One must have the proper perspective on this. A good Toyota Corrola probably would cost you 8 grand. By buying a car cheap one can be faced with the concept of only buying part of a car. You may not have got a good deal by the time you finish the car but transmission problems are rare on most cars and having one is sort of like winning a reverse lottery. It just can't be included in anticipated maintenance costs.
Your 260E is a car that is easily owner maintained. The cost of repairs in the second hundred thou have to be no greater than other cars with similar features.
The idea to owning one of these cars is to drive a safe comfortable vehicle with certain status for a minimum amount of money. The alternatives involve various new car/depriciation situations and/or dropping ones standards. Many people are proven winners in the game but it is somewhat like a lottery in some cases. My advice is to usually buy a higher priced, better shape, used model, than to go for lowest price and repair as you go.
Can anyone that has driven a quality German car actually accept driving a Honda or Toyota (not including Lexus)? One must have priorities in life. Driving a safe, comfortable, (fast), well handling car has always been my standard. I align cars for bunches of shops that bring me everything. I almost want to put seat covers on most Asain or Domestic cars ten years old, before I sit on them in my work clothes (for my protection).
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician