Re: Cost of keeping Girlfriend...I mean M-B.
Well, guys, it appears that I have become relatively lucky. When the accident occurred on Sunday night, most of the gash/rip appeared to me more extensive than it actually was, since the whole area was covered in brick dust and grime from the brick wall. Also, there had been some chrome fender trim on the car from the 17yr old son of the PO who thought (incorrectly) that he was going to inherit the car before his dad sold her to me. The fender trim, though gaudy, I had left on since I wanted to make sure none of the installation holes used to put it in were possible rust-magnets. The fender trim was badly scraped all along the side of the car, which protected the actual fender edges and structure of the car on the whole front quarterpanel. Heh. So, I got rid of the trim I was not happy with and saved myself any front fender damage with it.
Yesterday, I got my estimate from the most expensive, most thorough shop in this area. I actually had the pleasure of having the owner do the estimate personally. I have recommended at least 10-15 friends here and this is the first visit I have met the owner. After his estimate, which is still less than $1k, I am going with his suggestion - which is not to repaint the whole car. He was, in fact, very opposed to my repainting the whole car (even though he knew I would want his shop to do the repaint).
We had a loooong discussion about depth of paint and lead content and how many coats he will do before the clearcoat, etc. He wants it for 7 days, allowing for lots of drying and re-prep time between applications and blending.
So, today he gets the car and I get to worry for a few days. In terms of how long I plan to keep the car...I do plan to keep it as long as I can. I cannot afford to buy a new MB for the next 3 years...some law school plans in the near future...but when all that is complete, I plan to buy a newer E class.
I have bonded with this car, but more so I have bonded with the quality build construction and attention to detail that MB uses. I love their engineering and I love driving these cars.
I'll let you know how it looks in a week.
John J. Meadows
'85 190E 2.3L 99k mi.
My first M-B, not my last.