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Old 08-29-2003, 05:19 PM
Botnst's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: There castle.
Posts: 44,601
1990 420 SEL 82k miles

But, the hood and left fender were badly damaged by hurricane debris. It did not get flood damaged. Unrelated, the timing chain jumped several months later and the car is in need of major engine overhaul.

I was visiting my indy mechanic on a completely unrelated issue and he asked how my 300e is serving me. I complemented his efforts (flawless work) and mentioned that I'd like another w124, 300e sometime next year.

The mechanic then mentioned the 420 SEL in his garage and the owner (one-owner vehicle) has decided he doesn't want to spend $3k to repair the engine and is abandoning it. The indy doesn't know the owner other than he has already bought a new replacement M-B. The mechanic is thinking about buying the 420 from the owner and fixing it for sale and asked if I were interested.

He said that if he had a fairly good idea that I'd be interested that he'd undertake the engine repair on the hope, but not expectation that I would buy it next year. He said he'd sell it for minimum of $8k or so, depending on how much work was required.

What do you folks think of the car (opinion of the 420 SEL);

What do you think of his offer;

Should I respond favorably or should I be totally non-committal?


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Old 08-29-2003, 08:17 PM
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8K with that low mileage on everthing but a rebuilt engine seems reasonable. You won't have to deal the chain issue for another +/- 100k miles and you don't have the more expensive rear end to deal with as on a 560SEL.

If it's in good shape and the mechanic is trustworthy, I'd go for it. Also, check eBay, TraderOnline etc for comparable cars and see what the market is like.

I'd act slightly interested and ask him about it from time to time. If someone beats you to it and puts $$ down, don't fret, there are plenty of 420s on the market. I for one would go for the 560, since I like the power, but I pay for it at the gas station.
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Old 08-29-2003, 09:27 PM
Botnst's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: There castle.
Posts: 44,601
Well w126 (I sure want to call you, "Feckless Perseflage" for some reason), the mechanic is good and charges are very reasonable. When I told him I was pricing parts online his charges dropped a bit. Then he found that I'm not made from money he started prioritizing repairs on my 300e. I think of mechanics like doctors--they are most reliable with patients they know. I read all about the tranny problems and my next visit with the indy I'll ask about that, too.

So, if the guy says a car is in good shape except for.......I'm convinced its a pretty good bet he's not far wrong.

Man, I like the looks of that car! I can easily see dropping $2.5k-$3.5k on body work and a paint job on top of his $8.5k for the mechanically sound car. I'm almost done with my 300e and am really pleased with it.

In about 6-10 mos I'll be interested in finding another M-B. I've kind of been thinking about a w124 diesel, but my indy says they're really hard to find in good condition. If they're good, people keep them and most of them (according to him) will outlast the owners. He suggested looking for estate sales--no kidding--on the theory that the kids would only keep a car that will burn rubber but would dump something with a Klattaring, sedate acceleration.

Rambling thoughts. My wife says I get fixated on a problem to the neglect of everything else and warned me about this one.

Now I gotta sneak around and peek at websites with "w126" or "420 SEL" the way some guys hide porno searches. Ah, what gracefully curved, softly sensual upholstery......a smooth, sleek acceleration....a gentle touch to steer us through the darkling night....

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Old 08-29-2003, 09:40 PM
Posts: n/a
Call me Ted!

I forgot about the bodywork. Before getting *too* interested, I'd have a body guy give you an estimate. Never know what you're getting into.

In regards to the W124 Diesel, I haven't read many good things about them. Then again, I'm not a diesel guy. If it were me, I'd go for a W123 instead. Yes, less sophisticated, but they last forever and are easy to work on.

On another note, I just sawa '90/'91 560SEC, same color as my SEL -- I want one!!!!!
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Old 09-13-2003, 09:17 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,114
Drive one like it, before you decide to buy it. See if you like the way it rides and handles. If you are going to go for it, convince the mechanic to install new valve seals for sure, and IF you have a few extra dollars, have him replace the lifters too.

Good luck with your decision.


It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein

09 Jetta TDI
1985 300D
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