I have a 97 E320 with 60kmi on it.
I wish you are right about the fact that the head gasket was fixed in the 97 models.
However, the timing cover seals were replaced on my car at 48kmi and it is a bit wet again in the passenger side/front of the engine area.
About the tranny, I believe there were early problems with the electronic control module. Mine was replaced at around 15kmi.