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Old 02-09-2003, 02:08 PM
KenP's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Posts: 418
Before you commit..

Hi. Not sure how much I can add here, but I've rebuilt two cars that were written off as "total loss". Neither was a Mercedes, but the basic issues are the same. I "saved" these cars because they were both valuable and rare. I restore unusual cars as my hobby.
Also, I own a similar car to this... a '96 S500 Coupe... so, lots of the pieces are the same as the eBay car.
My 2 cents are that I wouldn't consider this project unless you have a "donor car" to take parts from, lots of tiime, and adequate, protected space to work. It WILL take longer and cost MORE than you think. Did I mention lots of time? Somehow, it always works out that way. In the restoration hobby, an old, beat up, rusted out car is always worth more than one that is "incomplete" or in pieces. Ads are plentiful of failed projects... hence the name "basket case".
Despite how well you plan it out, you won't know what needs to be replaced/done until you're well into the project. There WILL be hidden damage. Also, although the "big" parts are expensive, my experience is that its all the little clips, connectors, tubes, etc that will eat your time and money. Unless you have a donor, this small stuff will drive you nuts. You can "jury rig" lots of this stuff, but on this quality of car, I think that would be foolish.
I've been into the cowling area of my Coupe, and I can tell you that there are lots of these little items there. Many are plastic and you can be assured that they are gone from the fire.
Also, with fire damage, you need to worry about much more than paint. Sheet metal warps pretty quickly with localized heat. I'd be surprised if the hood on this car can be restored to its pre-fire condition for any reasonable amount of money... especially in black. Black paint shows all flaws... I'm reminded every time I shoot black enamel on a freshly worked body part... and then get to sand it off and do it again.
And, oh, did I mention that none of the sheet metal on an S Coupe of this vintage will interchange with that of the more plentiful sedans? None. Zip. Zero.
Is there any good news? Well, yes. While looking for a headlight for my Coupe, I found an S600 Coupe in a salvage yard down South... think it was in Florida. So, there are donors around... but, not many.
Hope this wasn't too discouraging... but wanted to pitch in my views before you leap in with both feet....
PS If one of you does dive in, I'll be happy to lend whatever advice/help I can. I'm only an hour from Richmond myself.
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Old 02-09-2003, 04:08 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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That was one thing I thought of Jon when I posted about the fire damaged e-bay Mercedes cars a while back. The damage looks very close to the firewall. Very good chance that all of the wiring under the dash board is ruined. Even if the wires under the dash panel are not destroyed, I am sure that the wires under the hood that ran inside the dash are burned and will need replaced. All you can do aside from rewiring the car under the dash, is to splice in new wires and I think that would be very unreliable, with such a complex electrical system. Also, as I mentioned before, from the photos, it looks like a bundle of burned and jumbled wiring as far front as the right front fenderwell area. Do not know what that could be. A trend I noticed- it looks like these 90s to 2000 Mercedes with fire damage- the fires look to be starting at the right front firewall area on all of these cars.

There is a 93 S500 4dr on e-bay, with rear end fire damage. Inside was saved and not damaged, nor was the engine. Interior would need a good cleaning. Probably a lot cheaper to repair the 4dr S500. Good luck.
1993 Mercedes 400SEL 4dr
2012 Honda Civic LX 4dr
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville 4-dr hardtop sedan
1988 Mercedes 300SEL (was mine, now mothers)
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Old 02-09-2003, 04:21 PM
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Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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In case you have any interest in the rear fire damaged 1994 S500 sedan, here is the link to that car. A real shame too. The 92-95 S500 4drs are my favorite Mercedes ever, as well as the 81-85 300SD's, 380SEL's/500SEL's and 86-91 560SEL's.

To see photos of the car- scroll down to "photo gallery" and there are 5 pages of photos of this car.

If you thought the fire damage was bad on the 95 S600 2dr, check out the engine on this 1999 Range Rover. Engine is burned to a turn.
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Old 02-09-2003, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: NY
Posts: 500
Originally posted by Jon Hrut

I saw that one of the posters here was going to ask the seller to take some pics....did they and have you been able to evaluate the damage?

No Jon, I did not get any pictures yet, they closed Sundays. Maybe tomorrow. If you go there please take high resolution pictures.
And smell this car inside

Last edited by myarmar; 06-07-2004 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 02-10-2003, 01:41 PM
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Posts: 43

It is a horrible day here in Tidewater....rain rain rain. I decided not to head up to Richmond as I thought about this whole thing last nite and I believe that the repair job would be major for a DIYer. And as I noted in one of my earlier posts, I am very leery of any sort of fire damage. I am swamped at work right now and this project would probably turn into something major. I would not be able to turn the car for a min of 6 months with the workload I have at the office. So at the current bid PLUS the parts I would have to track down, I would be carrying a load of debt until I was able to sell the car.

I am going to keep my eye on the bidding. Usually things heat up the last 24 hrs, so it will be interesting to see what the car goes for finally.

I might be missing out on a great opportunity, but I can live with that right now.

If you did ever get digital photos, I would be interested in your thoughts.

I wish well and good fortune to whomever does get it.
- Jon E320 210.055

90 Wrangler
77 Mustang 307,000 mi
63 T-Bird [fully restored]
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Old 02-10-2003, 06:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Great White North!!!!
Posts: 400

if your intention was to fix it up and sell it to make a buck then i'm glad you've decided to forgo the car.a car like this,as beautiful as it could be,is not worth the sweat equity-let alone the parts.i would hope that whoever gets it intends to keep it since i think only he'll be the one to truly appreciate it and all the work it'll need
'95 s500 (bought for wife but can't bear to share!!!) 125kms
'92 legend 180kms
'88 tbirdturbo(fantastic car-only regular maint.)120kms
'87 mustang gt(gone)
'86 tbirdturbo(gone)
'85 mustang gt(gone-but not forgotten)
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Old 02-10-2003, 07:14 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 638
fire damage sc 600

looking hard I see both throttle actuators @ $2500 each, main harness ($1,800 , NOT 400), top engine harness @ $1300, knock sensors and harness $900, complete wiper assembly $1500,
, or nearly $10K in parts alone without looking real hard. Figure at least $2,000 for misc plastic and metal stuff, not including hood.

So parts only, no labor cost is really likely to be more than $12K. One can buy an undamaged one for under $30K. Doesn't seem like a 'project' to me more like the 'money pit.'

Tis a shame, but real is real ---them wiring harness and stuff integral with them gets real pricey fast.

Of course, one COULD just splice everything up around the burned up sections possibly, but future fire/failure risk? No insurance company would touch it. After market warranty forgt it no way.
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:26 AM
tivoliman's Avatar
Happy with Mercedes
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 360
Well, seems that the final bid was $15,000.

I guess that means it's sold.

Using the $20,000 amount for repairs, and teh selling price of $15,000 - seems that it was sold for a "fair" price - $35.000.

Hmmm - the highest bidder selected to keep his/her identity secret.
Thanks for the help
Bill Fisher

'86 560SL (186K) - Now a 'classic' : Registered as an Historic Vehicle
'95 E420 (188K)
'03 LS430 (Lexus)
- - - - -
'95 E420 (231K) Sold to a happy buyer, new to Mercedes
'90 300E (65K) Sold to an Mercedes Lover
'92 190E (215K) - retired to the salvage yard, sigh
'93 500SEL (214K) - Moved to another family, still runs like a young pup
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Old 02-16-2003, 06:42 AM
KenP's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Posts: 418
Not a bargain...

Well, I wish the buyer well, and hope they know what they've gotten in to...
Might be a "fair" price at 35K, but don't forget the thousands and thousands of dollars worth of labor (even if its yours!). Nothing's free.
I've gotten to the point where I keep careful records of parts costs on my restorations, but never look at exact labor time. It will keep you awake at night... :-)
My current project is a '71 Mustang Mach 1... and it represents years of part time work... my parts estimate at the beginning was close, but my labor is running at about double what I thought.
If the buyer is a member of this forum, my offer to help stands...
1996 S500 Coupe
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