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  #1  
Old 05-28-2004, 11:01 AM
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Advise on a couple gassers

My oldest brother is looking for a car to replace his '73 Coronet (which has been a great car, but I can't seem to convince him to put some money into it instead of playing Russian roulette in the used-car market). So, of course I'm keeping my eyes open for any MB's in the paper. He's a grad student and single, so I think he'd be foolish to go with a Honda or Subaru or Toyota; I'm trying not to project my preferences on him, but I'd hate to see him go for something so bland.
Basically, he doesn't drive too much, and we live where things can get pretty cold, so I don't think a diesel would be the best choice. He's thinking on spending $5000 or less, but I know he'd be able to pay more if he found the right car. What's in the paper right now is a '86 420SEL for $4000 and a '91 190E for $5500 OBO (but it's an auto ). Any opinions on those cars? Any advice as to other cars to look for? My main concern with a newer Mercedes is if it should need repair work. I'd probably be the one doing any repair, and while I've got some experience, I don't have much know-how on fixing newer electronic equipment. I don't know if there are any good independants who do Mercedes work, and there aren't any dealers in the area. For this reason, I have thought about dropping the Mercedes idea, but I figure I should at least look and ask around first.
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Once and future king:
'64 Ford Fairlane w/approx 238,000 - looks rough, but amazingly reliable if you know how to look after it; I will soon begin work to totally restore and modernize it.
Family vehicles that I lay some claim to:
'78 300D w/approx 350,000 original, '62 Ford F100 4x4, '90 Ford E150 w/171,000 original
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2004, 11:50 AM
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Well, he's on his own if he goes with a TOYota. I've never cared for Japanese cars even though we have two that we've put plenty of miles on. Also, the last time I helped pick out a car, a Ford Contour, the transmission went out two days after we bought it . I told him (different brother) to wait and find a manual because I know Ford's nasty reputation with front drive automatics, but he didn't. But that car has been slowly redeeming itself. Actually, what I'm thinking I'll recommend to him is a 90's T-bird with a V-8. The last of the real detroit coupes; the 5.0 and 4.6 are great engines, and there aren't any big issues with the car if you avoid the V-6.
I think maybe I should make it clear from now on that I can offer free advice, but don't complain to me if you don't buy the model and powertrain I recommend.
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Once and future king:
'64 Ford Fairlane w/approx 238,000 - looks rough, but amazingly reliable if you know how to look after it; I will soon begin work to totally restore and modernize it.
Family vehicles that I lay some claim to:
'78 300D w/approx 350,000 original, '62 Ford F100 4x4, '90 Ford E150 w/171,000 original
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2004, 01:12 PM
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My vote is for a nice Toyota, no offense but Ford could learn a lot from them. I have never been in a Ford car that wasn't a POS.
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  #4  
Old 05-28-2004, 01:50 PM
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If he's moving up from a '73 Coronet, he should take a look at early-mid '90s full size Buicks (Park Avenue, LeSabre) and Oldsmobiles (88,98) with the 3.8 liter V-6. It's a very durable engine, and surprisingly fuel-efficient. The cars are favorites of old people who don't drive much and believe everything their mechanics tell them, so there's lots of over-maintained low-mileage examples that are going for not too much cash. $5k should get him a comfortable cruiser that would last forever.

Similarly, an early-mid '90s Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis with the 4.6 liter V-8 is roomy and reliable - you can't break them. I've been in taxis with over 300k miles on those engines with nothing but regular oil changes.

If he's maintenance-averse and on a budget, both of those are better choices than an old MB.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:01 PM
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IMHO, the only low-end Fords worth owning are the 90-93 Escorts, and I have found them to be excellanet "bargain" cars. They are actually re-badged Mazda Proteges, in other words, they're good Fords because Ford didn't make them. They're great on gas and will go to 220k, but you have to remember to change the timing belt every 80 k or you'll turn the motor into scrap. I've only owned standards, so I can't say how the autos are. One advantage, since people identify the model with the other POS Fords, you can buy them dirt cheap compared to what an identical Mazda would cost. The Escort wagon was a mom-mobile, so you can find a lot of low-mileage low-speed driven models out there. I've bought a number of these for business use and have bought Proteges for my kids to drive. They're a great used car for a kid - you can pick up a good one for 1500-2k and not have to put a dime into. If your like me, as your kids wreck them, you become expert at replacing fenders and such, and you will appreciate the cars for how easy it is to slap a fender or bumper on them and how cheap the parts are at the junkyard.

Otherwise I agree on Toyotas. They're worth the price premium. I've owned three of them over the years and each one was a legend, espeically the one I owned in college, which withstood torture and abuse so well it would have made Saddam proud to own it. I paid $450 bucks for it, beat it like a drum in a thunderstorm for four years, repaired nothing, and sold it for $450. Thats a car. If he drove a big Dodge, a Camray would be a nice fit for him. They have a big car feel in a small car and are incredibly well built.

I'd stay away from cheap MBs. The good dependable ones cost lots of money. The cheap ones are usually cheap for a reason. The older ones make great restoration hobbies but can be an expensive proposition as a daily driver. I don't know much about the 190s, but I tour a lot of junkyards as part of my 83 280 SL hobby, and there sure does seem to be a lot of 190s in the yards that looked like they died of engine problems.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:28 PM
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Hatterasguy: You've never been in my Fairlane. Ok, so it's a work in process, but there are reasons why it's back on the road and my Dad's 123 isn't yet. Actually, I think Toyota could learn something from Ford. Not Ford of today, but Ford of 35 years ago, just before they forgot how to build a car that it was not only possible to keep going forever, but that had styling that made it more than worth doing. That's also partly why I would like to see my brother keep the Dodge, it's been dead-reliable (at over 140K), and it's close to the golden age of automobiles, just before Chrysler went into a tailspin.
But I digress.
I've suggested a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis, but he didn't seem interested. I don't think I could sell him on a GM front-driver either. I think either of those suggestions would be great, but I think he's too used to hearing that Japanese cars can't be equaled in reliability, and then he's said he wants something different. If I find a T-bird that looks good I'll probably try and push it, other than that it's probably just going to be whatever comes up that he likes. I know there are some really good cars out there that don't carry the inflated price premium of the Japanese cars, but I'm not calling the shots on this one.
__________________
Once and future king:
'64 Ford Fairlane w/approx 238,000 - looks rough, but amazingly reliable if you know how to look after it; I will soon begin work to totally restore and modernize it.
Family vehicles that I lay some claim to:
'78 300D w/approx 350,000 original, '62 Ford F100 4x4, '90 Ford E150 w/171,000 original
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2004, 08:40 PM
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MT_Merc I agree with you every one built after the early 70's was crap. I also am not a big GM fan, my moms 1996 Olds Cutless, with 50k original miles, we bought it from a 95 year old lady when it had 10k on it. My dads maintained this thing perfectly, and it always got the garage, but it's falling apart! The engine makes a lot of bad sounding noises, the car creeks when you hit the brakes, and my god that body flexs. My Toyota with twice as many miles that lived a much harder life ran better. I have worked on both and can say without a doubt that my Camry is a far superior car. It's just built better, stiffer, Toyota used really high quality components. Only the MB has the Toyota beat, but not so much in quality as with ease of maintaince. Toyota's are no fun to fix, but parts are real cheap at least. $5k should get him a really nice Camry with around 100k on it. Change all the fluids and filters, do the timeing belt every 60k. Thats about it, keep it clean and it will look almost new.

Just my 2 cents.
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2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2004, 02:03 AM
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perfect single mans car 300 CD.........

William Rogers..........
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