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Old 12-02-2013, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
$5,000 budget for a 1986-87 300SDL?

With a $5,000 budget to buy a 1986-87 300SDL, what kind of condition can I expect? I'm planning to use this car as my daily driver (130 mile roundtrip 4 days a week) and need something reliable for a good highway cruiser.

I'm not real familiar under the hood, but I'm also not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn to do some of the easier maintenance. Knowing that "there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes", what am I in for? Is $5,000 a good budget to work with?

Also, how much would you set aside for monthly or annual maintenance?


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Old 12-02-2013, 04:17 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,306
Honestly 10 years ago I'd say do it, but now they are getting to be almost 30 year old cars...Back when I got into W126's the latest ones were barely 10 years old, so it was like buying a nice W220 or W210 today. You can still find one in pretty good shape, but fast forward 10 years...

For $5k I'd hunt up a nice W210 or a C class. Something around the 10-15 year old mark is a sweet spot. W210's are in that sweet spot right now, old enough to be cheap, and new enough not to need restoration if you find a good one.

I wouldn't consider an SDL to be a good daily driver at this point unless you have a lot of experience working on these cars, and time and money to keep it up to snuff.

The guy you really want to talk to about these was banned, which is a shame. He is one of the few people around that actually drives W126's on a daily bases over a few states and keeps them in good shape so they are still fully functioning cars, and not rolling parts cars where everything is just broke.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:28 PM
nate300d's Avatar
What did I just do?
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Edgerton OH 43517
Posts: 366
One would certainly make that commute a sweet drive.
1985 300D aka Miss Margaret
1991 300SE aka Alarice
1995 SL320 aka Samantha
1997 K1500 Silverado
1999 E300 ex-wife got it and let her son ruin it
1984 190 2.3 ex-wife got it and let her son destroy a great car
1985 300D (CA version) aka Maybelline lost to deer at high speed.
1981 300D aka Madeline (went to salvage at near 400k) rusty, yet best car I ever drove
McFarlan TV6 (only a few privately owned)
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Posts: 4,367
If he wants to email Brian Carlton*, he'd probably receive some sort of response. I've e-mailed banned members before. Also, jusme might be selling one of these at some point... if I remember correctly, he has lots of receipts on it.

Man, I miss Brian... still want to meet him someday. Maybe I'll come up with an excuse for a NY road trip... sheesh, I could buy an EGR delete kit (if he has any left) and pick it up in person.

Also: Open Discussion is for non-Mercedes topics, Diesel Discussion is for diesel Mercedes topics . Nothing wrong with you posting here, but you might get a bigger response in DD.

*The banned member.
"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:09 PM
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¡Ay Jodido!
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Rancho Disparates
Posts: 4,075
I recently saw a startlingly lovely gold on palomino SDL at a Sedona estate sale where I was (sadly) up to my eyeballs in the deceased's reloading equipment and guns. Had around 160K on it, nearly pristine, one owner with a spotless garage that the car lived in. Widder lady wanted 6K. They are still out there. You ought to get into a nice one for 5K or a bit over if you take your time.
You're a daisy if you do.
84 Euro 240D 4spd. 220.5k sold
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:38 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! I'll repost this over in the diesel forum. I sent Brian an email too.

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