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Old 11-16-2000, 03:25 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lansing, Michigan, USA
Posts: 49
I have two questions regarding salvage titles and cars that have been in a wreck.

1. IS there something inherently wrong with a Salvage Title? I saw an auction on ebay for a Mercedes that said "it is a salvage title, so don't bid if that bothers you." What does that mean? Is it illegal?

2. A local salvage yard has a beautiful 87 300SD that has been hit in the corner. The frame looks perfectly straight and it appears that the object that it hit was higher than the bumber and so it just crunched the body and hood.

But I have heard that a wrecked car may be fixed on the outside, but the insides may be seriously affected by the impact. Any truth to this?


81 300D 250K+ (odo doesn't work!)
Want another one.
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Old 11-16-2000, 07:01 PM
California Benz
Posts: n/a
No it isn't illegal. Only if someone sells you one that has that distinction removed from the title by laundering it from another state.
On the most part, avoid a salvage like the plague. But, on the other hand, it doesn't take much of an accident to total an older Benz. Even a mid 90's MBZ since the parts are so expensive.
An example, my older 86' 190 got smacked in the front corner bumper and fender. The damage was $5000. But it only needed a new fender and bumper. I made a deal with the body guy and he did the work for $3,800, thus saving the insurance co. from salvaging a perfect car. But it could have been easily totaled.
If the car was really smacked, I mean hard, stay away from it. ALWAYS take it to a dealer and have it checked before you buy to get the scoop. If it was bad, you will never know what kind of junk they slammed into it to make it run or all the electrical to work. Suppose it seems to need an alignment? So you buy it and say what's the big deal? $100, right? Then you find it cannot be aligned because the suspension is smashed or the frame bent. Now you have a big piece of crap in your driveway.
But if it was fixed by a reputable company, has all the receipts, etc. the only person who will know it is salvage is you. I know several dealers who are driving mid 90's S600's that look and drive new but are salvages. Only they know: They saved a good $20,000.
Do you’re homework. A title check online, a check at the MBZ dealership and make sure it has all receipts for the work done to make it whole again. Don't be in a hurry. That salvage isn't going anywhere quick. If they don't have that, take a hike and find another.

1991 300E Sport-
(Black on Black, Chrome Lorinzers 18", blacked out windows, clear signal lenses, Brabus cam)
1991 300E
(Burgundy , on parchment, Silver AMG Monoblocks, 16", wife's)
2000 E55
(Silver on black, 20" Silver AMG Monoblocks)
2001 Brabus CL500
(Silver on dark lavender suede Brabus interior, 18" Brabus)
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Old 11-16-2000, 08:01 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Los Angeles, Calif, USA
Posts: 521
It is hard to sell a car with a salvage title, unless you are selling at give-away price. The reason is obvious. The title gives people an impression that the car was in a major accident. If you spend money (e.g. rebuilt tranny) fixing the car, it is likely that you are not getting the money back when you sell it. If you decide keeping the car for a long long time and you find a good salvage car with good price, why not.

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Old 11-18-2000, 04:19 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 688
Each state has its guidelines for what gets 'unrebuildable' or salvage. Here in NC a title with the unrebuildable branding will not be inspected for road worthiness and titled. I bought a theft recovery years ago and NC said it was unsafe although never hit!
It was the $$$ that put it over the max but only if you went to the MB dealer for the parts, not salvage parts.

Bought a 400E last month that I looked at before it went to the auction. No frame damage as an oak limb fell on the roof...and
all doors opened fine...drove it home on a dlr. tag! There are forms to fill out specifying what and where you bought the parts to repair the car. This can enable you to get the 'salvage' branding off the title.
I also take pictures before, during and after repair to show a buyer the extent of damage and let the buyer know all the paticulars. Being honest helps, but then there are those that XXX! So watch out and do a carfax check.

Tobias MB
4 MBs now
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Old 11-18-2000, 11:30 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 387
A Salvage Title means "be careful". You can get a GREAT deal on a salvage car, as long as you know what you are looking at. For example, my mechanic picked up one of those Audi V8 sedans (the big ones that are real hard to find) at auction with a front end hit. It was salvaged by the insurance company because of the 4 month estimate from Audi to get parts to fix it. He also picked up a 2000 Suburban that had blown a left front tire (Firestone, imagine that) and rolled over on it's right side. Customer requested that it be totaled (apparently you can do that in Texas if you can show that even repaired, the value of the vehicle is appreciable affected), and he picked it up needing only some body work. His total cost in it was about $14K - it had 1100 miles on it!

As pointed out in other posts, you need to know exactly what you are getting into. They CAN be a good deal, as long as you realize that it might not be easy to sell.

Bill Streep
'57 190SL
'92 300E
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