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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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2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Having put enough miles on my completely rebuilt 1992 600SEL to report on the differences between an early build w140, versus a late build 1999 w140 that I've had for a number of years now, the verdict is in.

The 1992 is the better car. Performance-wise, the car is faster and seems more nimble than the 1999. Gas mileage is not as good, probably due to the newness of the rebuilt motor.

The radio is better. Better sound quality, better features on the head unit, 10-cd changer vs 6.

The car is more 'solid' if that can be the case with an already extremely solid car of any variation. There are no creaks or groans with the 1992, where with the 1999, I have what I call 'err-err's', or minor squeaks and rubbing sounds.

The 1992 has 153,000 miles on the clock, but has been given a complete makeover (see threads on Mallorie), whereas the 1999 came to me in collector condition, but was fully refurbished as needed.

1992 600SEL


1999 S600
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 300E, 179K, stock, daily driver
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Having only experience with the 1993 500SEL I still would have thought the early models were better... Although one must truly try both out and buy a facelift and pre-facelift to really see the difference.

Can you tell me how the ML55 AMG is treating you? It's like 1/5 of the cost of a W140 S600 or 600SEL.
 

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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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2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The ML55 is not even a car, it's a very good truck. For what it is, it's really good. When I go sporting clays with the guys, I can load three others and all our gear in the truck, travel over dusty dirt roads with no trouble, or load the dogs in it for a day on the farm with them, or drive through the snow with its excellent 4-wheel drive...

Two completely different, yet thoroughly enjoyable, automobiles.
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 300E, 179K, stock, daily driver
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1,689 Posts
The ML55 is not even a car, it's a very good truck. For what it is, it's really good. When I go sporting clays with the guys, I can load three others and all our gear in the truck, travel over dusty dirt roads with no trouble, or load the dogs in it for a day on the farm with them, or drive through the snow with its excellent 4-wheel drive...

Two completely different, yet thoroughly enjoyable, automobiles.
I see don't you feel a big difference with the quality of the ML 55AMG and the W140? How is the other '92 600SEL project going? Where do all the parts come from?
 

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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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2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
ML55 vs W140? As stated above, two different vehicles, for two completely different uses. Yes, the build quality of the ML55 is no comparison to the W140, but then again, you don't need that kind of quality in a truck. You don't want that kind of quality in a truck. But as a truck, the ML55 does a great job. And it is put together very well. The materials aren't as plush, the features aren't as long a list, but it is still terrific for what it is.

Meanwhile, my second 1992 600SEL restoration is underway. I get my parts through a variety of sources, a judicious combination of new parts and used parts and rebuilt parts.
 

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3phase-4pole
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4,884 Posts
this reinforces my belief that the pre models are solidly built. I havent the chance to compare model to model as I only had a 93 300SE and a 95 S600. In my opinion the 93 is a lot more quiet, less cabin noise and no creaking when diagonally going up an incline. I always attributed it to being a LWB but it seems its not.

Stryker - post a couple of profile pics of each car on the first post. I like looking at your cars
 

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1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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1997 S500 Coupe & 1994 S500 Coupe
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Hey Stryker, I have two questions for you.

Have you had a 92 or 93 coupe in possession or ever driven one? How do they compare to the later coupes?

I've always loved the build quality in the early models vs later, one reason why it's so quiet compared to later models was when I discovered the padding/insulation. In the 93 I removed the triangle next to mirror and there was an inch worth of foam padding which was very heavy and obviously great and insulation whereas the later models had a 1cm thick composite padding which was very flimsy and obviously not good at insulation.

2nd question, you said the stock stereo and audio system in the earlier models was nicer and better to listen to? Don't get a sense it looks outdated?

I want to buy my dad a collector quality W140 and he has liked the earlier models more than the post facelift models. And myself, I want a 99 CL600 due to the side airbags, the ac and stereo system, and parktronic. Just wish it had the leather like the earlier models.
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 300E, 179K, stock, daily driver
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I want to buy my dad a collector quality W140 and he has liked the earlier models more than the post facelift models. And myself, I want a 99 CL600 due to the side airbags, the ac and stereo system, and parktronic. Just wish it had the leather like the earlier models.
Doesn't anything W140/C140 97+ come with standard side air bags?
 

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1997 S500 Coupe & 1994 S500 Coupe
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849 Posts
Yes, just listing the reasons I want a 99 though, pre 97 didn't have those features, plus the 99 has a different garage opener and I'm guessing few more issues were sorted out from the 97. 97 is fine, just want the word "CL" to be there. Right now I'm on the lookout for a low mileage CL600 with black interior with wooden steering wheel and silver or black exterior, with parktronic and rear sunshade, power mirrors, and everything else stock, hopefully 1 owner or 2 max. It's hard to find one with the rear sunshade and power mirrors options frankly... Or even better, a euro spec coupe 97+ with same colors.
 

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As always, Stryker's cars are something to aspire to, and a joy to behold..
How much of the difference in performance and solid, rattle free drive do you attribute to the difference between the freshly- built '92 and the 14 year old assembly of the '99?
How do you compare the '92's interior with the 2 tone "nappa" leather and suede headliner of the later car?
I love both pre and post facelift models, sorta like comparing Brigitte Bardot to Claudia Cardinale- both beautiful and incredibly desirable :)
 

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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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2,425 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
It is a true privilege to drive any W140, and I have been truly lucky to have the collection of them that I do.

Frankly, I get the most satisfaction from driving my fully restored 1992 600SEL. I got the car for free from someone who was thinking they could restore it but realized they couldn't. I took someone else's garbage and cobbled something that is akin to a work of art. I used a combination of new and used and re manufactured parts. I used crafts from a variety of resources: mechanics, painters, body and fender guys, interior specialists, welders, and a lot of sweat working on it myself. I didn't skimp on anything. It took me about three years to accomplish, but it was fun doing it. I met some fun and knowledgeable people along the way.

If you have the desire to ever do something like this, you know what I am writing about. To complete it gives great satisfaction. I would encourage anyone with the time, patience and resources to do it. Just do it!
 

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Euro spec '92 600SEL (sold), '93 500E (sold), '98 S600, '06 SL600
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I'm resurrecting a year old thread but I +1 Stryker's original post. Found this thread when searching to see if anyone else has experienced the same thing. The early model 600s are way quieter and more spirited to drive; however, I waffle back and forth about whether I like the growl you hear in the cabin of the late model 600s upon acceleration that you don't hear in the early model 600s.
 

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1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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925 Posts
I do like the growl I hear when I floor it. Best experience of any car I have ever driven. It is a totally different sound than what you hear with the S500.
 

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MY96 S500 & MY96 S600
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3,196 Posts
I've only ever seen one early W140 up close, a 300SE. It seemed everywhere I looked, felt and listened was an improvement over the later models. The M104 looked very handsome without that crossover intake pipe cutting through the valve cover, and it even has a float gauge at the front for the window washer bottle.
 

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95 S320 - Polar white; 95 S600 - Black Pearl
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294 Posts
ML55 vs W140? As stated above, two different vehicles, for two completely different uses. Yes, the build quality of the ML55 is no comparison to the W140, but then again, you don't need that kind of quality in a truck. You don't want that kind of quality in a truck. But as a truck, the ML55 does a great job. And it is put together very well. The materials aren't as plush, the features aren't as long a list, but it is still terrific for what it is.

Meanwhile, my second 1992 600SEL restoration is underway. I get my parts through a variety of sources, a judicious combination of new parts and used parts and rebuilt parts.
Stryker:

Could you answer a question that has been bugging me. The rear radio antenna on your 1999 appears to extend farther than the one on your 1993. Is this the case or is it an optical illusion? I have both a 95 S320 (antenna in the rear bumper) and a 95 S600 with a short antenna extension. Just wondering.....

BTW my 95 S600 is MUCH quieter than my 95 S320.
 

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93 190e 2.6
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397 Posts
I once drove a Grand Edition so ofcourse it was a 99. I still like my 91 w140 better and its awesome to know I got one of the earliest w140's.
 

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M120, M119, W126*2 + Silver Avantgarde wagon
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I am certainly enjoying my M120, which is a 1998.

One thing I ponder, if you listen very carefully the engine noise at times sounds quite high pitched somehow. Hmmn.

Other than that, it is wonderful. Still, I would like to get an M120 C140 next and do wonder about the early years. I'd say 1998/99 would be the conservative way to go...

But 1994 might be the greatest?

Actually though, come to think of it I drove a 1994 C140 M120 and I was not impressed. Not as good a car as my 98 / 99. But it may have been a one off.
 

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MY96 S500 & MY96 S600
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There's a lot going on in a V12 hence the high pitched sound at times, an octave higher than a 6. Underneath the low growl of the V8 is a pitch sound higher than a 6 for the same RPM, but it can be hard to hear at times.
 
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