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USED European Luxury Cars (pre 1990)

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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    I think that color combo was available.

    the 230-250-280SL is actually pretty common around California. I see 1-2 almost every day. They made a lot of them (around 50,000!)and many consequently have survived due to popularity and excellent build quality.

    You can still buy them from say $16,000 for a decent driver to $30K on up for the real beauties. A few of them have the very rare 5-speed manual transmission, but most are automatics and less are 4-speed sticks. The stick shift is no fun to shift but it can be worked over to be shift-able.

    The reason the 5-speed is great is that you get a sort of overdrive. One big drawback of the 280SL is that it is really wound up tight at 70 mph and not very pleasant to drive because of all that engine revving.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    For a used car (vs a classic) it's hard to go wrong with a well-kept 6 cyl (M103) MB W126. The last ones were the end of an era.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    I also think the 6s are better overall. The V8s are complex and real gas hogs.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    The M103 is a fantastic engine. It lasts a long time and is a good performer. The original 300E was a rocket in its day.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    check out this cute little booger for sale. Too bad they don't list a price.

    I always thought these 80's hardtops were cool, but aren't they considered money pits?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    oh you don't want those big old coupes--heavy, expensive, slow rust buckets and bad investments.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    250SE...looks to need some cosmetic tidying...maybe 10K if mechanically sound. They can rust.

    500SEC...probably about half that if it is sound. It's not too cool with 92-style wheels and those wheelarch trim pieces. If you like those, seek out a late 560SEC - best of the style. Very easily a money pit, an engine rebuild is easily twice the value of the car.
  • mbchikmbchik Posts: 2
    Just bought my first Mercedes, a 1988 190E 2.3 series. It's a great little vehicle has lots of power for a 4 cylinder. I am having problems with the electronics for the trunk access. The access is normally from the outside with the key which isn't working. Is there access to the trunk from the inside of the vehicle? Or some other way to bypass the electronics to open the trunk?
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...you've tried the trunk lock from both the trunk and via unlocking the doors at the driver's door, which also (should) unlock the fuel filler door and trunk. You should be able to just push the trunk lock button and open it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Yeah, there's no interior button to unlock/open it as far as I know. When you unlock the doors, the trunk unlocks, and when you lock it, everything locks at once. Sometimes the lock cylinders on those cars canm get iffy if you try to unlock it from the trunk lock - it can take a few tries. Just unlock a door and it should all unlock.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I'm pretty sure, at least on my mom's 300E of the same year, that there's a way to lock the trunk and disable the trunk lock from working--certainly that could be the problem. Don't remember there being a 'valet key' or any such thing per se, though. Make sure the trunk lock cylinder is in the vertical (IIRC) position, as it's on 'lockdown mode' if it's in the horizontal (or maybe I have that reversed--either way, experiment a bit).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    My 126 300SE had a square-fob key for normal driving, and an oval-fob key for valet. I think it just didn't unlock the glove box, maybe the trunk. I remember that 126 had a sticky trunk lock cylinder...often it would take several tries for me to unlock via the trunk. It might be an issue among period MB.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    For some reason I thought you had a 300SEL.

    I did see a '90 350SDL today...talk about a rough-running engine there. No wonder almost nobody wants them today.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    image

    Yeah, my 126 was the SWB. Great old car, I'd have kept it if I had the room to store it.

    I've heard the engine in those late 126 diesels can be quite a leaker too.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    Are the 350 SDL's not good? I like the idea of more power than the earlier 300's
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    I really don't know much about that engine technically, but once I was looking at a 350SD (the very rare SWB model made in 90-91) and my MB specialist told me to stay away. I think there must have been a reason.

    It's a little off the target of this thread, but I know the W140 was offered in a diesel in 92-93...I wonder how those are.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    350SLD -- Bad engine design...stay away....

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    I recall reading in a Benz buyer's guide one time that the W140's diesel engine was the exact same unit from the W126. They only sold them here for four years (1992-95) until they pulled the cars from the American market for emissions issues. I've seen very few W140 diesels- apparently nobody wanted them even when new.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Was it the unit from the earlier 300SD, the later version, or the 350SD/L? Or maybe the same as in the 124? The 140 cars were badged "300SD" IIRC, so that adds some confusion. I'd imagine a smallish diesel wouldn't have the easiest time lugging around that big 140 body.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    The 140 diesel cars were indeed badged "300SD" but that was only for the first two years, 1992 and 1993. When Mercedes revised its model numbering system, then they went to the "S350" badging. Yes, the engine in all W140 diesel cars was the infamous 3.5-liter unit first seen in the 126. If you have an opportunity go to www.msn.com and look up reviews for the S-Class from '92-'95. You'll find that most consumer reviews of the 300SD/S350 are less than positive.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Good reason to stick with the older 126 cars I guess. They may be a little slower, but are generally very reliable if maintained. I see 123 and early 126 diesels on the road daily, cars that have been out of production for over 20 years.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    One more thing, what was the model designation of the SL series (1990-2002) that came after the long-running 560SL and others? They were good solid cars but I recall them being overly complicated in terms of electronics.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    The 300SL and 500SL. They were good looking but not particularly exciting to drive.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    That'd be a R129, aka W129. I think the pick of the series is the 6cyl cars...I'd run from a V12. They all up depreciating to the same level anyway. I've seen higher mileage ones for under 10K, decent early models for 15K or so. The last of the 01-02 Silver Arrow cars still carry asking prices near 40K. We got them in 300SL/SL320 and 500/600 series.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...unless you really 'need' the rear legroom of a LWB 126 (the 300SDL) would be a W124 300D Turbo, eh? I think, though, they were only sold in the U.S. for one year, though (1987), so they're a bit hard to find, and kind of expensive. The 300TD wagon of the same year (if you're into that) has the same engine, IIRC.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    The late model W124 Diesels (MY'02-'05), What's the consensus on those?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    I haven't heard anything really bad about 124 diesels...the wagons are fairly sought-after too.
  • mbchikmbchik Posts: 2
    This solution came from a building contractor and dedicated Mercedes owner:
    turn the key in the trunk lock to the left, push in, and tap the top of the trunk edge with a free hand.
    Glory be this really worked! For the 1988 190E series there does not appear to be any interior access - amazing for German technology.
    Many, many thanks for all who responded to my plea.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,312
    I suggest that the title of this topic be changed to "...(pre 2000)" to jump start interest in it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    great idea on one level, and thanks for the suggestion, but we are the "Classics" board, so we sorta kinda have to keep it about "old" cars....what would you think about a topic in the Maintenance & Repair board...something like "Dealing with Out of Warranty German Luxury Cars?"

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This discussion has been closed.