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  #1  
Old 12-08-2008, 09:19 PM
R_Stephens
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
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What kind of car should I buy?

I need a reliable and reasonably inexpensive car for my dad to drive. I just got a job as a mechanic, so I can do basic repairs, but I'm not wealthy. I suggested he get a Camry, but he thinks they're too small (he's driven pickups for years). I'm thinking about an E320 4matic (for the snow) or something similar, but I really don't know anything about these cars.

What would you suggest as a dependable and no-frills road car? Probably something larger and more powerful than my 240D.

Robert
'83 240D, 275,000mi - Got me through engineering school

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  #2  
Old 12-08-2008, 09:38 PM
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Larger than a W123? As long as you're fixing it and he's paying for the gas, splurge on a W126 sedan, the 420, 500 or 300SD. If he can afford lots of gas, make it a 560.

If he wants something that he can beat up the way a pickup is usually mauled, go for either a W123 or W124 wagon.

As a long time suburban driver as well as purely home brew mercedes mechanic, I love the suburban for its rock solid dependability and cavernous room to hold almost anything in it or on it. But the W124 wagon I picked up a few months back can do it with grace, poise and style.

-CTH
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:24 PM
R_Stephens
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cth350 View Post
Larger than a W123? As long as you're fixing it and he's paying for the gas, splurge on a W126 sedan, the 420, 500 or 300SD. If he can afford lots of gas, make it a 560.

If he wants something that he can beat up the way a pickup is usually mauled, go for either a W123 or W124 wagon.

As a long time suburban driver as well as purely home brew mercedes mechanic, I love the suburban for its rock solid dependability and cavernous room to hold almost anything in it or on it. But the W124 wagon I picked up a few months back can do it with grace, poise and style.

-CTH
Is the W126 roomier than the W124, or is it just a luxury model? I saw this car on ebay, it's a 1990 300D. If it's half as reliable as my car has been, I'd be pleased.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:35 PM
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W126 is significantly bigger then a W124, but the W124 isn't bad its bigger inside then my 05 Audi a4. If he wants something real big a W126 is the only way to go
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:38 PM
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i have a good 560 sel forsale, what is your price range?
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2008, 02:28 AM
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As said: "What price range?"
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2008, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_stephens View Post
Is the W126 roomier than the W124, or is it just a luxury model?
The W126 was the largest Mercedes sedan made from 1981-1991. Its a big car, even in short wheelbase form, but a long wheelbase model (SEL) is also available, which is a real tank. I have a 300SEL and its a tank, but since its a 6-cylinder, I get fairly good mileage.

Other than occasional headgasket issues, these engines are virtually bulletproof.

If a Camry is too small (I am not sure what generation he thinks is too small, but the 1992-up versions are a little larger), I would also recommend something like a Toyota Avalon (available in 5 or 6 passenger forms), or something like a 1986-90 Mercedes 300E. Same engine as the 300SEL, so watch out for headgasket problems. Its my understanding that if a headgasket issue goes crop up, its not that hard or costly to repair.
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:04 AM
R_Stephens
 
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Thanks for your suggestions. I didn't realize that the Avalon was larger than the Camry. I've been looking at cars in the under-$10,000 range. I was also considering the fact that an Mercedes will not depreciate in value as much as a newer car. We'd like to keep this car a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86560SEL View Post
The W126 was the largest Mercedes sedan made from 1981-1991. Its a big car, even in short wheelbase form, but a long wheelbase model (SEL) is also available, which is a real tank. I have a 300SEL and its a tank, but since its a 6-cylinder, I get fairly good mileage.

Other than occasional headgasket issues, these engines are virtually bulletproof.

If a Camry is too small (I am not sure what generation he thinks is too small, but the 1992-up versions are a little larger), I would also recommend something like a Toyota Avalon (available in 5 or 6 passenger forms), or something like a 1986-90 Mercedes 300E. Same engine as the 300SEL, so watch out for headgasket problems. Its my understanding that if a headgasket issue goes crop up, its not that hard or costly to repair.
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:12 AM
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No shortage of cars for sale. Spend a plesant saturday (if you can find one) test driving cars. -CTH
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:19 AM
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I will give a vote for the w126 as well. The joke when these came out was that you could fit two bodies in the trunk
Parts are not cheap though. I would check out ********az for some part prices.
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  #11  
Old 12-09-2008, 10:28 AM
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Robert, I would look for a low mileage 1994 or 1995 E320. These are the best of the 124 cars and have a low-revving straight 6 cylinder engine. Have a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) done by a MB-trained tech who is familiar with this vintage MB automobile so you know the condition of the car and what immediate repairs it may need. The 124 cars are ideal for the DIY'er if you're so inclined. Two years ago I bought a 1995 E320 for less than $5,000 after having a local independent tech perform a PPI.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2008, 10:58 AM
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I have had two W126s one 'short' wheelbase and one long. Go for the long wheelbase cars.They have a huge amount of room inside. I am getting 27~33 mpg on my 1986 300SDL with the six cylinder diesel engine in a car that has the rear seat room of a limo. If he wants an SUV, go for a recent vintage Tahoe. I Love my Suburban, but my friend's Tahoe gets better mileage and is much quicker since it has the same drive train and about 800 pounds less to haul.
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2008, 05:29 PM
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Buy one that won't break the bank when gas goes back up to $4+ a gallon.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2008, 07:03 PM
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Owning both a w124 and a w126 I would suggest that either car will work, and both have their charms. Both seem equally reliable, and my maintenance costs to keep them in tip-top shape have averaged around $1000/year. (both cars were in good condition when purchased).
The w126 is a joy to drive - its big, looks great (I have a coupe) and is wonderful for a long trip. My w124 is a diesel, nimble, good road feel, not as big (not much bigger than a Camry, but more functional IMHO). I plan to keep both for a long time.
I suggest that you buy the car in the best shape - with a history that you can verify. My w126 was originally owned by my mechanic and was maintained by him for several years after I sold it. He was clear when I bought it was "the only thing this car needs is new rear accumulators and the passenger side seat belt extender doesn't work" and he was dead-right. I have repaired both and now have a car that should run for a long time. History counts!
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2008, 11:30 PM
R_Stephens
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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In the shop I dread "luxury" class vehicles because they're usually a pain to work on, but I do like the roominess of the W126. I'll probably put a towing hitch on it and use it as a pickup. That's what I've done with my car. I just wish I had more cylinders ....

Thanks again for the ideas. We will need to spend some time driving cars to see which is a best fit.

Robert
'83 240D, 275,000mi

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