Things are looking up. I visited my torn up car at the shop where it was waiting for parts, and after removing the bent up fan was able to start it up and hear it purr for a few seconds (no more, cause it has no cooling system just now) and the motor sounds great. I hadn't really seen the motor, and the body guy made it sound worse than it was. Just the fan bearing shaft bent out of whack, and maybe, just maybe, the tandem pump out of line a bit. Everything else looked OK. Timing cover (delicate aluminum thing that it is) looked intact.
The transmission linkage is out of whack, I think because the whole motor/trans might be shifted back an inch or two. The motor mounts seem a little deflected to the rear and the bolts don't look like they're completely vertical. I'm hopeful it might just pop back if I loosen the rear transmission mount and give it a little encouragement. The rubber on the mounts look like they're under some tension.
And in the parts car department, more good news. It turned out another mercedesshop member had been chasing the same car I was, but had less luck than I in hooking up with the hard to reach seller. Anyway, he and I reached a deal where he'll tow the car to his place which was kind of in the middle geographically and keep most of the car, and I'll just pick off my parts there. That'll saves me quite a bit in the towing, and gives the rest of the car a good home.
With any luck, in a few days or a week, my inexpensive body guy will be pushing through the reassembly work with parts in hand. I looked at the work he did already straightening the leading edge of the driver door and such, and it looks pretty good.