I have often pondered the question as to how long I will keep my 1984 300SD. I've owned it about 15 months, during which time I've put maybe $1500 into work on the car (mostly labor), including four new tires, front shocks, caster joints, left rear window regulator, filters, oil changes, etc. I've reglued the wood trim on the ashtray and dash. I figure on about $1000 a year in maintenace, which is less than $100 a month.
Constrast this with the payments on a new car. I feel safer in my MB than in most other cars, even those with multiple airbags.
Including purchase price, but not counting insurance and fuel, I have significantly less than $8000 in the car.
Some friends of mine have a 90-something Nissan Sentra, into which they had to put a new engine (!) to the tune of about $3500.
My wife's car is a '95 Subaru Legacy wagon, nice, but we bump elbows if we ride side by side, and it has cost about the same amount of money in shop work as my sixteen year old MB. It's cost me about $600 to get the "Check engine" light to go out, and it will cost the better part of $500 to replace two fuel level sensors (the gas guage doesn't work.) Newer cars seem to have more parts, more electronics, and more failures as all the PC boards age. I know, they are modular, but the electronics are not cheap for any car.
My 300SD only refused to start once, after a faulty trunk lamp stayed on all the time and drained the battery after several days. In mostly urban driving I've averaged 19.8 mpg. On trips I get over 25 mpg.
It's one of those cars that I will probably get bored with long before it stops running. I really want a 500E, but my wife thinks that we should get a new house before I get a new car. [Sigh.]
Robert W. Roe
1984 300SD 173K mi