never forget, someone else has owned and maintained this car. either well or ill.
i have bought new benzes. i have bought used benzes. as for used, i prefer a one owner car with full maintenance records. in every instance that i have bought a used one, i have sought out the lowest mileage possible. and i have always tried to visit the mechanic who maintained the car.
and i have always allocated $2,000 dollars for surprises that even an independent inspection will have missed. and in my experience, something is always overlooked that will bite you in the first year.
after you bring the vehicle up to snuff, i insist that you then maintain it with some religiousity. i allocate my driving between my collection. all are driven hard and at autobahn speeds whenever possible. i have inspected my maintenance records on my last acquisition, a 1995 e320cab. it had never been driven by the first owner. it had 4,800 miles. after a year[and 6,000 miles], excluding the expense of replacing the passenger airbag with a glove box, $1,800. most of this was servicing this car for the first time in its life. and i am a perfectionist and demand that my cars be ready and able to run at 100mph+ whenever i can.
and $300 of this total involves a customer convenience module replacement. apparently the original one deteriorated from not being used.
benzes are not cheap to operate unless they are taken care of. however, if taken care of, they will last a long time and you will find them more enjoyable than the modern offerings. for instance, i have a 1986 560sel that i purchased new. it has approx 250,000 miles. it has been well maintained. it looks new. and it runs like new. it is the best refrigerator that i have ever owned. totally dependable and bullet proof. and in my view, still the best looking benz sedan ever built. thank you bruno sacco. now, money has been spent on this car to keep it as if new, but when measured over time and miles, it has been very cheap to operate. but only because its maintenance has been routine, regular.
like any other pursang vehicles that i have owned, planes, boats - there is a cost to ownership. if you cannot afford to put and keep it in shape as a matter of routine, it will probably eat your lunch down the road.
there is an alternative to used benzes. if you don't amass more than 15k miles per year, then lease toyotas, hondas, etc. maybe even benzes. use them for 3 years and then give them up.
i used to like more exotic vehicles. but my mechanic hated working on them. and i didn't want to spend my time being a mechanic. he liked benzes because he knew them, understood them.
the last word: if you run old benzes, make sure you have an independent mechanic who knows his stuff. that you know to be a man of honor - someone you can trust with your life. if you don't have this resource, i recommend that you not go the used benz route, especially a used benz with so many miles.
for what it's worth. so it goes.