Fixing my front-end damaged 300E cheap? Parts car?
I'm pretty heartbroken. The 1986 300E that I put so much time and effort into getting in top driving shape (see my post on the valve job) is now sitting in a tow company yard waiting for me to decide its fate. My girlfriend -- its her daily driver -- ran into the back of a Honda in highway traffic and did in pretty much everything forward of the fan. The bumper is bent, the grille, hood, both light assembilies and the driver's side fender are munched pretty bad, and the driver's side fender even pushed back into the driver door a bit, so that the leading edge of the door bent a bit and there is door to fender interference. I can't get the hood open, but I expect the auxillary cooling fan, radiator and condensor are probably damaged as well. Oh, yeah. The airbag deployed too.
The car had just liability insurance, so any repairs are out of pocket, and I'm trying to sort out what to do. The car is ringing up $25 per day storage charges while I am thinking.
I do enough business with a local Mercedes parts shop (All Mercedes) that I can get a discount on new parts, but even with the break there's between $1,000 and $2,000 worth of parts alone needed to get it back on the road.
I'm debating whether to walk away from the wreck and start over again with a different car or try to fix it myself. I'm a good bolt-on mechanicals guy, but I'm not much on sheet metal, so the body work would be tricky for me unless I could be sure everything just bolted on. I have a line on a 1987 with a good body but bad motor for under $1,000, so another option would be to buy that donor car and move parts one way or the other until I had one good car again.
I think my choices are:
A. Just walk away
B. Pay $600 to get the wreck out of the pound and towed home, pay up to $2,000 buying new parts, and hope I can figure out how they go together.
C. Pay $600 to get the wreck home, buy the parts car for $1,000, and spend the next several weeks transplanting parts, having to deal with removing old parts with frozen bolts but at least having the advantage of a "good example" to compare with.
I'm really not keen to do a job this big (no time), but I might if lots of folks chimed in and said, "Yes, I've done the front end on one of those, it was no big trick at all. Everything just bolted on".
So I'm looking for the collective wisdom on whether the damage I described is a do-it-yourself job versus a total loss, and what folks think of the "new parts" versus "parts car" decision. Do you think I could make much selling off the "leftovers" from the parts car after already taking the premium front end parts?
Thanks for any advice. The car is in the East Bay region of the San Franscisco Bay Area, if folks have specific suggestions about shops, etc.