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Old 10-29-2004, 08:19 AM
rjk's Avatar
rjk rjk is offline
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Location: Atlanta metro area
Posts: 198
Best model for a teenager?

My 17 yr old son totalled the pickup last Saturday and is now very gun-shy (the truck got submarined and went airborne). Luckily, no one was seriously hurt, just banged up. He is now talking about wanting a "heavy car". My thoughts turned to this forum.

So what do you guys think? Any ideas on what model MBZ would be a good choice for a kid? New enough to have safety features such as airbags & anti-lock, slow enough so he stays out of trouble, heavy enough so he feels safe, economical/dependable enough so maintenance doesn't break the bank.
1999 E320 (gave to daughter) 250K
1994 F150 (new engine installed!) 240K
1989 560 SL (Refreshing top end) 150K
1986 560 SL (deceased., gave it's life protecting my wife)
1988 300 TE (departed)
1994 945T (awaiting engine diagnosis) 349K
1986 242Ti (fallow)
1968 GT500KR (under restoration)
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Old 10-29-2004, 08:40 AM
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Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 107

May not be exactly what he wants, but I would highly recommend the 123 series, 1982-85 300 Turbo Diesel. This is an exceptionally safe car. It is certainly no speed demon, yet you would be hard pressed to find a better cruise-on-the-interstate vehicle. I noticed you are in Atlanta. You should be able to locate several respectable prospects. Just my 2 cents.

The 300 SD is another great choice. Good luck and let us know what happens.
1985 300 D T - Rauchsilber (Smoke Sliver Metallic) with MB Tex Quartz 155 = Cream interior - 320K and counting!

1999 E300 TD - Silver - Just got her 3-13-15 !

the 2nd '83 300SD - Brown Metallic - traded away

1985 Limo Diesel aka "Stretchy" - Sliver - Blue Int - Sold but still in Athens

1983 300SD - Brown Metallic - Sold April 2008

1982 300 D T - Royal Blue with Tan interior - Sold
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:10 AM
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Location: Milford, CT
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300SD or any newer C class.
2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ
2007 Tiara 3200

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
-Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:25 AM
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Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 612
I see from your signature that you’re familiar with red block Volvos. A normally aspirated (non-turbo) 740 or 940 would fit the bill quite nicely. They’re not as refined a car as a Benz, but I think they are simpler cars which require a less stringent maintenance regimen. They are right on par with MB safety standards, they’re slow (perfect for a testosterone poisoned teen), the engines/auto transmissions are practically indestructible, and if properly tuned will get 30 mpg on the highway. (I'd stay away from FWD models and 6 cylinder models -- these are not up to the durability standards of traditional Volvos)

Jeff Pierce
Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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Old 10-29-2004, 12:18 PM
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Buy him a bicycle.

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Old 10-29-2004, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 230/8
Buy him a bicycle.

Maybe a bus pass in addition.
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,536
All Mercedes from 1986 have ABS and anti-lock brakes.

I would recommend a four cylinder C class model, either C220 or C230. They are plentiful, affordable, reliable, and fuel efficient.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 10-29-2004, 10:18 PM
wielder of thor's hammer
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Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 321
300e, just disconnect the kickdown switch to slow him down. But seriously, the 300e fits your requirements quite nicely in my opinion, and usually is a lot cheaper than a c-class, which has also been suggested. I feel hella safe when driving it. I'm usually just worried about the post- crash condition of whatever, or whomever I may hit!
headrivenoise... listen.
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Old 10-30-2004, 02:23 AM
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Thor was one of the Norse Gods. Who were the other two?

Auto Zentral Ltd.
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Old 10-30-2004, 02:50 AM
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smoke gets in your eyes
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I remember a Thor cartoon with Odin and Loki.


1) who will perform the maintenance? is this an opportunity for him to pick up a hobby?

2) would airbags and ABS have changed the outcome of the truck accident?

3) might a heavy car give him false confidence?

95 S420
87 300SDL
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:46 AM
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Location: Southeastern PA
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I recommend an E-Class ... 1990 to 1995. Of course it depends on what you want to spend. As you may have read and heard before a cheap MB is not necessarily the best value in the long run. Buy one that has been maintained and has records.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 10-30-2004, 07:51 AM
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Location: Northern Va.
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240D or 190D, nice and slow.

Many years ago, my stepson demanded I buy him a car. I told him I would buy him a diesel Rabbit. There was never another word about it, and he still doesn't have his license. (He's 24 and never got out of grade 9.)


Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL


Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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Old 10-30-2004, 10:28 AM
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rjk rjk is offline
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Location: Atlanta metro area
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Teenager model?

Lots of good advice (I lean toward the bicycle/bus pass option myself). But to answer a few questions; I'm very capable of major maint/rebuilding chores (I taught auto mechanics for many years) and yes, I expect to be teaching him more than just the basics, who knows, he may choose it as his vocation, so maint. issues vis-a-vis costs are minimized. One thing I have little experience in is diesel maint. I currently see many options, from transplanting the dead pickup's drive train into a "new" body, to a red block Volvo, to a MZB. I'd like to stay with a 4 cyl. which should limit my choices somewhat. I am very well versed with the Volvos and they are high on my list but I have always preferred the MZB's ride & comfort levels which leads me here for more info.

I have seen posts referring to E-class's having a tendency to use oil (my daughter's 300TE consumes quite a bit, it looks like blow-by after 170k+, I'm not complaining). Also, there have been complaints of deteriorating build quality on newer models (would C-class models come under that?). An older 300SD sounds very enticing but, as I said, my diesel experience is nonexistent.

No need to say what he really wants is the Shelby, yeah, like that's going to happen...

I appreciate the info and time you guys have given, thanks...

1999 E320 (gave to daughter) 250K
1994 F150 (new engine installed!) 240K
1989 560 SL (Refreshing top end) 150K
1986 560 SL (deceased., gave it's life protecting my wife)
1988 300 TE (departed)
1994 945T (awaiting engine diagnosis) 349K
1986 242Ti (fallow)
1968 GT500KR (under restoration)
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:15 AM
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Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
After totalling one vehicle, that should be a hint to get something with little residual value. Plus the insurance costs would be that much lower without collision insurance on it. So an old 124 like I have might be a good choice. Plentiful, cheap, airbags, abs, good in a crash. Or maybe a 300D or a 4 cyl 190 for less thrust...
Plus, I think these are good learner cars for the aspiring shadetree mechanic. Access to things is pretty good with 'old fashioned' front to back engine and rear drive.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:35 AM
Posts: n/a
I started both of my kids in a 123 diesel at 16. They are slow, predictable handling and probably the safest non airbag car you can buy.

Also they are classy and both kids were proud to drive them. These cars served them both very well.

Good luck,
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