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Old 03-23-2002, 01:08 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Fredericksburg VA
Posts: 22
Hey TX bill They Sure do look good in the photos!!
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Old 03-23-2002, 02:54 AM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,114
Motor oil, antifreeze, now ebay. It should have been expected.

I agree with Barndoor on this one. ebay is just another avenue to see what's available throughout the coutry and more and more througout the world. The only difference between sitting in Juneau browsing through ebay and browsing through a Dallas newspaper is that the Dallas newspaper doesn't allow you to buy a car by clicking a button.

If folks want to blame ebay when they purchase a lemon that's up to them. My uneducated guess is that they would buy a lemon form the guy down the street or Joecar Used Car Dealer in town. The only thing ebay is guilty of is providing a light trigger to folks with itchy fingers.

I don't recommend ebay as the way the general population should buy a used car, but folks should take advantage of the forum and put it to their advantage in terms of what ebay provides. Make friends with folks whose contributions parallel the way you think. Build a network of contacts throughout the country, whose opinions you'd value as much as your own. When you see a car that appeals to you, use the network to help you investigate that car.

I've been on this list for a while and I've gotten to know something about a number of folks. There are a number of folks whose opinions I'd trust. TXBill and Barndoor are among these folks. If there was a car I was interested in in Houston or Oregon, by golly these are the folks I'd ask to help me assess it. I'd be sure I made it up to them.

Of course the best thing is to have a tech you know inspect a local car. But if you're like me and are interested in MB models that aren't common in your area, you have to get creative... within the bounds of common sense. There isn't a choice of 5 300SDLs at any given time within 100 miles of here. I have to use tools like Hemmings, and ebay to find that elusive white 300SDL with gray leather.

91 300SE
81 300SD - $610 on ebay
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Monroeville, NJ
Posts: 93
Purchase of Mercedes on E-Bay

I agree with all of the posts in this thread. I recently bought a 1986 560 SEC and a 1987 560 SL from sellers in New York City and Miami. In both cases I went to check out the cars first and, even though I used to be a foreign car mechanic, I missed a few things. Nothing really serious, though. The toughest problem, as previously mentioned, was the lack of repair and maintenance information. The 560 SEC had good documentation, the 560 SL did not. Bottom line: I probably a little more than I should have for the 560 SEC, but am ahead of the game on the 560 SL. Caveat Emptor prevails.

As far as parts go, I've done very well. Lots of bargains out there.
M. Sandler

1986 560SEC: 150,000 miles, runs great, but I've got to sell it (too many cars for one man)
1987 560SL: 122,000 miles, used to run poorly, now (thanks to forum), runs great!
1997 GMC Jimmy: Turned out to be a turkey.
1989 T-Bird Super Coupe: 150,000 miles, still runs great. Ford got it right.
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Old 03-23-2002, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
Yeah, LindaJane, my advice is to find a car in your area that you can drive and see, and have a good PPI (pre purchase inspection) done so that you know what you're getting into.

If you do find something on e-bay you like, why don't you ask someone on this forum if they're in the area where the car is sold, and see if they'll look at the car and get it inspected for you?

I live in Southern California, and there are tons of MB Diesels available here.

If you see an MB diesel on E-bay that is in Southern California, I'd be glad to go look at it for you, and have it inspected by a competent MB independent shop.

Oh, and another thing. By all means, buy a car with as many records, and in the best condition possible.

Learn from my experience and others on this site. It is always cheaper to pay a high price for a clean, well-maintained car, than to buy a questionable car for a cheap price, and then try and bring it back to life.
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 03-23-2002, 12:29 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,877
I found my 300D on ebay. Emailed the guy and found he lived about 5 miles from here. Drove over, took a look, tried to get him to come off of the reserve price on ebay ($1500) which he would not do and returned home. After thinking about it for about an hour I called and committed, afterwhich he removed it from ebay. Rode over later that evening and picked it up. I had been looking (on ebay and everywhere else) for a MB diesel (my first) about 8 months.
The 240D was under a shed adjacent to the road on my commute to work.
I sold a 1991 Mazda to a person from Washington, DC off of ebay. Made the exchange in Cumberland, Md (I was living in West Virginia at the time). Sold a 1974 Caddy and a 1997 Toyota from the automobile sales site on Yahoo.
The secret is to take your time.
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Old 03-23-2002, 06:18 PM
Posts: n/a
A friend of a friend of mine down in Chicago bought a grey market diesel W126 with velour seats on e-Bay located in AZ. The seller had all records, books etc. The car wasn't checked out by a mechanic, but the seller said if he didn't like it, he'd refund the plane ticket and give him his money back. Plus he was willing to let the buyer have a mechanic of his choice inspect it, nothing to hide. Basically he had nothing to lose, but one weekend.

He flew down to Phoenix and drove it back --Turned out to be great car and a great deal -- one of the lucky ones.

Another friend of mine attending law school in FL wanted an "entry level" sports car and bought a Porsche 912 from autotrader or Hemmings (don't recall). The owner took it to HIS mechanic and called my buddy back with a list of potential probs and was quite honest which gave him some negotiating room. He flew out to Texas and drove it back, turned out to be an OK deal as well.

Last edited by BlackE55; 03-23-2002 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 03-25-2002, 08:55 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 47
I have purchase many things from ebay including one car; an '89 300TE. I think a lot of the previous posts bring up good points but fail to reach the appropriate conclusion. Is buying from ebay a risk? Yes, but so is buying any car. Some situations are simply more risky and some less. Buying a car, unseen and uninspected, is clearly higher risk. So what? Just make sure that the price you pay reflects an appropriate discount compared to that risk.

I had some questions about my car which couldn't be easily answered as I would have needed an inspection 1300 miles from my home. I simply valued my bid against the possibility that the car would need extensive work and made sure that the amount of my bid + the potential repair costs + the cost of delivery = a fair price for that car with those repairs. The result? I got a fair deal. The car was inexpensive, but did have some problems which should have been disclosed but were not (leaking radiator, struts starting to go). Thus I would say, depending on your risk tolerance, go for it with your eyes wide open. There will always be another Last-Greatest-Deal.

Two final points. Personally, I'd buy form an individual rather than a dealer. I think the inherent amount of trust you can place in a person exceeds that which you can place in an institution. However, I know that both can cheat. Second, be prepared to fly immediately to pick up your car. Don't pay a deposit (usually one isn't needed for a few days; by then you should be there). Bring an exact copy of the ebay ad which listed the car. If the car does not match the ad description, go back home or re-negotiate. If it does, pay your money and enjoy. As an attorney, a lover of MB's and as an ex-used car salesman, I have other thoughts on these issues. If your interested, contact me.
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Old 03-25-2002, 03:39 PM
Posts: n/a
I am in agreement with Hans. I have bought two Jaguars and a 300SD on eBay and had them shipped. All sellers were individuals. The price in all cases was low enough the repairs needed for items not disclosed still made the prices cheaper than comparable cars locally (Tulsa area). eBay is not the place to fall in love with a car, you have to have an idea of what you want and buy the best car at the best price you can, and expect to have considerable repair work to do.

Also, I do not have time to fly around test driving cars, but if you email or telephone the owner and ask the usual questions, why are they selling the car, what is wrong with it, have them email pictures of the engine, interior and underneath if they have not posted, I think you can minimize your risk. You will also get better at recognizing how and what to bid on over time. Good deals are possible because most people will not bid on more than one car at a time as people do with most cheaper items on eBay. So if the bidding heats up on a car auction ending near another similar one, bids on the other car can be successful as everyone waits to see if they have won the car they are bidding on.

Two stories--the first Jaguar I bought was an 88 XJ6 (110K miles), the seller disclosed the brake pads needed replacement (there is an alarm for that in this model) and mentioned she had trouble driving it on ice in the winter. When it arrived, turned out the car leveling system was out and the power steering was out. Bet it was hard to drive on ice!

Second Jaguar was an 87 XJ6 (117K miles), (after the first one was totalled by a deer!), got a much better price on it. The major flaw the Jaguar mechnic in Tulsa noted was the coolant system had been rigged by sealing everywhere with silicone. After I drove it 8000 miles (about three months driving for me) the head gasket started leaking by and needed replacement. Expensive, but still only raised the price to similar to what I could have bought for locally, and my car looks nicer (for some reason on eBay it seems you can always find cars with interiors in great shape if nothing else!, maybe the pics make it hard to lie about that).

Bottom line, I do not believe you will get show cars on eBay, but you can find good daily drivers provided you are prepared to spend $600-$1000 on repairs as soon as you get the car. If you allow for that in the price, you should have no problem. I think many people sell their cars on eBay because it has some nagging problem they have not been able to get fixed. So if you have some knowledge about the car you can get some idea how much it will take a local mechanic to fix it.
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