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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Discussion Starter #1
Is it me or has the market tanked in the last year on 126's... particularly the SEL's? I have seen quite a few farily nice SEL's on ebay going for peanuts -barely making it over the 3k mark- depressing since I'm going to be selling my SEL soon and concentrating on my new SEC.

Even the super cherry ones seem to be having a hard time getting what they deserve. Perhaps the gas prices have something to do with it. But honestly when I see a Cadillac from the same era going for the same money it really annoys the hell out of me.

Do you guys think our cars are going to start appreciating anytime soon? I cant imagine the prices going any lower.
 

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1990 SEC
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I would think that for anyone looking for a car in the price range where we find our w126s these days that fuel costs would definitely be an issue.

However, that would suggest that diesels should hold up better than the gasoline cars. Do the prices support that scenario? :confused:
 

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1983 Euro 500SEC AMG, 83 SEC custom convertible, 2x 84 500SEC, 02 w203coupe, euro 1985 300d
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1,579 Posts
yes--craigslist in my area have regular daily postings for WTB 300sd and 300d --on ebay they have regularly sold in decent condition between 3-5k today i found another 500sel for 500.00---it is sad
 

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It's been slow lately, and gas is a killer...hence the appreciation in value of the 350SDL lately!

But I put my cherry Euro SEL on ebay last week, and bidding went to $2500. Gulp.

Put it up again last Thursday, and guy drove out from NY to see it, took it for a drive, and wrote a check for asking price on the spot. The car was worth every penny.

So sometimes it happens, even when ebay looks lousy. I sell a lot of cars on ebay just by people seeing them, then calling, emailing, visiting, etc. Ebay can be like an advertisement as much as an actual auction.
 

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Mercedes 420 SEL
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Yeah, I think prices are tanking on them big time...not that they were all that expensive to begin with.

I thought I bought mine for a pretty good deal, $4250. I was both ecstatic and a bit dissapointed at the condition. However, after cleaning it up with Leatherique and using a clay bar, polisher, and pinnacle wax, I'm not disappointed at all. The car is beautiful. It did clean up well.

I showed my friend the 560sel in Texas from the guy whose daughter didn't want it. Thats a magnificent example with all the work done for $6000!!! He still wanted the diesel. I thought for a couple grand more you get the diesel--and that buys a lot of gas. But he wanted the diesel.

I bought the 420 instead of the 560 because of the gas mileage, too. A bit better, and just as nice. I averaged 23 mpg on my cross country trip. don't have one for city, but it will probably be around 15-18 mpg.


So yeah, I think gas prices have a lot to do with it.
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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Even older diesel will command a premium.
While nothing to write home about, the coupes seem to hold their value better than the sedans.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1991 560SEC AMG
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10,146 Posts
People don't like it that $20 will barely move the needle on the gas gauge, these days, so prices for the cars are low. It's really a buyers market.

The interest in alternative fuels and the glimmering promise of getting biodiesel or alternative fuel for "Free" (almost!!!) keeps the price for the diesels respectably high, on the other hand.

Since my car was purchased just a few years old, it cost so much then and I lost so much money on it, that any further depreciation wouldn't bother me...I feel the prices have nowhere to go but up.

No one should buy the W126ers as an investment; they are to drive and enjoy, damn the Datsuns and full speed ahead!!
 

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You can buy a lot of W126 for under 10K these days. Not so much in a diesel (especially the six cylinders), but definitely in a gasser.

I think people are afraid of maintaining these cars. Things can and will break. Bills can exceed 1K dollars routinely at their age. The average person is not a DIY'er. Non DIY'ers have to rely on Mercedes dealers and their servicing costs about the same or more than the newer models. And the MB techs are ALWAYS rushed for time and, from what I've heard, forced to cut corners.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Discussion Starter #9
DslBnz said:
You can buy a lot of W126 for under 10K these days. Not so much in a diesel (especially the six cylinders), but definitely in a gasser.

I think people are afraid of maintaining these cars. Things can and will break. Bills can exceed 1K dollars routinely at their age. The average person is not a DIY'er. Non DIY'ers have to rely on Mercedes dealers and their servicing costs about the same or more than the newer models. And the MB techs are ALWAYS rushed for time and, from what I've heard, forced to cut corners.

Well, I figured out that IF you buy a nicely maintained 126 (that doesnt need major work) at the current low prices plus add the average maintance cost of say $1.2k per year and amortize these costs over 24 months, you can drive a world-class, high- end automobile for less than what an average NEW car payment would be on a lower-end Toyota, Honda, Chevy, etc.. Then you can always sell it in two years and hopefully get half your money back which means your ownership costs go even lower.
Of course if you buy one that needs lots of work then this equation doesn't make sense and I think this is where a lot of people get stung.
 

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1989 500SL (R129);2001 R170 230SLK; 1992 320CE
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graftdesign said:
Well, I figured out that IF you buy a nicely maintained 126 (that doesnt need major work) at the current low prices plus add the average maintance cost of say $1.2k per year and amortize these costs over 24 months, you can drive a world-class, high- end automobile for less than what an average NEW car payment would be on a lower-end Toyota, Honda, Chevy, etc.. Then you can always sell it in two years and hopefully get half your money back which means your ownership costs go even lower.
Of course if you buy one that needs lots of work then this equation doesn't make sense and I think this is where a lot of people get stung.
Imagine what it`s like in a country where gas costs over $9.00 per gallon (imp)?

Big (and old) V8s are not high on most buyers lists. I have been eyeing an 1988 560SEL with all records and 47,000 miles from new which has been on the market for over a year! I genuinely do not think there is anything wrong with the car but unless you are into these cars I think they are a frightening proposition. However, as you say if you get a sorted car they represent a brilliant way to enjoy champagne motoring on a beer budget.

Sadly, unless mint and low mileage, I cannot see the W126 ever really going up in value but a market in them will continue for years to come albeit at the lower end of the price range.
 

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i'd have to say the automitive industry currently doesn't help us at all. they want money. the only way to make more money is make new cars and sell them. they want to make hybrids and things that are better for the enviroment and whatnot, yet producing more cars is just a contradiction. i like the fact that people are getting to be more aware of protecting our planet, however every action has a reaction. they want to convince people to buy new cars and practically make last years model obsolete. people would muck rather be in debt for a decade and have a new car. not too many people want to buy an older, gas guzzling, expensive-to-maintain, and attention hungry mercedes. the people who truley appreciate these cars will stick around and find a way to deal with the shortcomings. the people who own them just because it's what they could afford will buy a new car in a heartbeat as soon as they can fit it in thier budget. i bought my 500SEL for $2000 with every intention of keeping it. that's why i'm not affraid to pour gobs of money into it knowing i'll never get it back. yeah, i might buy something for general commuting someday, but i have no intention of selling the MB. you have to stay in the right mindset with these cars. it's certainly no investment like things have been in the past. if your buying one, plan on keeping it. find the cleanest one possible, cause they sure as hell aren't going to appreciate anytime soon.
 

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1990 W126 300SE - High Mileage Award
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SSL said:
Big (and old) V8s are not high on most buyers lists.
Yes, but the folks with enough bankroll to support their "petrolium addiction" as our ever-eloquent President likes to call it want exactly that, and lots of it! I've been building custom sports cars for a long time, and the market hasn't really gone up THAT much on that end of the financial spectrum. However, the market in general for VERY expensive, large, and powerful machines continues to grow as the rich feel more empowered, and as the gap between rich and poor makes itself known on the American street. Period-correct musclecars and high-lux exotics continue to sell at record prices, and in staggering numbers. For those who can afford it, there has not been a time greater than now to flaunt your style and means in an automobile since the 1920's in this country.

Well, I'm off to buy some beer and lottery tickets.
 

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'90 300 CE, '91 560 SEC, (R.I.P.) '82 300SD (sold)
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I truly don't understand why the diesels are bringing more than the gas ones. My 300SD, while a nice car on the Interstate, couldn't get out of its own way in town. It got around 22mpg in town and my SEC gets around 14mpg in town. However, around here diesel fuel is more expensive than premium gas, so its not much more economical to own the SD/SDLs over the SE/SEL/SECs. It really used to piss me off paying more than premium every time I filled it up. It takes a lot less refining (money) to make diesel fuel than it does gas.
 

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1973 450SL 2004 E320 4Matic Wagon 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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Right on the button

graftdesign said:
Well, I figured out that IF you buy a nicely maintained 126 (that doesnt need major work) at the current low prices plus add the average maintance cost of say $1.2k per year and amortize these costs over 24 months, you can drive a world-class, high- end automobile for less than what an average NEW car payment would be on a lower-end Toyota, Honda, Chevy, etc.. Then you can always sell it in two years and hopefully get half your money back which means your ownership costs go even lower.
Of course if you buy one that needs lots of work then this equation doesn't make sense and I think this is where a lot of people get stung.
That was exactly what drove my decision to buy mine. I needed to dump my other half's PT Cruiser which was up near 100k miles and we decided to take a shot at the 91 420 SEL. Swapped my '02 Cruiser for it at a dealer in Ohio. I had some preventive maintenance done when I brought it home and have now put about 5,000 miles on it and enjoy every mile we drive it. Our Jeep Commander sits in the garage because we would rather drive this one. Of course, now that the weather is nice, the 450SL will get a few of those miles.
 

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1989 500SL (R129);2001 R170 230SLK; 1992 320CE
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smack said:
That was exactly what drove my decision to buy mine. I needed to dump my other half's PT Cruiser which was up near 100k miles and we decided to take a shot at the 91 420 SEL. Swapped my '02 Cruiser for it at a dealer in Ohio. I had some preventive maintenance done when I brought it home and have now put about 5,000 miles on it and enjoy every mile we drive it. Our Jeep Commander sits in the garage because we would rather drive this one. Of course, now that the weather is nice, the 450SL will get a few of those miles.
I agree and intend never to buy another new car ever. I am on my third W140 a 500L which I bought eighteen months ago. It cost one tenth of a new S500 (W221) and I have put 35,000 miles on it. If I sold it today I would get half what I paid for it.....50% depreciation in 18 months but 50% of a relatively small sum.
If I had bought a new S Class with that mileage in that time I would have lost 30% easily...something like $48,000. It`s a no-brainer really and whilst the W221 is something of a return to form is it really that much better than a W126 or W140?

I just count myself lucky that these cars are so cheap to buy yet are so extraordinarily good
 

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1990 Mecedes-Benz 420SEL
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smack said:
I had some preventive maintenance done when I brought it home and have now put about 5,000 miles on it and enjoy every mile we drive it. Our Jeep Commander sits in the garage because we would rather drive this one.

Exactly, smack. Let's face it, if you drive a new "fuel-efficient car" but don't enjoy it, you pay 2 costs: 1. boredom, and 2. $ for depreciation. I was at a Lexus dealer the other day and an honest salesman told me the depreciation on the hybrids is 2X the gasoline-powered cars... no one knows what will happen down the road when they need a new $10,000 battery pack!

If you enjoy the drive, isn't that worth something? I'm old enough to have seen a couple of these mileage-conscious cycles, and we will see the love of the big luxurious car again.

Dave
 

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1991 350SDL 2004 G500
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NüR-SPEC said:
i bought my 500SEL for $2000 with every intention of keeping it. that's why i'm not affraid to pour gobs of money into it knowing i'll never get it back. yeah, i might buy something for general commuting someday, but i have no intention of selling the MB. you have to stay in the right mindset with these cars. it's certainly no investment like things have been in the past. if your buying one, plan on keeping it. find the cleanest one possible, cause they sure as hell aren't going to appreciate anytime soon.
I also agree with this. The way I look at it, every year I put a little bit of money into keeping/makeing my car brand new again and its a car that i'd rather have them some crappy honda chev etc etc. For example, last year I had my wheels redone, this year is the long overdue Eurolight/wiper installation and a new hood pad. Next year might be a repaint of my bumbers with new chrome strips. People never believe me when they say how good my car looks and I tell them that its at 225,000 and still running like a dream.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Discussion Starter #18
Well guys, I think there's a common thread here on why we drive what we drive. Simply put, dollar for dollar, theres not a better car you can drive for the money... or at least I cant think of one. The 126 is a sleeper and the best kept secret in the used car market. I dont know about eveyone else, but the gas guzzler issue was never an issue. Big deal, I have to spend an extra 30 bucks a week over what I would spend on a more fuel efficient new model. Compared to the burden of a car payment its not an issue. Most people make irrational decisions when it comes to cars. Its an emotional purchase in most cases. A good example of this is the new crop of hybrids... the pay back in gas savings just isnt there if you look at it logically and what it costs to buy one. They just dont sell enough of them to bring the prices down to where it makes sense IMO. I went the new car payment route a few years back and hated it after the first six months. Financialy and emotionaly it never made sense to me... but I did it because... well because thats what most of America does and I could afford it Theres better ways to spend your money. Never again. Theres something really comforting about NOT having car payments,driving a car that still turns heads and gives a reasonable amount of driving satisfaction for pennies on the dollar. I guesss that would qualify all of us as just being prudent and smart! This topic illustrates very clearly why we are 126 fans. Good to know I'm not the only non-conformist.
 

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1993 300SEL (Sold) 2007 X5
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brucemendel said:
It's been slow lately, and gas is a killer...hence the appreciation in value of the 350SDL lately!

But I put my cherry Euro SEL on ebay last week, and bidding went to $2500. Gulp.

Put it up again last Thursday, and guy drove out from NY to see it, took it for a drive, and wrote a check for asking price on the spot. The car was worth every penny.

So sometimes it happens, even when ebay looks lousy. I sell a lot of cars on ebay just by people seeing them, then calling, emailing, visiting, etc. Ebay can be like an advertisement as much as an actual auction.
Its like anything though, you have to match your product with the buyers, I don't think the market is dead it's just flooded with crap. I'd think that alot of people who are comming back to the W126 are older men 40+ and I'm not too sure if demographicly they're that well represented on Ebay.
 

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1982 380SE AMG euro(parted out),1983 300SD "Good Girl", 1984 500SEL AMG euro "Bad Girl"
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graftdesign said:
Well guys, I think there's a common thread here on why we drive what we drive. Simply put, dollar for dollar, theres not a better car you can drive for the money... or at least I cant think of one. The 126 is a sleeper and the best kept secret in the used car market. I dont know about eveyone else, but the gas guzzler issue was never an issue. Big deal, I have to spend an extra 30 bucks a week over what I would spend on a more fuel efficient new model. Compared to the burden of a car payment its not an issue. Most people make irrational decisions when it comes to cars. Its an emotional purchase in most cases. A good example of this is the new crop of hybrids... the pay back in gas savings just isnt there if you look at it logically and what it costs to buy one. They just dont sell enough of them to bring the prices down to where it makes sense IMO. I went the new car payment route a few years back and hated it after the first six months. Financialy and emotionaly it never made sense to me... but I did it because... well because thats what most of America does and I could afford it Theres better ways to spend your money. Never again. Theres something really comforting about NOT having car payments,driving a car that still turns heads and gives a reasonable amount of driving satisfaction for pennies on the dollar. I guesss that would qualify all of us as just being prudent and smart! This topic illustrates very clearly why we are 126 fans. Good to know I'm not the only non-conformist.
Bingo!!!
 
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