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  #1  
Old 03-13-2002, 07:33 PM
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'86 300E vs '91 300E... Any opinions out there???

Hi,

I'm looking for a solid, reliable drive for my daughter. The two cars I'm trying to decide between are...

'86 Burgundy 300E with 90K, re-painted 2 yrs ago (nice job was done - original paint faded in the NC sun) and meticulously maintained by an older retired gentleman (original owner).

VS.

'91 Rosewood 300E with 144K, that was hit in the rear but "appears" to be perfectly repaired - no history known.

Pricing is the same, $7,500.00.

The '86 has had A/C hoses replaced, a new radiator, valve seals -- on top of what appears to be an excellent service history. I think I might even feel guilty buying this car - the owner won't have it to tinker with anymore. Everytime I talk to the him, he tells me something new he did to improve the car, i.e. "the battery was a little weak so I replaced it yesterday", or "the temp on the car seemed to be running a little too cool, so I'm going to replace the thermostat tomorrow". Each time a repair is made, it is performed by the same independent Mercedes tech that has been looking after the car for the past 10 years.

On the other hand, I really know very little about the '91. The car looks and runs great. The interior is spotless - which leads me to believe the car was probably not totally abused. :^)

Anyway, I just thought I'd see what we had for opinions out there.

I've also toyed with the notion of a '95 C280, but it was more money and, IMHO, not what Mercedes has built its reputation on. (Although, my daughter would probably prefer the newer, updated look of the 280). I also like the idea of wrapping as much steel around my sweetheart as possible! :^D

Thanks in advance for the feedback!!


Paul
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2002, 07:39 PM
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Question I would go with...

the one with the maintenance history. It has less miles with caring original owner. However, I think you may want to come down in price a bit. Is the AC working correctly?. The evaporator is a BIG issue with the 124's.
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2002, 07:50 PM
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Thanks for the vote...

Yeah, the AC works fine. I agree with the price being a little high - I originally offered $6,500 then $6,800 and he didn't budge. Unfortunately for me, he doesn't need to sell.

I drive an '88 300SE (which I love) and I am experiencing a few little "gremlins" with age. I have no problem patiently and methodically working my way through them, but I may not always be available to work on her auto. This is what's led me to consider a "newer" Benz.

Thanks again!!
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2002, 08:34 PM
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I like the look of the 91 better, but I would go with the car that has a service history. With used cars, maintenance is everything.

The price may be high, even higher than fair market value, but having a car with a great service history might make it worth your while.

Any repair or regular maintenance you might perform could easily be more than the difference between $7,500 for this car or $6,000 for a different one.
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2002, 08:39 PM
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Paul,

Do they both have the same engine? There is quite a big power difference between the 2.6, the 2.8 and the 3.0. The 2.6 is a dog in a heavy car like the 124, and there are times when it is not enough engine. I would lean toward the larger displacement.
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2002, 09:10 PM
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I have a nice 1987 300E with 90 k on the odo, and I wouldn't sell it for $7500. I know everything that has and hasn't been done, and I couldn't buy anything else for that price that was anywhere near as safe, fun, or comfortable, even with an expired air bag and never having had the evaporator core or valve guides done. (If you need a talking point that isn't a hypothetical fix, the air bag was certified for 15 years, so unless he has replaced it then about $800-1000 is the tab I am told.)

If the car is as good as it sounds, I would buy the 86 before anyone else that knows MBs jumps on it. It sounds like a real find, despite the re-paint. Any car, used or new, is an unknown quantity. My low mileage full records 98 C class has many more issues than my 87, for example, despite being 11 years and 60k miles newer. I would go for it, myself.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2002, 10:26 PM
minman
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As a proud and relatively new owner of an '86 300E, I'm obviously biased. The more I learn about this car, the more impressed I am with the build. Pay the $7500, and ask the gentleman if he would mind your contacting him on occassion as certain problems develop in order to get his expertise on recommended fixes. If he's really that meticulous about the car, he'll appreciate the invitation, and you will benefit from the as-needed counsel. Sounds like it's ready for you to pick up. Buy a more contemporary set of rims, and some of the reservations your duaghter might have about a dated look will disappear.
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2002, 11:12 PM
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I would certainly go with the one with service record, I taught myself a lesson by having bought my current 92 400E.

My 400E had 200k km when I bought it, dealer could only give me service record for the first 100k km. And I had no idea at all when I bought the car that so many things could happen to it in its second 100k km.

I couldn't tolerate any flaw in my car, I had spent a dozen of weekends in the garage repairing all kind of hidden problems that I discovered later, just the parts along cost my nearly $2000 Cnd. Now, it still has one dead auxiliary fan and headlight wiper motor, Motor mounts are due, and I don't know if the previous owner replaced timing chain or not, have to replace it anyway, I feel I have to take a week off to finish everything.

It's still a dream to drive, looks like new, but I would have saved myself a lot of times and $$$ if I bought one with history.

My 400E had also been rear ended, the repair looks perfect from outside, but you have to rip off the carpet to know the real story, the weld is very prone to rust formation, my 400E doesn't have any rust spot except the place they welded the new body panel.

Hope this helps.
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2002, 11:27 PM
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I'm with everyone else on this. I like the looks of the '91 better. But as you know with proper maintainance, these cars will go forever. As mentioned the price on the '86 is a little high, but you might rest easier knowing your daughter is in a car that has been "maintained", not repaired when something breaks.

There is a big difference. Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2002, 10:05 AM
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Great input!

I didn't realize that the air bag was certified for 15 years only. Last week I was at my mechanic's shop and he showed me his next major project - an '86 300E rebuild. The car hit a telephone pole head on and you guessed it - the air bag did not deploy. He noted that the SRS system showed Fortunately, all three passengers exited without a scratch. The insurance company wrote the car off but since the owner "loves her baby", the car will be rebuilt.

John, I really like the looks of your '87. Maybe removing the Grand Prix and adding a nice CD player, and then new updated rims (as suggested) would do the trick. The wheels on the '86 are in great shape... much better that the ones on my '88. Heck, maybe I will move those to my car! I think I'm being sold!!

Thanks all for the responses, the reassurance was needed.

Paul
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2002, 11:17 AM
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John's is also a Sportline model.

With the C-class 8 hole rims and the Sportline upgrade, I think John's is one of the best looking early model W124's out there.

The interior and exterior is so clean, it looks like it came out of a time warp.
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2002, 12:11 PM
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Thanks guys! This has been one of the best cars I have ever owned. Insurance adjusters also tell me it is one of the most protective cars in an accident as well. Can't ask much more than that out of a car. The Sportline conversion was what added the fun to the car (and improved accident avoidance abilities).
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2002, 12:16 PM
Mateo
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I'd keep looking

I'd keep looking, JMHO. $7,800 for an 86 is real high. I've seen some 86-87's with about 100K on the clock go for around $5,500. Just my dos centavos
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2002, 12:56 PM
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Mateo,

I too have found a number of 86's & '87's between $4k and $5k, but none as clean and smooth running as this. The current owner even has 2 sets of MB floor mats - 1 for good weather, 1 for bad. And the engine has absolutely NO oil leaks - amazingly.

I too am struggling with the price, but I do believe this car matches up to many a car 4 or 5 years its junior.

After seeing and driving 15+ similar autos, it continues to stay at the top of my list overall. Again, I'm just hoping to avoid all the "gremlins" sometimes found, i.e. odometer not working, head gasket leaking, flickering interior lights, front end squeaks (all those rubber parts and bushings), cruise control not holding, rough idle, climate control stuff, etc.

I bought my first Benz in '86 with 21K and drove it another 170K+. As mentioned, I now have an '88 300SE that I purchased with 100K+ and I had added another 100K+. I have not even considered a trade up. I want to make only 1 auto purchase for her... as I have boy and girl twins who will also need a drive soon.

Paul
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2002, 01:15 PM
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Paul,
you are already defending this car as if it was yours. If you like it, go for it!
Good luck!
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