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  #1  
Old 02-19-2001, 08:52 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 16
I need to get my 17 year old a car and I want to buy her something safe and not to big. She won't drive my 300SE because it's to slow! and too big. She's only 5' 4" and 90 pounds but needs a car for all her activities.

I've been looking at 190s but know nothing about them. My mechanic likes diesels and suggest a 87 turbo diesel 190. Is this a good car? how about the 2.3 motors and I know the 2.6 is a good motor since I have one in the 300SE, although I remember problems with the earlier ones.

My bottom line question is what would you recommend in the under $6,000 range?

All advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

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FL Ken
89 300SE, 157,212 miles
new addition, an 86 300E, 188,900 miles for 17 yr old daughter
97 Expedition 4X4, 114,230 miles
98 Honda Valkyrie, 48,987 miles

Past Mercedes:
82 300SD, 168,350 sold
78 300CD, 118,600 sold(wish I still had)
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2001, 09:17 AM
LarryBible
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Sparks,

Been there, done that.

I went through the same thing just about this time last year. I ended up buying a 123 diesel. The reason was that the cars are safe and they are slow, not to mention cheap to buy and simple to work on.

My daughter would have loved to have a faster car, but I believe she is safer in a slow car. If your daughter doesn't like a car because it is too slow, that would make me want to put her in a slow car even that much more.

One of my daughter's friends ended up in an '86 190 diesel and it worked out well for her, although her dad has already had to do a headgasket job because she let it overheat.

The only mistake I feel that I made was listening to here desire for a particular color and buying the car according to its color rather than making condition the number one priority.

Good luck,
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2001, 11:53 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,935

I second Larry's opinion. I would go for a W123 300D or a 240D. The 240D may be a little too slow for a beginner to drive (can be dangerous in traffic, etc..) so a 300D Turbo would make a good choice. 1982-1985 models are numerous and are very reasonably priced. I'm not personally a fan of the 201 chassis. They never felt quite as safe or well built as other models (sorry 190 owners, just my opinion). Seems that after 150,000 miles, the 190s get tired out. A 124 chassis 300D would be a good choice or even a 300E. Both can be had for the money you're thinking of spending. Choose wisely though.
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2001, 12:10 PM
Benzman500
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Hey when i got my 500 it was my dream car it was big good on gas and fast to me and at 16 thats all that matters. One thing i know she won't like is the smell of diesel gas which bothers some people. Here is what my parnets told me you dont like the car go get one your self. which i did not do cause i love the car
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2001, 12:31 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
Before I discovered MBs, I believed the ideal car for my kids when they were 16 was the '84 Celica GTS. Almost 3000 lbs, 4 wheel disk brakes, 225/60 vr 14 tires, and a 4 cyl pick up truck engine. Slower than many in acceleration, but the car could out corner most 3 series BMWs.

My daughter complained it was too slow (why is it always the daughters complaining about speed, and they get lower insurance rates because they are "safer drivers"?). I told my daughter she had 3 choices:
1. Drive the Toyota while paying for her share of the insurance, gas, and washes.
2. Drive anything SHE could afford to buy, insure, and maintain on her own.
3. Walk.

She complained about the choices. I told her that my parents response when I said I needed a car at 16 was "so who is stopping you - buy your own". When she wasn't impressed by this logic, I recounted in graphic detail my experiences working in an Emergency room at 16, and what had happened to several male and female friends I saw in the ER after their parents had bought them fast cars. After she got her color back and came out of the bathroom, she opted for choice number 1, and quit complaining.

With my improved knowledge from this forum, choice #1 would have been a W123 or W124 diesel.
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
2015 Palladium Silver/black mbtex GLK 350
1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)

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  #6  
Old 02-19-2001, 12:58 PM
Bamboo77
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sparks,
when i was 17, i (with the help of my father) purchased a 1977 240D. the car was my choice. i knew it was slow, but i also knew that i could work on it cheaply myself. i'm now 18 years old, and still LOVE the car. i did recently rebuild the engine (yes, myself...), but this was only becuase the car hadnt been taken care of the way i thought it had, and had MANY more miles than i initially thought. all arround, these cars are GREAT. i have a manual transmition which is better on fuel economy, and a little better with accelerating. i think your daughter (it has been my observation that girls dont particularly like manuals) would dig a mid 80's 300D Turbo.
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2001, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Germany
Posts: 63
As father of a "post teenager" (who is now 24 and who got a ticket for doing 95 in a 55 zone in a Ford Escort), I refer you to a study by UNC (or maybe it was NC State) several years ago that showed females 16-24 years of age to be THE most aggressive drivers on the road. Buy a W123 diesel, or maybe an older W126 six cylinder gas or diesel 300SE/SEL/SD/SDL. The W126 is a notch better (and bigger) than a W123 regarding crash protection, and the straight six 300 gas engine is particularly reliable, as witnessed by the smaller 300E series. Only problem with a W126 is cranky and expensive a/c systems. Don't get her a V-8, they are too fast and probably out of the price range for a beginner's car. It won't be as cheap a ride as a W123 diesel, but it will be a safe one.

JoeB
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2001, 03:30 PM
Davis Lo
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I think the best choice is a 1.8 or 2.0 190E and indeed they are very safe enough plus it is a small baby Benz that looks not too mature and big for a young lady.If she wants something looks more "fancy", how about a BMW E36 318i sedan? Runs on petrol, very simple designed and easy to work on, solid structured but looks fancy that may appeal the young like your daughter. The performance is like or a little bit slower than an usual 1.6 japanese sedan- 2900+ lbs with 115bhp, 18.4kgm, 0-60miles @11.2sec...I tried one for a week and it couldn't be fast at all and it is a very ideal choice for your criteria and shouldn't be any complaint from your daughter. But I am not sure the price of it in US.Just my opinions....
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2001, 04:02 PM
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Location: Rancho PV, CA, USA
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A lot of good advice here. My 2 cents is on maintenance. When you first get a car , make sure the brakes and tires are perfect. I also made sure the kids took their cars in on schedule for maintenance and I paid for it because I did not want that to be short changed and get a call some dark night that they were broken down. They paid for gas, insurance and license. It helped them to grow and appreciate their car. Ed
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2001, 04:16 PM
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Location: Northumberland, UK
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I learned to drive in a W124 300D auto. It was a super car, big, possibly the safest benz ever, and fast enough for a learner, though to be sure it was no road burner. It was also extremely reliable, which I think is important, especially for a younger girl.

Having passed my test I bought a 1984 BMW 316, which had a 1800cc carburated 4 cylinder engine, 75bhp 100lb/ft torque (M10-good for 1,500 bhp in F1 trim). It cost me 1,250 new and I sold it 4 years later for 750 with no problems whatsoever in between. A fine car for a new driver: kept up with the traffic, had BMW prestige, safer than a compact, and very reliable. So I would second Davis Lo's suggested E36 318i SE.

I had access to an E36 316i coupe for a long time. Again, no road racer, but it was fast enough to pull out of motorway junctions and so on. What I liked was the very communicative chassis and steering and the beautiful gearchange. Not fast, bu t it made you feel like a great driver.

My own view is that the W201 is one of the finest Mercedes saloons ever built. Long-lived, discreet and a triumph of function over form. And very very safe. A petrol is bound to be better, perhaps a 190E 1.8 or 2.0? If you can get one bought new by a grandad about 10 years ago...
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2001, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the advice!

Hi friends,

Thanks very much for all your advice and comments. You confirmed what I believed and will continue looking for a 123 or 124 body, although I haven't ruled out a 190 or a BMW 318.

She is my only child and I don't want anything to happen to her! My wife is a high school teacher and we hear about many teenage accidents. It also doesn't help to live in the "Land of the ancient drivers", Tampa Bay!

Where might I find a deal on a good used Mercedes or BMW? The dealers in my area seem to want a small fortune for them.

Thanks again,

Ken
__________________
FL Ken
89 300SE, 157,212 miles
new addition, an 86 300E, 188,900 miles for 17 yr old daughter
97 Expedition 4X4, 114,230 miles
98 Honda Valkyrie, 48,987 miles

Past Mercedes:
82 300SD, 168,350 sold
78 300CD, 118,600 sold(wish I still had)
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2001, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 427
Ebay motors seems to have lots of good 240D's showing up that are located in Florida. One great thing about the old 240's is that police don't even give them a second glance. They are slow on pickup, but they can cover distance very quickly and stop on a dime. There was only one design of brakes that year (78) that covered the entire MBZ line, including the 600 limo, so for the 240 it is tremendously overengineered and sized. My 240 wasn't in the same comfort category as my 300SD, but it was a fun car that I drove until I simply wanted a change. If you can talk your daughter into liking it, she will be safe. Try the snob factor (Wow! a Mercedes!)
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'86 560SL 124K Miles
'94 320E Wagon, 74K Miles-128K Miles JUNKED
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2001, 09:58 PM
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Location: Rancho PV, CA, USA
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Hi Ken, the best prices for buying good used cars are here in So. Calif., no rust either. Do not pass up looking at later models of VW or Toyota/Honda. Ed
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2001, 10:23 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 60
Ken,
I must agree with several other posts on this thread. The W123 is the best car for this situation. My daughter will be sixteen in a couple more years, and she already knows this is what she will be driving. My ten year old son has already claimed my 300SDL. I think Larry and Aaron hit the main points in their earlier posts. I had a 84 190d and I was not impressed, although I'm told the later models were better. Good luck with your decision.

Ken Yancey
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2001, 12:16 AM
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Location: Malaysia
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I would second Davis' idea on a 1.8 190E as I believe this car to be a classic for younger people. The W123 model would prove a little too classic for a young adult as it might attract the wrong kinda attention, and being 5'4" might be intimidated with the sheer size and built of a W123. Besides the 190E certainly looks sporty and trendy (if well maintained).

If I had a daughter turning 18, I would think of a 1.8 190E. A baby Benz for my lovely Baby gal.

Too bad, with my 5'11" frame and a highly potential beer belly, I wont be able to consider a 1.8 190E for my stable!
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