Thanks for the reply.
I may be wrong, but I really believe this is the original head gasket. The car was sold new by the MB dealer in Long Beach, CA. Traded in by the original owner in 1996. The dealer Starmarked it and sold it to the second owner. I bought it last year from the second owner. Both owners performed every maintenance interval, oil change, tire replacement, brake job, warrranty repair, etc. at the same dealer. I was given every receipt in a file folder to back this up. Everything is there.
Under both warranties (original and Starmark), many items were replaced: water pump and radiator neck, power steering pump (leaking), engine wiring harness, feed line for the heater replaced (leaking), timing chain cover gasket (leaking), coolant expansion tank (leaking). I've scanned every receipt, and no mention of the head gasket.
I replaced a whole **** load of items at the 120,000 mile service at the dealer - too much to list - over $2,000 bill including the 120,000 mile service, and I replaced the valve cover gasket at this time.
Believe me, the head gasket wasn't leaking.
I'm so proud. This car might be a record setter.
My only complaint is that right now, the car is at the mechanic for a new water pump, thermostat, coolant temperature sensor, and mass air sensor.
Believe me, if there were more smilies, I'd use them.