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1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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801 Posts
Anziani,
Thanks for the link, however I do not find the article. Do I have to create an account and log-in?
 

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W140 Moderator
"CHRIS" Merc 92 600SEL / Sold > 93 600SE / 93 S500 / 89 560SEL / 413CDI / B180-CDI /A170-CDI
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7,531 Posts
Anziani,
Thanks for the link, however I do not find the article. Do I have to create an account and log-in?
It must be this Article here .

BONUS for you.
AND here is Stryker's Beautiful W140 Article .
 

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Moderator
1995 Mercedes S420, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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1,641 Posts
I've seen this coming for a few years now, and a lot of people assured me it would never happen. But the W140 is far too significant of a car for the collector market to ignore forever. The 600 and coupes are of course going to be tops in collectability, but the entire range is going to see a spike soon enough.

It's just basic market dynamics; for a long time the values were rock-bottom and as such they were bought by people who either didn't understand them or couldn't afford to care for them properly. Accordingly, the beaters in the market continued to ensure values remained depressed across the board, as the car developed a bad/undesirable reputation for being 'impossible' to maintain.

Eventually though, these poor examples deteriorated to a point that the downscale owners just couldn't keep them anymore, and they ended up in the scrapyard. The only ones left on the market became the enthusiast-owned examples, and that's where the turnaround begins.

Now we're seeing the final stage where the market wakes up to the fact that these very important cars are now almost exclusively in the hands of enthusiasts, and getting more and more rare every day. So values increase accordingly.

I give it about five more years before we see top-notch W140 examples begin to regularly trade at $60k or more. I'd expect condition #3 cars to command well over $15k in the same timeframe, even the V8s.
 

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Premium Member
1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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801 Posts
It must be this Article here .

BONUS for you.
AND here is Stryker's Beautiful W140 Article .
Merc-S600,
Thanks for the links and the two bonus articles. I had read both in the past , but enjoyed reading them again. I guess Hemmings needs to do a remake on Stryker, since he now has 2 Maybachs and soon will have the W140 shooting Brake with an M120.
 

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1994 s600 coupe
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359 Posts
the 2 door coupes will go up in value. the market and demand for 4 door large sedans isn't as strong as coupes.
the SL600 will also be worth more than the S600 coupe, being the SL600 is a true 2 seater sports car.
the downside of the S600 was the lingering boxy styling of the back end of the car.
one must look at these for their strong points, who gets to drive a V12 ?
guys like Jay Leno. so it's a working man's V12, for now.
eventually they will be $15 grand for a beater that needs restoration, as the cars continue to be scrapped, they will become more scarce.
I got mine for $1500 in March 2019, and am confident if I took a prospective buyer for a ride in it today, would fetch $7500-$10,000 range easily, based on the road performance, handling, and sound of the car alone. the challenge is, you have to find a buyer whom $10 grand is no big deal. people are not going to buy a 25 year old car with a V12 as their primary car, on a sustenance income. we're talking collector/special interest niche market now. the early W140's have just reached "antique" status i.e. 25 years or older. that qualifies them for reduced registration, licensing, insurance costs. the insurance on my car is only $35 a year, it is exempt from yearly safety/emissions inspections, and exempt from yearly state registration renewals. this makes owning an older car more attractive, especially if it has a powerful engine in it. it becomes a car for parades, car shows, and "special missions"...;)
typically cars get a boost in value at that point, if they had any good marketable engineering, luxury, and styling traits to speak of, and the W140 had quite a few.
 

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96 sl600,97 s420(gone) 96 CL600
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604 Posts
Hmmm. I agree w/ Thom, same thing happened with e28 m5's and now normal e28's. Coupes are rare- love mine, but they weigh more or less what the S does and thus are a niche vehicle. The sl's? I love mine, but honestly, in that chassis the m119 does almost the same thing. Yes, I love mine, but I don't know that the market will.

Rising values aren't always a good thing. I liked my 85 911 more when it was throwaway. Its still a ridiculously fun car, but I view its maintenance and destructibility differently now. Owning an asset is different than owning a toy. An engine failure is now a major disaster as the price of a rebuild factors in the value of the vehicle, whereas before shops had to do a reality check. Just sayin.
 

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1994 s600 coupe
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359 Posts
I have read a post online where a guy said, the V12 M120 is a turd, and the m119 was a better engine. the V8 is certainly simpler, easier to maintain. but it's also down to a level of power similar to a plain jane 1998-2002 Pontiac Trans Am, and the Mercedes is nowhere near a Pontiac in the beauty contest dept. so you can keep going down the scale saying this is almost just as good. I can show you American cars that are even better, that you'd drive once and forget about a W140. most have not driven a lot of different cars to even know otherwise.
a V12 is a V12 and better than a V8 for resale regardless of what it's in. it's got 4 more pistons to make the car go, and a mystique all its own. the only problem with the M120 V12, is Mercedes emasculated it with emissions controls and safety controls. remove those, you have a real interesting impressive machine.
if I had a choice between a V8 or V12 SL600 equal condition and mileage, it's a no brainer take the V12.
but I wouldn't throw a V8 M119 out of bed if it was the only one around, and I was in the market for a W140 on the cheap.
the v12 is complex and a challenge to sort out. being somewhat scarce there's not a big aftermarket support for them.
you have to be a scrounger to source parts and keep them running. forget taking them to the dealer, you'll easily spend many times more than the car is worth, having the dealer repair it. and the techs there now probably have no clue how to diagnose and repair an M120, it's been out of production for 20 years.
one final note on the engines, the M120 and M119 are basically obsolete engines today. all aluminum, 4 cams, adjustable valve timing, fuel injected, 4 valves per cylinder, yadda yadda, that make less horsepower than the entry level GM LS V8 does today, found in 4 door SUV's and trucks, and the LS is a single cam in block, 2 valve per cylinder, pushrod motor, ancient technology just upgraded. well gee an LS is almost as good, err, uhh,,,,actually better, and it's in a cheap Chevy truck, made by the millions. see we can keep walking backward down the steps.
the whole idea of having a V12 is, it's a rare commodity, a unique hard to find, hard to obtain item. not because it has the most power today. it's what goes on viscerally when you drive it, that makes it attractive.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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377 Posts
The M120 is the same thing as the M119, just with 4 more cylinders and less room to work around. These are both 400k mile engines properly maintained. Anyone who claims what he did just doesn't own or know them. As for the post, the SL600s, especially the Sport versions from maybe 97-02 with LOW miles have seen north of 30 grand in some auctions, and mid-20s is pretty much a guarantee. What's bizarre to me is that it seems the 600 Sedans are fetching more cash than similar 600 coupes. To me, 1/20th the production numbers should close the book and be the end of the story. I'm not sure what to make of it. And yes, as with most cars, unfortunately mileage matters as far as the most-dramatic upticks in sales prices are concerned. I have seen some on BaT and eBay fetch in the 20s, one or 2 pushing 30, with under 50k miles. Once you get over 75k and up to about 120k, you end up one rung down on the price ladder, and anything over 120k, whether it be 150, 180, 220k, they seem to all be doing about the same money.

Now with mine, 187k and counting, a "rolling restoration" with $18k invested, this car is an absolute reliable no-excuses driver that you can take anywhere, and is just as reliable and performs as well as if it has 20k on it. To me, if you are going to buy a 40k mile 140 with this motor, you're going to pay a premium AND you are still going to have to replace parts due to age. It's not the value proposition, and I'm not sure who the buyers are/are going to be for low-mile 140s that fetch $30k+ - simply because, these are driver cars. You do not buy these to park in a museum, more than half the value of these car is in the RIDE and the silence, especially with ADS. The SL600 as a museum piece, even with the ADS and the m120, that I can understand mothballing because it's an r129 SL. The 140 is not my red 89 Allante with 47k miles that you can just park and stare at all day, and which loses some of its Italian beauty when you bounce over the first bump, or try to run 80-100 in just for kicks.

So I guess my point is, you're either someone with massive cash or a Mercedes collector who specifically wants to put a low mile 140 in his museum for the next 30 years, or you are someone who wants to drive one, and these cars properly maintained are as driveable and reliable at 400k as they are at 100k, and if you recall, a 92 400E with 350k miles on the clock did $12k a couple years back, so to me, looking at the realities of this vintage of Mercedes, looking at sales prices per mileage, and then you take into account what you have in your car and what your typical use is, there seems to be no discernable difference in value between a 120k mile car and a 300k mile car right now, so you are better off maintaining it and driving it, and when the cars are 40 years old and you have a daily driver survivor with 350k on it, you will probably still bank 20-25 grand in today's money when the time comes because there will simply be none left in that condition, there will be the 30k mile museum pieces that you won't be able to touch for less than 200 grand
 

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1994 s600 coupe
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359 Posts
we have to be careful with auction prices, because the buyers/sellers fees, and auction fees, and transport fees can easily total 30% of the winning bid price. another issue is, mileage alone is not a true indicator, geographic location is an even bigger factor. if the car comes from the northeast there salt brine road treatments are used in the winter for ice/snow, there will be a considerable amount of undercar RUST REPAIR required. 400k miles on a northeast USA car in my area just isn't going to happen, the floorboards and frame would be rotted clean out well before that time. a southern or california or southwest USA car ? yes. I have been wrenching on my W140 for 8 months now, and have a pretty good idea of the design now. there's no way the cars will run 400k or even 150k miles without a major repair of some sort, and again, this is not "maintenance". I'm talking a major component failure such as transmission, head gasket, etc. peruse the archives here it's evident these parts and components wear out well before the 200k mile mark, and most before the 150k mark. if you are getting 400k miles from ANY car, you are driving one that has had an on-frame restoration done to it, and practically every component changed. by that I mean battery, starter, alternator, throttle bodies, all the sensors, steering and suspension components, exhaust system, rotors, wheel bearings, blower motors, washer pump motors, wiper motors, power windows components, HVAC system, cooling system/radiator/water pump, and most importantly the transmission. the internal engine components and rear axle are pretty close to bulletproof, but without regular oil changes they too can be wounded.
I found an 85k mile black R129 with V12 in Craigslist this summer, for only $8500 in NY state. auctions may/could/will bring more, because that's where the wealthy people are who can spend 20 grand for a car that is worth 10 grand, just to get it. the general consensus today is, if you want to make money doing anything, you have to get a rich person across the table from you, and suck up to them, and sell them your goods or services or skills. if you sell to the general public, you're going to get the Walmart/Lowes/Home Depot/Amazon price, because that's what they're accustomed to. the auction price is not the national market price, that's the auction price where you pay $5000 in fees and transport, to sell to a large room full of millionaires, to get the $20,000-$30,000 sale price.
my basic rule of thumb is, for the foreseeable future of our lives here on earth, no car with a computer in it i.e. OBD1 OBD2, will ever be a highly collectible car, compared to the pre-1982 models that had no computer, and especially the pre-1972 or so models, with their engineering design purity and little/no emissions controls.
agreed 100% the handling is truly what sets these cars apart, and the interior comfort. I never sat in a car that had that solid feeling before in my life, or a heavy big car that took corners so effortlessly. it handles like a 2 seater that weighs 2800 lbs, but it weighs 5000 lbs and is a 4 passenger car fully loaded. that is damned amazing.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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I'm talking about the motor. These are 400k mile motors. Of course this doesn't apply to all components, hence what I said about "rolling restoration" and "daily driver survivor." Of course you can and people do drive cars that many miles and more without "frame off restoration" ??? I have a 92 Jetta GLI, WA/CA/MX/FL car with 5 inches of service records, 225k miles, no rust, some parts have been replaced 3x. That's a survivor. Same owner from 95-18, from his 50s to 80s. And yes, the rarity of remaining reliable cars is down and prices up because salt-laden and un-maintained cars already disappeared years ago. My 140 spent its entire life in the SF inland area until it came to me in 2017..I hadn't seen a Couple for sale locally in NC for years, if ever
 

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1994 s600 coupe
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359 Posts
I say this with complete respect for your opinion, I have been working on, repairing, and restoring cars for 40 years now,
there's not a single 400,000 mile anything, without a major repair. if you took apart a 200,000 engine and inspected the bearings, rings, pistons, crankshaft journals, timing chain stretch, you will see a considerable amount of wear. the M120 is certainly amongst the best in metallurgy, but they are not immune to wear. nothing is. the issue is this- unless you completely disassembled it and checked it, you'd never know, because the engine starts with tight clearances, and slowly wears out. what happens is, you take the engine apart, for one minor issue, see just how worn it really is, and end up changing nearly everything inside except the hard parts, because you're in there. these are aluminum blocks with silicone treated cylinders. they do and will wear. so will the rings. the best rings made will develop blowby at approx. 220,000 miles, no matter what they're in. if you do a leakdown test on one, ephiphany strikes. a new engine is 3% or less, a higher mileage engine is 5%, beyond 5% the engine really needs to be re-ringed, and while you're in there, you change the bearings too. there's a ton of engines out there with 5-10% leakdown that their owners think are still "good" but are actually in need of rings.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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Well sure, I'm saying 400k is probably the end of its useable life without a rebuild, and I'm not the only one to say that. Back on topic....I'm seeing 5 low-mile sedans for every low-mile coupe, and the coupes are sitting there with high asking prices, but not selling
 

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1994 s600 coupe
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359 Posts
that's the problem, they are asking too much for the coupes.
in the musclecar market, you can buy 2 finished coupes, for the price or restoring one.
so there is no incentive to restore a car, unless it's special or family heirloom, etc.
based on my own experience with rebuilding tons of engines,
they need a rebuild way before 400k miles.
if they had synthetic oil, and easy highway miles since new,
then yes 400k is a remote possibility.
it all depends on how it's been driven.
 

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'97 CL600
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2,840 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I wonder how many '97 CL600's are left in the USA. They only brought in 342 in '97. I went out to dinner with my brother last night. We arrived in separate cars. He is a Corvette owner and is waiting for the new 2020 Corvette and will buy a 2021. He asked to see my coupe. I opened the hood and he was dumbstruck by the size and beauty of that 12 cylinder engine as I STILL am after three years.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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In reliable condition, still operating (relatively) at functional spec in most areas? Fewer than a hundred, for sure. Hell, could be in the 3-4 dozen realm.

Conjecture, of course. I am certain I have seen other venues where data from wrecking yards/DMV/etc can be aggregated to get you to a reliable number.
 

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1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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801 Posts
I want to add a V-12 coupe, but should have done it 5 years ago. The post 95's are getting harder to find. I also want to add an R129 V-12, Sport, preferably 98 model. I keep watching for a good one. I am hoping for 50-75K miles, but it may not happen. Higher miles is ok if the car is in good shape. As they say, there is no such thing as a cheap Mercedes. The restoration will become cost prohibitive in a hurry.

BTW, Pagani used the M120 until 2006 or later.
 

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Premium Member
1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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Please don’t confuse your investment in a car, any car, with your enjoyment of it/them.

Imagine this conversation being had circa 1965, when 1950’s era MB gullwings and 300SL roadsters were going for literally a few hundred dollars. It was the enthusiasts of the day that preserved the cars that sell for nosebleed numbers today. The guys who truly love these cars were rewarded long after they decided to keep their cars in good shape.

The point of this is to show you that enthusiasm is what will preserve these cars, not the desire to make money. And frankly, that is how it should be.
 

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1994 S600 Coupe, 1995 S600 Coupe
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Please don’t confuse your investment in a car, any car, with your enjoyment of it/them.

Imagine this conversation being had circa 1965, when 1950’s era MB gullwings and 300SL roadsters were going for literally a few hundred dollars. It was the enthusiasts of the day that preserved the cars that sell for nosebleed numbers today. The guys who truly love these cars were rewarded long after they decided to keep their cars in good shape.

The point of this is to show you that enthusiasm is what will preserve these cars, not the desire to make money. And frankly, that is how it should be.
Amen to that. I've restored one car, a Porsche 914/6, to concours winning condition, and it took years and megabucks. Every single part was disassembled, cleaned and repainted, replated or replaced with new parts to as new condition. Never again, as we could never really enjoy the car for fear of lowering its value or just getting it dirty. That was a relatively simple car; I can't even imagine doing that to a W140.

In contrast, my two S600 coupes were restored as excellent drivers to a high standard. I'm not afraid to drive them anywhere, everything works, and I've done updating and tasteful, reversible mods without fear of lowering value. I can truly enjoy the cars. Are they perfect? No, but I haven't spent the megabucks to get them that way either. Concours perfection would cost at least an order of magnitude more money. Are there things that I'd like to improve? Yes, but I can wait on good deals to come along and I can live with what I've got until then. I clean as I go, but I don't go nuts. I'm fortunate that I can do most everything myself, as there is no other way I could afford to do it. I'm having fun with these two cars, a lot more than I ever did after restoring the Porsche.



Jon
 
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