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  #1  
Old 08-21-2002, 01:39 PM
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Dear Abby...

I'm just curious if anyone else has had thoughts like these. I bought an '83 a few years ago to drive as a weekender. I'd been thinking about a vintage roadster and was looking at all kinds. I had never paid much attention to MBs, but sort of fell in love with a very low mileage, beautifully maintained silver SL. I thought, this is great--it's drop-dead georgeous with that top down, and these are supposed to be the best engineered things around.

Well, the gorgeous part was definitely right, but after a while, I started noticing things like:

-Plasti-chrome interior parts (those hinge covers are so junky)
-Stinginess with the leather (mostly just on the seating surfaces--the rest is standard duty naugahyde)
-Dopey mechanical seat adjustments (that sort of shift around when you start and stop
-Weird engineering features, like headlamp wires and vacuum apparatus in the wheel wells, where debris is working on them all the time
-Windows that whistle even with the hard top on
-Manual soft top (with crummey soft plastic windows)
-Dashboard and wood console that are destined to crack, no matter how careful you are
-Frame structure in the engine compartment that cups/pools/accumulates water and gunk near the headlights (I can't believe it hasn't rusted out in 20 years--I guess the weatherproofing must be plenty good)
-gas mileage that is way out of line with the mediocre horsepower. It's perky, but at 12 to 15 mpg, you'd expect a lot more.
-A/C that is way short of spectacular
-The dreaded single timing chain

And so forth. Everyone probably has a list. Here's my question:

Have we just all been taken in by a reputation that really isn't all that well deserved? Or, are there things that make you say, wow, this thing is built to go and go forever? Does the king have clothes?

Don't get me wrong, I'm still in love. But now I think I love her only for her looks.

Signed,

Duped
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2002, 04:28 PM
DALE DORIA's Avatar
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What year and model are you talking about?
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2002, 06:11 PM
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But don't forget the 107 was the best at its time. If you compare that to the 129, the 107 is definitely dated. But don't forget the car is built bulletproof, especially its chassis and engine. Not to mention it still looks sexy and purposeful after all these years as you said

I am sure in a couple of years, many owners of the 129 will think likewise comparing to the 230.
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  #4  
Old 08-21-2002, 07:40 PM
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I own an 83 380 SL, and so far I have not had any problems. I enjoy the car and get many compliments. The car is 20 years old. Technology has improved since then. If you want "up to the minute," the 2003s are out; get one.

Just do like I do, enjoy the car.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:12 AM
Rayson
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Hey,

The car is 20 years old. You have to think about it as if it were twenty years ago. I have had my 21 year old SL since Feb. this year and believe me it seems everytime I begin to think of it in your terms someone pulls up beside me and gives me a compliment, great car, looks good, wish I could afford one (although their Honda, or whatever cost them four times as much) and so forth. I drive it most everyday and always get looks or compliments. If the love affair is over than get rid of it, if not then do like Marvin said, Drive and Enjoy!!!!
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2002, 02:01 PM
cheroot
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Thumbs up

don't forget about the cheezy overpriced sound system and the seats that feel like you're sitting on a commode. Man they're nice looking, though.
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2002, 02:56 PM
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Just a side note...

Quote:
Dopey mechanical seat adjustments (that sort of shift around when you start and stop

I know what you are talking about on the shifting around of the seats, but that can be fixed. There are guides on the seat rail that you can replace.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2002, 07:34 AM
Benzman1000
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Dear Duped, where youre duped is thinking you'll get a bunch of enthusiasts to badmouth their religion. "Mercedes has engineering flaws" is definitely not what anyone's wanting to hear. You're going to get answers like "if you don't like it, go buy a 2003" which misses the point. The point is not if cars have improved over the last 20 years. Its whether anyone ever really gets his moneys worth buying a Mercedes, new or old. The ugly little secret is you only get your moneys worth if you're willing to pay for snob appeal. It's like Gucci shoes, only not quite as gross. Mercedes, while a quality car, has alwas cost more than you get, unless you factor in the snob appeal. and that goes double for their sports cars. I like driving around in a Mercedes sports car because it seems cool, but I don't kid myself that I do it because of their attention to detail. For the $40+ thou they were getting for these in the early 80's, major bucks back then, they could have put a lot more into them. But in marketing, good quality/great status goes a lot farther than great quality/good status. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Whoever said that I think was on to something. I think that's the way most of us are, and its one of the things thats kept both Gucci and Mercedes in business a long time. No, theyre not what theyre cracked up to be engineering-wise, but so what, they're still pretty good, and it all comes down to the eye of the buyer anyway. PS, add poor brake dust dispersal and overprice parts and service to your list. They're just part of the package, take it or leave it.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2002, 03:17 PM
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I was reading this thread and had to put my two cents worth:

Consider the offerings of the other manufacturers 20-odd years ago, and compare the quality/durability/styling of same...probably equal or worse.

Understand also that some tradeoffs had to be made in order to fit their mission of safety over style. So a lot of the materials used, although not the most lavish, is best suited for the total overall safety in the passenger compartment...so the "cheap" plasti-chrome interior parts selected by MB actually shred into harmless pieces in an accident, as opposed to "genuine chrome" metal appointments that become unyielding stillettos in the same situation.

Some of us now complain of the "simulated" wood grain inherent on a many of the "wanabee" luxo cars...much of that is due to the fact that there hasn't been a proven way to put real wood in a vehicle, subject it to all sorts of harsh climates and temperature changes, and have it pristine and blemish-free for decades! Take a nicely-lacquered piece of home furniture and sit it in a garage or attic or some other non-temp controlled environment for a few decades and see how nicely IT holds up!

Jaguar is another manufacturer with similarly-overpriced models to choose from, and back then, they were plagued with even more engineering design flaws, particularly with the legendary Lucas electrics. But talk to a die-hard Jag owner (I was once one), and it is a love-hate relationship.

You must be going throught the "hate" part of it right now...
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2002, 08:50 AM
Benzman1000
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G-Benz, do you know for a fact that was the reason for the plastic chrome interior pieces? I've always wondered why they did that too.
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2002, 10:44 AM
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Well, I haven't run across an '85 Anything lately that generates the reactions and response of the SL I drive on occasion. With only 90,000 miles, it doesn't use any oil, scoots like a dog that's had a turpentine soaked corn cob stuck up its rear-end, looks like it just came off the show room floor, and has held a remarkable portion of its original value.

Also, you ever been in a crash while driving a Mercedes? I have and believe me, the crash protection alone is worth the price of the vehicle. MB was well ahead of the crowd then and, so far as I know, remains so.

So, go whine to your mother. She undoubtedly cares a whole lot more about gripes than the readers of this thread.

Cheers!
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2002, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Benzman1000
G-Benz, do you know for a fact that was the reason for the plastic chrome interior pieces? I've always wondered why they did that too.
No, actually that's pure speculation...but I DID read about their laminate designs for the wood being directly related to preventing it from splintering in an accident. Actually, whenever I see damaged chrome metal strips on older vehicles, they do look like something that could readily impale an occupant, especially considering the trajectory and velocity of loose trim in a collision. That is why I brought it up as a "thought" topic.

I assume some choices were cost-saving measures rather than how the materials react under the stress of an accident...but it is something to consider, as I remember the pre-SRS days, when MB actually padded the steering wheel horn pads for a reason!
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Last edited by G-Benz; 09-04-2002 at 11:40 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2002, 01:15 PM
Benzman1000
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G-Benz, I bet you're right. It makes sense. Those pieces are big enough to probably take your head off if they were metal.

Sublettd, are we feeling a little defensive this morning? Looks like there's interest to me. Why bring the guy's mother into it.
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2002, 01:37 PM
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Nah, I'm not defensive at all. I just figured the individual would get a more compassionate hearing from mom.

I'm actually quite pleased with my vehicles and realize that I'm going to have to occasionally spend some money on them. However, I'm not making a car payment each month, the insurance is very reasonable, and I've already gotten over 300,000 miles out of them collectively. I expect at least that much more--if I live that long.
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'85 500SL (Euro) - 186,000 w/a complete restoration and engine rebuild at 154,000
'95 C280 - 174,000
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  #15  
Old 09-05-2002, 08:11 AM
cheroot
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Didn't your mom teach you there's no need to insult people to express an opinion? Why not just say what's good about your car, and leave it at that? That's the question he's asking, and I think it's a fair one. The # of hits indicates there's plenty of interest. If this is all getting a little metaphysical for you, move on to the thread on Best Practices in Tire Rotation, and give the rest of us a break.

I guess I'm not practicing what I'm preaching. Sorry Mom.
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