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  #1  
Old 02-15-2006, 09:28 PM
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Best Mercedes-Benz for a Beginner???

Hey,

I'm new to the site, but I have a question. I have always been a domestic car guy, but I am finally venturing out into foreign territory. I'm thinking I want a Mercedes-Benz. I want something something from the 1970s or
1980s, gas-powered, V8 engine, four-door. I haven't decided on large car or small car so that's why I'm asking...what particular V8 four-door car would be not only great beginner Benz, but affordable in price?? What about the 4.5 or the 5.0 engine?? How reliable are Mercedes cars, are parts high, etc. For whatever car you recommend, what prices am I looking at? If I get a car, it will only be driven a couple days a week. It will not be a primary vehicle. Thanks in advance.

Frank Slay

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  #2  
Old 02-15-2006, 09:38 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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84 500se or sel

would make a nice car. excellent engine with the dual chain, simple electronics, no computers, no abs, an excellent ride and good handling, not rust prone and pretty easy to work on.

the acc is the most trouble prone part, and they are better than many other similar aged benz models.

reasonable prices too. look for a clean one. can get pretty nice one for $5k i suspect.

i think the 85s are pretty much the same.

tom w
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2006, 10:27 PM
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since mercedes is (and has been known) for its straight six engines I would consider one of these as a starter car. The w123 and w124 are great automobiles with relatively simple electronics (esp. the 80s models).

Just my .02

If you're stuck on the V8 I'd look at the SEC coupes (84? - 91), these are becoming collectors pieces and are some pretty nice 2-door cars. (I know you said 4-door, I just thought I'd throw this on the table since you say the car won't be used as a primary driver)
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2006, 11:23 PM
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No small car V8s in that era. 70s-80s/V8/4 door narrows the field substantially to S-class cars - 108, 116 or 126 chassis. The obvious answer is 126 chassis. Prices are so low that you might as well go for the newest car you can get - which would be a late 80s 420SEL or 560SEL. Unless you want the power for some reason the 420 would be the way to go - simplier suspension. I believe it was made from 86 to 91. Shouldn't cost more than $5k to $8k for a good one.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2006, 09:59 AM
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My first mercedes was a 4.5 . Good workhorse. I still think I would get a six. My only advice would be to stay away from the "S" class as a starter car.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2006, 10:06 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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yeah

i would agree that s classes have too many features to maintain.

the best starter imho is a 123 body. the best 123 starter is a 240 stick.

hands down.

but he asked originally what is the best v8 to buy, and i still recommend an 84 85 500se or sel or sec (if he will consider a 2 dr.). all excellent cars not too complicated and cheap to buy now.

tom w
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2006, 12:36 PM
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Comparing Mercedes to American cars is like comparing apples and oranges.

Any V8 Mercedes is a VERY expensive car and to someone just used to American engines, a NIGHTMARE to maintain.

Get an E-class or smaller as a "starter" Merc and wait on the V8 until you become a corporate CEO or some sort of potentate whereby you can have experts maintain it for you.

A 300E, for example, will outperform many American V8s in any event, since its 180 cubic inch engine normally revs twice as fast or more than a 350 cu in American V8.
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2006, 08:58 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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my

84 500sec has been about as cheap to maintain as a diesel. i bought it with 80k and have 132k on it. it has no blowby. if taken care of i dont expect to do any major work on the engine in the next 100k at least.

tom w
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2006, 09:30 PM
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Trust a 10 yr M/B tech...Buy an E class with a six cylinder.

I've had customers in the past who inquired what is the best buy, bought an S-class against reccomendations, and ended up selling it for an E-Class in less than a year. At which point I tactlfully had to avoid the "I told you so"
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2006, 11:02 PM
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E320 nuf said.

Seriously though going from say a V8 Chevy to a 560SEL is a big jump. Completely different animals and you have to adjust your idea of what expensive is.

See with an American car you say "my god that starter was $150"
With a MB you say "holly crap that starter was only $200! What a deal!"

Now practice!

Don't bash the S though, once you dance with the devil the E just wont do.
A 420SEL is also a good choice, just have someone who knows them very well inspect it before buying. You can have one that looks good and drives decent enough but still needs $3k+ in defered maintaince.
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  #11  
Old 02-17-2006, 06:20 AM
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that is the trouble

with all benzes, they have such competant chassis that, even when on their last legs in several different ways, they will impress with their driving, to a non experienced buyer.

tom w
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2006, 06:48 AM
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I know the original question had to do with V8 gas power, but since there have been several posts advidsing him to start simpler--like with a six, I got to add my 2 cents.
For simple, reliable MB starter cars, I think the old 5 cyls diesels are the best. There have all the classic MB "feel" and class, and with the "S" class enough presence to satisfy most people. The 5 cyl diesels are simple to maintain with no computer-related sensors that are nearing the end of their reliable life. The proble I have with ANY 100,000 mile+ car from any manufacturer is those complex computer systems. The sensors are just getting to the age where they fail. First its an O2 sensor, then a throttle position sensor, then ... Unlike a diesel, the gas injection system runs in solvent; not a protecting oil like diesel.
IF you can do your own maintenance, I feel the 5 cyl ( 617.XXX) powered cars are the best way to get into the pleasures of MB ownership.
We all know that MB Tex wears like iron, and always look good.
Just a contrary thought........
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2006, 08:48 AM
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As for a 2 door coupe, I highly reccomend the 78-85 280CE. A great gas Mercedes with a nice drive train. Their holding their value, great mpg, easy to work on, reliable, low maint, rides fantastic, and the classic Mercedes styling. Plus it's very sporty and gets alot of "looks".
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2006, 07:34 PM
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I still have my first MB. It is an 89 190e. 2.6 staight 6, easy to maintain and loads of fun to drive.
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2006, 02:52 AM
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I own a diesel, 300D turbo, and i think they are great. Excellent cure for road rage. No ignition system to worry about, significantly cheaper tuneups, no ignition failures reducing your chances of getting stuck somewhere and real simple once you understand the relatively simple non computer controlled diesel engine. But I must advise the negatives i associate with these diesels:
1. They are not fast from a stop which can be maddening especially when the engines are cold and climbing a hill or merging into traffic and i'm talking 300turbo, not 240D (even worse). You get used to it but it's a negative. The engines are real noisy when cold. sounds like a bunch of pots and pans in the engine, diesels are designed to ping or auto ignite.
2. Diesel is not sold at all gas stations. BTW, don't spill diesel on you (we are self serve in CA) cause it lingers on your hands and clothes.
3. They tend to visibly smoke and stink more than gas engines. Doesn't bother me but pedestrians don't share my enthusiasm. Don't get me wrong, mine is not badly maintained, they just stink more than gas cars.
4. I alwayts get a dirtier when working on a diesel's engine or suspension. I don't know why but the oil and diesel grime is nasty.

I drove a 21st century diesel in euroipe recently. It was amazing, why, because it ran as fast and quiet as a gas car with even better fuel economy to boot. maybe the europeans are leaning toward advanced diesels while US and asia are more hybrid oriented.

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