Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
'07 S600, '00 E320 Wagon, other
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The more I learn about R129 the more I like them and I think those are some of the best cars Mercedes ever built.

So why are they so cheap? I beaten up car can be had for about $2500, $10,000 buys a nice one.

A reasonable SL600 can be found in the $10-$20k range and it is a low volume supercar. A used Pagani with exactly the same engine will be a few hundred thousand (up to millions if AMG tuned). A Porsche 993 of the same vintage will be 4 times that expensive, more fun but less comfort, less safety and it's also a pain to work on.

Do you see them already moving up in price into desirable, collectable category or do we need to wait longer? Or are they destined to be just "old used cars"? thx
 

·
Registered
2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
Joined
·
4,994 Posts
Same reason, I gather, why other M-B's are so inexpensive--the reputation for expensive maintenance You oughta also look at the W220 sedans if you want to see some serious depreciation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,344 Posts
I have a theory that it's because they all suffer the same cancer - an automatic soft top that is either a) broken, or b) about to break. All valuable Mercedes convertibles have a manual top. All automatic top Mercedes convertibles have a depressed market value. Not coincidence I think.

Of course some 129 models suffer multiple cancers, without naming names.
 

·
Moderator
93 SL500, 95 SL320, 96 S320, 98 S500, 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon & A little 91 5.0 FORD Mustang
Joined
·
8,250 Posts
George,

With any of these cars(no matter the engine) do not get one with the coffee/caramel/blue interior as they are obsolete-cannot buy interior parts in those colors.

With the 600's understand the "fan" on the clutch fan is no long made either, and for some funny reason I've replaced two. They crack on the M120's. They are made of magnesium. 93-95 M120 engine cars the MAF harness fails, and it is no longer made. The injector harness can be rebuilt, but a limited supply exist on those. By now most M120 cars (W140 too) will need the vacuum plumbing replaced under the intake as the plastic elbows crack-open, so one has to take the intake manifold, so you will need a intake manifold gasket set, but wait... You are "dam if you don't, and dam if you do" with the four knock sensors under the intake on the heads, so wise to spend the $800 or so on new knock sensors....

No aftermarket parts, so you tear a bumper cover you will pay dearly. Radiator will cost a mint too. One has to get the top hydraulic cylinder rams rebuilt because replacing them all may cost you $8k to $10k for new ones and they are good for 15 to 20 years...

You got to pay to play R129..

Watch out for those with mechanical injection cars-hard to fix. I would never get anything less than a 94(nothing with a mechanical odometer), but i would really stay with 97 and above, but now you run the risk of not getting key-fobs from the dealer, so get a car with the two key fobs ...

Martin
 

·
Registered
2000 SL320, 2001 CLK320
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
They are so cheap because they made too many of them over a long period of time - 250 000 units or so.

But considering they were virtually hand made and if one finds a well maintained model in good overall condition then you have one of the best made vehicles that Mercedes ever built and certainly one of the safest sports cars.

Lastly any vehicle is as good as how the various owners drove them - I would imagine that it is now becoming more and more difficult to find the diamonds in the rough:wink
 

·
Registered
1996 SL500, 2000 E430
Joined
·
3,918 Posts
Supply and demand - that is simple. More on the market than people want so price point goes down to make demand.

Trying to predict what they will do in the future is a fools errand - I suspect like the R107 in 15-20 years good ones will be going up but you won't retire on the proceeds.

I have both spent lot on shops and done a lot of my own work - but I would trust this car at 21 years old and 185,000 miles to take me anywhere with a minimum of fanfare.
 

·
Registered
w140 300SEL 1992, w124 500E 1991, w124 300td Turbo 1992, r129 500SL 1994
Joined
·
264 Posts
The more I learn about R129 the more I like them and I think those are some of the best cars Mercedes ever built.

So why are they so cheap? I beaten up car can be had for about $2500, $10,000 buys a nice one.
Do you plan to buy one?
These are not "rare" cars as much as some w124-500E can be, so I would say that speculating on a w129 is not a wise option. Despite that, I fully agree with what you say about these being some of the best cars ever made by MB. In that perspective, buying a w129 for driving experience and pleasure is definitely a perfect option!

Market supply and demand balance explains the (yo-yo) price, and once again I fully agree with you, they are cheap. Reason is (IMHO) they are just becoming yougtimers, but the w107 version is now becoming much more appreciated than ever, eclipsing a little bit its young daughter. I bet in 10 years or less, the cursor on the love-scale of the w129 will be much higher. Another reason is that, when they are cheap to buy, that is because they will be expensive to maitain in perfect condition. Spare parts are horribly expensive (I purchased a couple of them, you need to plan a reasonnable amount of USD), and except if you DIY on the car, very few mechanics will have knowledge to service/fix the car, the ones being able to do it will charge you heavy working hours.

Happy to welcome you in a near future onboard the w129 section.

Jean-Louis
 

·
Registered
2010 SL63 AMG, 2001 SL500, 2012 Corvette Z06, 2013 Lexus RX350, 2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe, 2015 Ram
Joined
·
490 Posts
Depends somewhat on your location. Nice ones aren't that cheap around here. They were very expensive new, due to currency exchange rates at the time, so were not as common as in other places. But there are factors that lower their price. There is the perceived anticipated high cost of maintenance. I say "perceived", because in my experience, my 2001 has been very reliable. And when I have made repairs, I found that parts are no more expensive and no less available than they are for other cars. And this car is easy to work on.

We also have some SLs on the roads here that are real worn out crap, because the young guys ship old used cars incredibly cheap from Japan. Canada has a rule that allows cars older than 15 years to be imported without having to meet all the latest Canadian requirements for safety, emissions, etc. Meanwhile I believe Japan has a system whereby annual car registration/license fees increase significantly each year the car gets older, so they are incented to dump them cheap. Some people have asked me if my pristine 2001 SL500 "is Japanese". I chuckle and tell them "no, it is German" (Mine was originally sold new in California). But I know what they mean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,344 Posts
Supply and demand - that is simple. More on the market than people want so price point goes down to make demand.
The supply of cars exceeds the supply of DIYers who are willing and able to work on them. It's just not a practical car if you're paying market rates to maintain and repair them. If you are a DIYer and engaged in the process some of them, not all, can be very good cars, even quite practical to own.
 

·
Registered
'96 SL500
Joined
·
616 Posts
You should see the look on people's faces when I tell them that the price tag new on my car was nearly $95,000. I'm sure you all have had similar experiences.
 

·
Premium Member
97 E-420 (180K miles), 97 SL500, (93K miles) 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD CC/SB/4x4 Duramax(55K)
Joined
·
4,277 Posts
way to many are mutiple owner, road hard put away wet. Somewhere down the line someone picked one up and thought they would not need to spend any money keeping a 10-20 year old car running, and once it got into repairs, they pawned it on someone else and down the line.

When we looked for ours 90% fell into that category. We kept looking till we found a one owner (well passed down from dad to daughter) with full service records since day one from someone who kept cars in good running condition. So, yes we paid more for it, 8500 a few years ago, but troublefree, no dents, no dings, so scratches, no trashed interior, tops in good condition.

Seems like there are two price ranges around here. <4000, way down to maybe 2500 ones, you want to run and hide from, and ones in the 9K and up, which the majority of have been well maintained. Still a heavy depreciation from intial purchase, but makes for a great value roadster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,344 Posts
Watch out for those with mechanical injection cars-hard to fix. I would never get anything less than a 94(nothing with a mechanical odometer), but i would really stay with 97 and above, but now you run the risk of not getting key-fobs from the dealer, so get a car with the two key fobs
Better to buy a 1996 before prices start skyrocketing over the 97- key issue.
 

·
Moderator
93 SL500, 95 SL320, 96 S320, 98 S500, 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon & A little 91 5.0 FORD Mustang
Joined
·
8,250 Posts
Better to buy a 1996 before prices start skyrocketing over the 97- key issue.
Yea, but maybe in another state other than California :wink

Martin
 

·
Registered
91 500SL 37k,90 300SE sold, 91 300E sold , 92 300E137k ,02 Kia Sedona ,I know..... its a Mini van.
Joined
·
8,312 Posts
Educate yourself before buying any R129, especially the bio degradable wiring harness years, my 91 is a joy to own, fixed a couple issues, no biggie, DIY is the key! I bought mine for $7500 4 years ago, fixed 3 issues myself 1st year, runs great and hauls ass! I do believe in a low mileage examples got mine at 34k, there's plenty out there! most of these cars were for the rich and lots didn't get driven that much, high mileage, sure, but be prepared to spend some cash on those, worst thing about these cars are interior plastic's falling apart.
all in I have about $8500 in the car, including purchase price.
Prices are low for these cars, I do believe they will appreciate in the future.
Early ones are easier to work on yourself, later ones you need expensive software code readers etc.
3 cars in one!!
 

Attachments

·
Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
Joined
·
4,844 Posts
Better to buy a 1996 before prices start skyrocketing over the 97- key issue.
My local dealer said there are no more keys anymore for R129. Had a customer for 97 SL500, he had only one key and it was a valet, so it wouldn't open trunk. So of course the battery goes dead and he can't open the trunk, so....towed to me.

I managed to jump it through the passenger footwell terminals to open the trunk, and then went to dealer to order a key.

Results? No keys available. No slim key, no valet, no master, no remote, nothing. This is a week ago.

Better start hoarding your keys now. I can count on 1 hand how many locksmiths and/or indies who know how to program a key for R129 in all of greater LA. That is to say.... just one guy. And he's in buttfuck nowhere, so be prepared to cry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,344 Posts
My local dealer said there are no more keys anymore for R129.
I'm sure what he meant was no more R129 keys 1997 and later. 1990 thru 1996 has never been a problem and never will be a problem. You can still get a master key from Mercedes for about $20 and that key will do everything but open the doors remotely. In the unlikely event that Mercedes stops cutting master keys you will still be able to get them from anyone who can cut laser keys (aka sidewinders) and that's a lot of people. If Mercedes doesn't fix this problem 1996 is likely to become the most coveted 129 model year for several reasons - ME engine management, 5 speed transmission, new style interior, vastly improved (less troubled) ASR, and no chance of the car becoming a big boat anchor due to not having a key.
 

·
Registered
91 500SL 37k,90 300SE sold, 91 300E sold , 92 300E137k ,02 Kia Sedona ,I know..... its a Mini van.
Joined
·
8,312 Posts
My 91 came with 2 IR keys, both work thank you PO.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top