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  #1  
Old 05-20-2022, 05:54 AM
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Are classic MBís really just money-pits?

I really donít know much about cars, but I love classic Mercedes. After a few days of googling, all I have been able to find are warnings that these cars are expensive to maintain and a bad decision. I have not been able to find actual examples of what is considered ďexpensiveĒ, or what the real cost of replacement parts are. I would love to get a 70-90ís MB 460, 500 or 560 SL, but I am not in a place to be shelling out 10k a year to maintain it.

What is it really like to own and maintain a classic Benz?

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  #2  
Old 05-20-2022, 07:35 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Location: Lafayette Indiana
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People say things not necessarily true.

If you buy a car loaded with faults it will cost a lot to fix, especially if all work is hired. If you buy a good sound well cared for car it should be reasonable to maintain. I should think you can buy an old SL In good condition with a bit of looking.
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2022, 08:26 AM
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An older SL model will be expensive to maintain especially if you are paying for labor. A W123 model (240D, 300D, 300CD, 300TD-wagon, 230-280E, etc.) will be a lot less expensive to maintain especially if you have a basic tool set and can rely on this and other forums for guidance. I currently own a well maintained 1985 300D and spend less than $500 per year for maintenance (I do my own labor). Parts are readily available and not outrageously expensive. I drive this car less than 5,000 miles per year.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2022, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukutu View Post
I really donít know much about cars, but I love classic Mercedes. After a few days of googling, all I have been able to find are warnings that these cars are expensive to maintain and a bad decision. I have not been able to find actual examples of what is considered ďexpensiveĒ, or what the real cost of replacement parts are. I would love to get a 70-90ís MB 460, 500 or 560 SL, but I am not in a place to be shelling out 10k a year to maintain it.

What is it really like to own and maintain a classic Benz?
It may be worthwhile to think in terms of two different expense scenarios:

1) The cost to bring an older (50-30 year old) car up to a "9 or 10" level. This expense is dependent on the condition "as received".

2) The cost to "maintain" at a high level. For a garage queen that is used a few hundred miles a year the maintenance expense will be very low. For a car used as a daily driver @50,000/yr. there will be the usual fluids and tires, until it has accumulated another 200 - 250,000 miles. Then another round of restoration of major items.
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2022, 11:16 PM
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A very common refrain around here is that there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes. Most of us active on this part of the site know something about taking care of our own cars. Some of us are in the deeper end of the pool than others.

There are unscrupulous folks out there ready to sell you a car for top dollar and they'll be able to sell you a stinking heap of crud that will appear to be a deal at the time, maybe.

And then there's Tobin's Motor Works, the SL Market Letter (aka John Olsen, a founder of the MBCA) and a few other members of our community that can hold your hand while picking out a good, reliable car. If you're anywhere near NY, look up Tobin's on the web and give Dave a call (tell him I sent you; hopefully he remembers me from the good old days and be sure to tell me how it works out). If you're anywhere near Minneapolis, see if John's taking calls.

You will have to know what you want and buy a car that meets that need. There are guys like Dan P that are fussy and like something pretty close to perfect. I tend to drive a beater (or one I can fix up to be a beater).

What's your pleasure? Will foggy bright work drive you around the bend? You will pay a premium for cosmetics on an old car. Do you like A/C as much as life itself (that's my wife). She won't drive one of my cars that doesn't have A/C; thank goodness it's fixable (when I want her to drive it).

Feel free to share pictures with us and the originality police will pick it apart for you. Share the price and we'll tell you how close to market it is or why its probably over priced.

BTW, none of this is any different from the C3 crowd or the Bimmer fans in the family. My buddy Jim surprised me on the street with a fantastically pretty 74 Bronco last year. He traded his pristine Nash for it. Apparently the baby blue Nash got boring the the Bronco is a bright red. He'll dump it within 2 years and get some other nice toy to park next to the Porsche and the 350SL. Those two are his keepers. We all wish we had Jim's problems.

-CTH
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2022, 09:39 AM
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How old it is and mileage along with what work has been done over time will go toward what expenses there are. Rubber gets old. An older sl may need a lot of suspension work.

Personally a 10 year old audi or f150 can cost more than a vintage MB.


Maintenance parts are pretty reasonable. Interior parts and trim can be quite expensive.(as is rust) there are too many ebay sellers asking way too much for parts- patience can pay off in finding reasonable ones.

To get an idea what parts are go to ebay and ********.com and search for whatever model car you are interested in.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2022, 02:10 PM
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Usually we are buying these as an enthusiast or hobby not as transportation so factor in the entertainment value. Hese's a R107 that is well presented and very clean (So Cal car)
https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1980-mercedes-benz-450sl-85/
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2022, 09:31 PM
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What you want to drive is as important as the condition you buy.

I had a 115 230 gas that was cheap to run. I did all the repairs myself.

I had a 109 300sel 6.3 that cost a fortune to keep going and yes, I did all the work myself.

Do research and figure out what makes you happy. The 6.3 was a money pit but it was a total blast to drive.

Some things are worth it.
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2022, 12:26 PM
GemstoneGlass
 
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99% sure its a post and run. I wonder if these are old disgruntle, banned forum members toying with people.
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  #10  
Old 05-26-2022, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWhitmore View Post
An older SL model will be expensive to maintain especially if you are paying for labor. A W123 model (240D, 300D, 300CD, 300TD-wagon, 230-280E, etc.) will be a lot less expensive to maintain especially if you have a basic tool set and can rely on this and other forums for guidance. I currently own a well maintained 1985 300D and spend less than $500 per year for maintenance (I do my own labor). Parts are readily available and not outrageously expensive. I drive this car less than 5,000 miles per year.
I have owned both my 85 300D (285k miles) and my 72 350SL (160k miles) for over 30 years. They both have required on-going maintenance. I don't think there is much difference in cost for most basic maintenance items. Other than the engine, designs are quite similar. For example, suspension, drive train, steering, electrical. W123 has been more prone to rust.

Keeping them up does depend on how much you drive them and what unexpected things might fail. If your transmission fails, it will push your maintenance a lot higher than $500/yr. At 285k miles, it is one thing I am afraid might happen sooner than later on my 300D (and perhaps the SL too)
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2022, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by C.Doner View Post
99% sure its a post and run. I wonder if these are old disgruntle, banned forum members toying with people.
You could be right - there have been a few posts that seem like bait. Maybe the forum owners needing to generate traffic
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85 300D,72 350SL, 98 E320, Outback 2.5
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2022, 01:15 PM
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While I don't see eye to eye with Pierre Hedary in all cases, I do respect his knowledge and opinions. Please watch this video of Pierre's in response to your questions. He has a few other videos that will help round out this topic for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE2sEl9I3VQ

My personal opinion is that if you don't/can't work on the car yourself, it can get pretty expensive, pretty fast.
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2022, 03:35 PM
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These cars are pretty simple to maintain and repair especially compared to contemporary vehicles. It's not rocket science. Most contemporary vehicles don't need the kind of repairs these old vehicles need. One will need to have knowledge/skills/tools or yes it will be expensive unless you want your car repaired by the shop that only repairs Honda's/Toyota's.
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W111 280SE 3.5 Coupe
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Porsche 914 2.0
'64 Jaguar XKE Roadster
'57 Oval Window VW
'71 Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck-Dad bought new
'73 Toyota Celica GT
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2022, 04:54 PM
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Buy any sedan model someone else has RESTORED [not just "refurbished"] The seller will lose his/her shirt; you won't.
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1976 ex-Max Hoffman 6.9
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  #15  
Old 06-02-2022, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Doner View Post
99% sure its a post and run. I wonder if these are old disgruntle, banned forum members toying with people.
Still hasn't been back! If the forum owners posted it, they have generated about 500 posts so far!

There is another one in this section by Gray6 - also just one post and gone.

Same with one by maiYaa

And yet another by Papaku.

All quite recently. Seems something is going on.

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85 300D,72 350SL, 98 E320, Outback 2.5
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