As of 1 hour ago, I no-longer have the 300E. I was REALLY sorry to see it go. There was just no room in the stable for it. Actually I should say the hangar. I have a 300SDL which is my long range bomber - my B-52. Then I have the 500E which is my ultra-sophisiticated F-15 fighter. The 300E fit perfectly right in the middle of these two. I would definately recommend the 300E ( mine was an '86). It was my first MB; got it in March '96; I was also nieve. I was lucky because the the person I bought it from really couldn't give me much history on the car; no books; no records. I was looking for a good 300D at the time but couldn't find one in decent shape. There was a ton of little things to fix up which obviously had been neglected. hoses, belts, water-pump, etc.. Even with the PO's neglect, I was able to recussitate it and restore the drive/performance.
Rule #1: insist in books and records; understand the chain of ownership and maintenance patterns.
Shortly after buying the 300E I began to really appreciate its performance; the ride was really masterful. The new shocks/struts and MXV-4's made a BIG difference. I also began to get a string of speeding tickets. I have been to drivers education so many times that I actually pay attention to speed signs now. To this day, I still can't resist, on an open stretch, flooring the 300 and screaming to 110mph and then settling back to a silky-smooth cruise at 85mph.
For better or worse, I'm the kind of person who kinda figures stuff out along the way. That was how it was with the 300E... IT was a great adventure and I'd recommend it to friends and family, for sure. I'm now embarking on a new adventure with the 500E; I haven't bonded with it yet but I'm letting Linda have the first date with it; she'll keep the odomoter reading basically static. I'm hanging out with the SDL for now - figure I won't get speeding tickets with it - however I learning the pedal and how to kick the turbo in ( Linda thinks I should get a radar detector for the diesel - such little faith!)
Finally; I printed out Lee's 300E write-up in featured Cars and gave it to the new owners; I think that really captures the essence of the car. I'd also recommend the Frank Barrett Illustrated Buyer's Guide - second edition. I'd also second the idea that the 300E is a great first MB; the only problem is that you'll possibly turn into a fanatical MB enthusiast that hears, constantly, "When are you going to stop talking about it?"!
1992 500E (82,000 miles)
1986 300E (181,000 miles)
1987 300SDL (104,000)