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1987 560SL
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Second day of ownership of a 1987 560SL with 78K, pristine condition. Bought it from an older couple who have had it serviced at a Merc' dealer it's entire life. Got it for way less than 10K. I've driven a 94' S320 for about a month before and just loved the build and road handling. But my experience for the last ten years has been strictly Fiats, owned 7 or 8 Spiders and X1/9's and still have one each that I will keep. But this little roadster is something entirely different. The build and feel is unlike any other car I've ever driven. I couldn't imagine going for a Japanese car, which I was tempted, for a similar price, there's just no comparison. The V8 is peppy and it has a growl to it. Midrange acceleration is great, body roll is not too pronounced. The overall experience is very comfortable and relaxed. Makes you want to take the long way home. It's a gawker, which is really the only downside. I have the hard top installed and it's quiet and isolated, acts just like a coupe. This is a fantastically well built and purposeful car. Solid, dependable, I'll keep this one.
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Midrange acceleration is great, body roll is not too pronounced.
If the older couple didn't have the suspension rubber replaced, you might want to consider it. It transforms the car. You still get the smooth, comfortable ride, but it also carves corners pretty good. Damned good for 2 tons of steel. If you do the suspension, do yourself a favor and have Bilstien HD shocks put on all four corners. Then it really handles.
 

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1989 560SEC
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153 Posts
i had the 4 hd shocks and the ride was fine for a cross country drive, but too harsh for a daily driver so i went back to comfort shocks. it'd be great to have the cornering capabilities of the hd, but overall i'm happy with the comfort performance. just personal preference.
 

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87 560SL
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292 Posts
Old Fiats are really cool (the 850 spyder is probably one of the prettiest cars ever) but this is a different world. The thing that was very hard to get used to is actually letting this smooth riding, softly sprung car fly through the curves. All your subconscious instincts tell you it will float.... but it hangs on just fine.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1979 280sl 4 sp w/ac 1957 MGA 1998 volvo xc/70 2004 F150
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6,050 Posts
I too liked the 850 spider but talk about a rust prone car
 

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63 300SL, 82 380SL, 97 320SL, 08 350ML, 77HD-FXE, 91HD-FLSTF, 97HD-FLSTS
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4 Posts
My 69 850 Spyder was my first rag top. Welcome to the Benz World of real roadsters.
 

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1974 450sl 1994 bmw 530i 1995 f150 2007 FJCruiser trd se
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41 Posts
No Japanese cars eh? Ever driven a Honda S2000 ?
 

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1987 560SL
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Well.....

I have spent some time driving an S2000, those things are incredible. Dare I say it, but I'd consider trading this Benz for one. Modern reliability in a super high revving package.

Then again there is the Nissan GTR, the ultimate Japanese supercar that rivals anything from Porsche or Ferrari, or Lambo, for a mere 80K. It's truly an astounding, and completely reliable ride.

I had many chances to buy 850's but my mechanic, who's been working on Fiats for 40 years, threatened to fire me as a customer if I did. He hated them and was convinced they were true death-traps, and they could be for an unfortunate few. Those things can, and have on many occassions, literally break in half whilst tooling down the road. Frame rot. Many Fiats even arrived on the boat rusted, common occurrence.

Here's the story. Back in the early 70's Fiat traded there old car tooling lines for millions of tons of Russion iron ore to the Communist government. There are many Russian made cars still made today that use the Fiat tooling. The Yugo was mechanically almost identical to the Fiat 128, and parts are commonly swapped. The ore was terribly rust prone and that's why the cars rusted so easily. It's not a myth, it's documented by several researches into Fiat history. None of the other marques Fiat owned, like Alfa, Lancia, Maserati, and even Ferrari, were made with this iron. Alfa Spiders can have frame disease quite on their own, no help from rust needed, they sell braces for them, they're just flexy flyers, but beatiful cars.

I'm definitely a Benz fan. I will use Benz for open road, long trip luxury, and still going to get that Ferrari for the ultimate sports experience. This SL has already changed my views whereas before I was looking pretty hard at Lexus.
 

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'80 450SLC Afro RHD Ikonengold
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2,900 Posts
Fiat cars rusted due to total lack of rust protection and poor water drain systems. Same as Alfa's and Lancia's, no difference. Most of these poorly built but great design cars were reduced to rust over as little as 20 years irrespective if they were in Iraq or Sweden.
As much as I like japanese for their engines that spin like tern, IMO there's only one japanese roadster that has spirit, soul and timeless look: replica of a Lotus Elan in the shape of Mazda MX5. On the other hand we are yet to see if there will be one Italian design roadster that is not an instant classic.
German school is totally different, with less italian "adrenalin look" and more "massive lounge accelerator" design. Different from Italian but certainly not better or worse. Mercedes has a design policy that the new model is by no means to make previous generation of cars design obsolete. Not a policy in the lands of the rising Sun. It makes every Mercedes timeless as time goes by, and decades later, who cares what was 0-100 time.
A tough question for ricers is to name a classic japanese roadster that 30yrs later is still object of a desire.... of many a men. What good is a performance of a car that becomes obsolete in design and becomes forgoten the moment the new model comes out?

My perception of Asian cars compared to the European is as comparison of a Van Gogh painting to a 100000mega pixel photography. One can give you excellent colour range and ballance + great detail where other one is masterpiece made by a colour blind person.
But we need both.

And please be carefull with Yugo (Fiat 127), my wife comes from town where those were assembled and my inlaws were employees there. Far from Soviet block, 150km.
 

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1987 560SL
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Rust Protection

I must respectfully disagree. I know my Fiat history in excruciating detail, as well as that of Italian cars in general Fiat DID have rust protection plans and the protected cars vs the unprotected cars showed little difference in the overall propensity to rust, ergo, the bad ore. You can rust protect something forged from highly porous ore and it will still rust badly. Further, Lancias and Alfas did not exhibit this same overall propensity to rust. I've seen Alfas sitting next to Fiats in junkyards and the difference is noticeable with respect to the deterioration of the Fiat. Also, California Fiats have generally lived longer lives due to the climate, and shorter lives in the South.

Pininfarina is really at the bottom of all of this with the designs, Bertone too. The two most popular Fiats in America were the X1/9 and the Spider. The Spider was a Pininfarina while the angular X1/9 was a Bertone design.
 

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'80 450SLC Afro RHD Ikonengold
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2,900 Posts
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

That's ok, disrespectfull disagreeing is a mere quarel,.
I'll just say that my experience of Fiat cars in former Yugoslavia is somewhat different. Do not want to go deeper into OT.
 

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1987 560SL
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
????

What do you mean 'be careful' with Yugo? Sir this is a public forum and I have no bounds other than the bounds of decency, which I will gladly observer, and with respect to you. I will exercise exactly the "careful" I deem appropriate.

But if you will kindly observe, I said nothing negative about Yugo. In case you haven't picked up on it I'm a big fan of Fiat and have owned many. The Yugo mechanicals are very much interchangeable with the X1/9, as I pointed out.
 

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1987 560SL
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Nissan GTR

I'd be interested in driving impressions of the GTR. It will chew up and spit out just about anything on the road, Ferrari's included. How does in compare to our beloved Benz's in overal road feel? If you don't mind commenting, it would be appreciated. To me the GTR is the ultimate sleeper. To all the world it's just another piece of Japanese car, but it's a truly devastating car in the right hands, and from all I've read it doesn't demand much of the driver, unlike Ferraris which require you to accept them on their own terms. I'd love to own one, almost as much as a Ferrari.
 

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1984 380SL
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2,329 Posts
I read once that the Yugo was just an excuse to get an assembly line going and maybe earn some foreign exhange, on the part of the gov't. Then as soon as things were ready they switched over to making tanks for the army which is what they wanted all along. No more Yugo. Any truth to that, Marquis?
 
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