For what it's worth....
I purchased a 93 500 SEL from a family friend on June 1st. It had 119K miles at the time, and I knew going in that I would have to do a few things to get it up to speed. To date, I have spent over $4,000 on it at a very good inde shop. The list reads:
Valve cover gaskets
New p/s gear box
new seat belts
flush and fill radiator
Oil pan gasket
New serpentene belt
Oil and filter cartridge
Now, after discovering this forum, I would do some of these things myself. But at the time, I was "scared" of this big, expensive car.
So, after 6 weeks and about 100 gallons of fuel (did I mention it only gets 17 MPG?) what's the verdict?
I LOVE IT!
I had a Lexus before. It was nice, but nothing exceptional. In the 6 weeks I've had the Benz, 2 different total strangers have commented to me about how nice my car is. One lady (at the gas station..imagine that) circled back to my pump, rolled down her window, and asked me "What kind of Mercedes is that?" I told her, and she just shock her head and said "Well, that sure is a beautiful car!" Nobody ever said that about the Lexus.
There is nothing like driving the w140 big Benz!