bring it back and complain that it broke, want it fixed, etc. It can be messy.. don't fix it and you're a crook for selling a bad car, fix it and they'll be back for the next thing. At what point does someone take responsibility for ownership of the 20 year old car they paid a few thousand bucks for?

I've seen these sorts of cars come in and the customer is offered $500 - $1000 for it. Its usually the original owner, an old guy, he says, forget that... I'll donate it to my church, give it to the neighbor, whatever. Most people don't trade them, they get rid of them some other way.

When I hear about these sorts of cars I talk to the sales guy, get the old man's name and call him and try to put a deal together (if I'm in the market, and I can always talk myself into being in the market for something cool). Some of the best cars emerge like this, full service histories, every record from new and the original window sticker... cherry pieces, are available like this.

I paid a guy more than 3x what the dealership told him they'd give him for his '87 420 SEL. It was perfect, all records, one of our mechanics had been the only guy to work on it for the past 15 years.

These cars are out there and often show up on Craigslist when someone says "to hell with the dealership, I can get more than they're offering me by selling it myself"... and they're right. Some of those cars priced at $4500, $5500 on CL are worth calling and going to look at... if the alternative is a trade value of $800 - $1,500... your $2000 offer might go a long way.

You MUST buy them cheap if they aren't well documented, but I believe in paying up for a well maintained, well documented car, even if its got higher miles.
 

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I wouldn't pay more than 2k..2.5k if it has verifiable and long repair history, and didn't need any panels repaired like that one does. Problem is, that panel that is rusted out is not a good sign it had a good owner.

Personally, I wouldn't drive anything but a 500 or 560SEL if it's a W126, as I test drove a 420 recently and was really disappointed in the lack of power compared to my 500. You can find much better without needing body panel repairs, so keep looking bud. ;)
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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If the dealer reaches a more realistic price and you decide to take another look at the car, make sure to also check for rust along the underside of the rear window frame from the trunk.
 

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'85 500SEL -- Gandalf, the Anthracite
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I tend to agree with Nightbird. I just bought an '85 500SEL for $2,000. It has it's warts but it also has a freshly rebuilt engine and a maintenance history that goes back to the original purchase. I'll post more when I get her home in a couple of days and can get some pics, but the point is that the 420 you are looking at is priced too high for it's condition unless it is pristine other than the one rust spot.
 
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